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la_banda_logo_reverseWith music at its heart, La Banda is a cultural organisation which unites artists and communities in the UK and across the world in contemporary creative processes which respond to heritage and culture.

Asking the question, ‘How do I fit into this planet?’ La Banda explores the Scottish cultural viewpoint in the context of the international world. The Company responds artistically to indigenous languages and cultures, to create high impact, forward looking contemporary artworks that speak across generations.

Struileag is La Banda project, an epic exploration of the Scottish Gaelic Diaspora, a multi-faceted project which tells the story of people of Highland & Island descent stretching through time and around the globe.

Building upon the cultural heritage rather than simply relying upon it, Struileag is an international arts initiative that highlights the importance of indigenous languages to the concept of home and belonging. This epic exploration of the Gaelic diaspora examines the universal links between culture and language, the very essence of the human condition.

The project is the umbrella for a number of activities involving technology, local and international community outreach, poetry, spoken word and music, with an ever growing number of participants and supporters from around the world.

This two year project culminated in a performance as part of the Year of Homecoming Scotland 2014 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Festival programme in July 2014.


The Idea

The Struileag International Transmedia Project “Struileag Stories” was initially proposed as a digital marketing tool for La Banda.  An online community hub designed as a means of international community engagement and a resource to commercialise and sustain interest in the wider project Struileag

Developed in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, the aim of the Struileag transmedia project was to encourage peopleto share their own story and connect themselves into the wider diaspora stories,with the resulting crowd sourceddata feeding into all aspects of the creative development of the wider project, Struileag.

The main outcomes from the project were

  • To create a web application that is user friendly and engaging
  • To connect Gaelic diaspora individuals and communities from across the world
  • For the resulting website to be a marketing tool, increasing the visibility of other elements of the project (Live show, Tv programme, CD and book)
  • The site would become a substantial online legacy of the project that could remain active for a number of years


The Reality

Initial project partners Edinburgh Napier University were unable to secure match funding that had been earmarked to enable several departments to fully participation in the Transmedia project. This unexpected set back meant that Napier no longer had the capacity to deliver the design aspects of the project.

It was initially planned that experts within several Napier departments would drive the design and functionality of the transmedia sitein collaboration with La Banda, while the La Banda team would lead on the community engagement and artistic input of the project.

Branded as Struileag Stories, the site development and building of the back end technology was built by Glasgow based, bespoke application and web designers, Design is Central while the front end user interface was created by Up Close and Pixelated. The development period took place from January 2014 till the launch of the site in May 2014 with a further development period following user feedback and testing in July 2014

Struileag Stories is an interactive online repository of information which gathers, collates and archives a range of materials including images, video, audio and text.

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Struileag Stories functionality allows for individualmembers of the public to create a profile, pin that profile on a world map and tell their story through text, images, music, and video. A facility was built in which would allow users to link themselves into other peoples stories as well as adding to Struileag’s commissioned pieces. Written by journalist Jim Gilchrist, these curated seed stories were developed in response to narratives and tales re-counted during the international engagement and make up the foundation of the Struileag Stories site


In YoUr OwN wOrDs  


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Lessons Learnt


Although several aspects of the project were a resounding success, La Banda is aware that the full potential of the Transmedia site has not been reached. The loss of Napier as a partner meant that La Banda lost the academic expertise and guidance of the institution. This meant that the company was forced to take on aspects of the project and make decisions which were outside the company’s knowledgebase

At the time this was deemed the only possible course of action in order to bring the project to completion within tighter time and budgetary constraints. However, the insight gained during this period has allowed us to revaluate the organisation’s capacity. This decision overstretched our team of three part time members of staff.

With hindsight, the expertise required to project manage the build of the content management system that underpins the Transmedia site, should have been outsourced to a third party who had a significant enough knowledge of the project to understand the requirements of the creative team. However the costs implications to this made unaffordable.

Experience was also gained in the gathering ofcrowd sourced data and the active harnessing of community involvement. Though Struileag has active, growing communities on Facebook and Twitter as well as substantial mailing lists,the initial sign up rate to the Struileag Stories has been slower than anticipated. The translation of the engagement from popular social media sites to other elements of engagement has proven to be more demanding that originally projected. However as the project has developed,members of the team have made diaspora visits to demonstrate and workshop the site. La Banda has made connections with vibrant and active community, heritage and Gaelic organisations in Seattle, Canada, Chile, Argentina and Russia. Struileag has recruited local ambassadors who are keen to encourage participation with Struileag Stories.

Many of these individuals, connected with through the diaspora visits and Facebook membership, became the beta group of initial test users whose feedback and comments aided the further development of the site



The aspiration of La Banda as an organisation is to further develop Struileag Stories in partnership with,new partners, the Society of Antiquaries Scotland and Edinburgh University School of Scottish Studies.

The company intends develop the site in order to incorporate some of the original ideas that were not possible within the limited budget and time constraints. Such as; upgrading the user interface, creating a how to video, and creating additional features that link to users’ facebook and twitter feeds allowing friending and following on Struileag Stories. Though the initial sign up rate has been slower than anticipated La Banda is developing relationships with School of Scottish Studies and Society of Antiquaries that will boost engagement and continue the life of the site

Successes / Highlights

  • The ‘Struileag Stories’ Transmedia Project was launched on the 1st May 2014 in Toronto, Canada, by Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robisonstories 6
  • Diaspora visits to several countries were conducted from April till June 2014. These took the form of a schedule of meetings, workshops, presentations, demonstration, house ceilidhs and community events that where programmed locally to promote the Struileag project.
  • La Banda produced Children of the Smoke a 60mins live stage show. Children of the Smoke was presented to an audience of 5,000 on Glasgow Green as the headline performance on 28th July 2014, a feature of the Glasgow 2014 Culture programme and a signature event in the Year of Homecoming 201
  • The show was also simultaneously streamed live internationally via the Struileag website, enjoying over 2100 views.
  • The show has been nominated for “Event of the Year” in in the Scottish Trad Music Awards 2014 and has had interest for touring from Russia, India & New Zealand


  • The Struileag CD Album was released on 28th July, receiving fantastic press and reviews
  • Struileag – Shore to Shore Book of poetry will be published by Birlinn Books February 2015
  • The Gaelic poetry competition was launched at Lebhar Craic’s on Saturday 22nd The competition closed on 14th June 2014, with 7 entries to the Child section (6-11 years old), 67 Teenage Youth entries (12-17 years old) and 41 Adult submissions (18+). Winners include a Gaelic speaker in Germany and a seven year old girl from Australia


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  • The Struileag crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter was successfully funded with pledges of over £5,000 on 17th January 2014, serving as a vastly successful marketing exercise for the project
  • Social networking through Twitter, Facebook and the La Banda website has steadily increased over the last year, facilitating the development of an every growing community that is engaged with the project. The community is very international with contributors from Russia, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Palestine, Iraq, Canada, USA, New Zealand and the UK.


Facebook stats:

Total likes- 3,169

Weekly total reach – 10,900

Twitter stats:

3,197 tweets


Mailing List

685 members