Róisín Gallagher

Róisín Gallagher
MFA Contemporary Art Practice // Edinburgh College of Art ‘20

Róisín is a Falkirk-based a(i)rtist.

“It is ma aim ae git fowk mair comfortable an acquainted wi Scots an through ma airt practice ah address the toat self-hatred weh huv taewards the wiy thit weh talk. Ma work explores n supports the recognition eh Scots is a leid an hopes tae address damage done beh scuile systums thit broat up the generations afore ma ain.

The Scots leid hus been discouraged fae bein spoken fir the past three hunner year since its definition is a ‘provincial dialect’, oaften described is ‘Bad English’ beh means eh implyin thit the speaker is eh a lower cless. Scots speakurs therefore ur dissuaded fae yasin the leid thit pliys an imporant pairt in expressin thur cultural belongin an sense eh place. Leid is an integral pairt eh wha weh ur and hoo weh unnerstaun wan anither, the connection a person hus tae thur leid an hoo thiy form thur wirds n sentences is a core pairt ae wha thiy ur. Whin phrases n wirds yased in dayehday life ur reduced tae “slang” an speakurs encouraged tae “talk properly”, these rich an emotive wirds ur excluded fae the vernacular, the speakur lowses a pairt eh thur cultural idenitae n the wirds loast tae history.

Is an airtist ah yase print, text n video narration ae gee recognition ae voices seldom heard. The text pieces ur a collection eh anecdotes n observations fae grouin in a workin cless Scottish faimly. Through writin the text phonetically yasin the Fawkirk dialect the audience is invited tae soond oot these wirds even if thiy dinnae unnerstaun thum. Pairt eh the process eh writin these works is dealin wi the struggle eh nivir bein alood tae fully embrace Scots in ma education, ah wis toat tae read n write in English an is instictively wit ah write in. Whin writin in Scots ah huv tae consciously alloo ma authentic Scots voice tae come through. Ma print work explores this process eh writin beh yasin letterpress tae repeat, elongate n disrupt oor readin eh specific wirds an hink aboot diffrint phonetic spellins. These prints also gee wirds n phrases fae the Scots leid a sense eh importance an belongin. Anither series eh prints yases “Bad English” n similar phrases ae highlight the years thit Scots hus been undermined n its speakers penalised an dergradit fur yasin thur ain leid.

Ma work is an airtist seeks tae chiynge the wiy thit weh hink aboot Scots n gee it deserverd recognition is a leid n suhin much mare thin a dialect or slang”.

* * *

“It is my aim to get people more comfortable and acquainted with Scots and through my art practice I address the taught self-hatred we have towards the way we talk. My work explores and supports the recognition of Scots as a language and hopes to address damage done by school systems that brought up the generations before mine.

The Scots language has been discouraged from being spoken for the past 300 years since its definition as a ‘provincial dialect’, often described as ‘Bad English’ by means of implying that the speaker is of a lower class. Scots speakers therefore are dissuaded from using the language that plays an important part in expressing their cultural belonging and sense of place. Language is an integral part of who we are and how we understand one another, the connection a person has to their language and how they form their words and sentences is a core part to who they are. When phrases and words used in daily life are reduced to “slang” and speakers encouraged to “talk properly”, these rich and emotive words are excluded from the vernacular, the speaker loses a part of their cultural identity and the words lost to history.

As an artist I use print, text and video narration to give recognition to voices seldom heard. The text pieces are a collection of anecdotes and observations from growing up in a working-class Scottish family. Through writing the text phonetically using the Falkirk dialect the audience is invited to sound out these words even if they do not understand them. Part of the process of writing these works is dealing with the struggle of never being allowed to fully embrace Scots in my education, I was taught to read and write in English and is instinctively what I write in. When writing in Scots I have to consciously allow my authentic Scots voice to come through. My print work explores this process of writing by using letter press to repeat, elongate and disrupt our reading of specific words and thinks about different phonetic spellings. These prints also give words and phrases from the Scots language a sense of importance and belonging. Another series of prints uses “Bad English” and similar phrases to highlight the years that Scots has been undermined and its speakers penalised and degraded for using their own language.

My work as an artist seeks to change the way that we think of Scots and give it deserved recognition as a language and something much more than a dialect or slang”.

Róisín has exhibited her work at the Embassy gallery in Edinburgh, in addition to galleries in Glasgow and Stirling. She was recently selected as a Visual Arts Scotland Graduate Showcase finalist.


Bad English
1:22 minutes

Bad English
Woodblock prints
29.7 x 42 cm each
£75 each (bottom right NFS)


2018 – 2020
MFA Contemporary Art Practice, Edinburgh College of Art.

2016 – 2017
BA (Hons) Art and Design, University of Stirling.

2013 – 2016
BA Art and Design, Forth Valley College.


ALT-d, Online.
Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show, Online.
Yer Ain Voice, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

SALT, Embassy, Edinburgh.

COMmunication, Tolbooth, Stirling.

2017 – 2018
2018 Showcase, Six Foot Gallery, Glasgow.

12 Hons 2017, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

Degree and Diploma Show, Forth Valley College, Stirling.


Visual Arts Scotland Graduate Showcase Finalist

Other Experience

Volunteer Festival Assistant, Prague Fringe Festival.

Voluntary Gallery Assistant, Six Foot Gallery, Glasgow.
Voluntary Arts Tutor, Project Ability, Glasgow.
Voluntary Arts and Crafts Workshop Tutor, Yes Me Too, Partick.

Volunteer Arts Tutor, Forth Valley College, Stirling.

Trainee Community Artist Volunteer, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

Volunteer Activity Worker, Dawson Centre, Falkirk.