Caidreabh Gàidheil

an t-Saoghail

World Gaels' Jam 2021

April 26-May 1, Online

Ciamar a tha sibh? | Conas a tá sibh? | Kys ta shiu? | How are you?


(Please note that the language of the Jam sessions will be English, but there will be many opportunities to speak Gaelic during céilidhean | visits, break-out groups, and in spontaneous connections. All levels of language learners are very welcome. )

Fàilte oirbh a (bhana-)chàirdean! Greetings friends!


Tha sinn gu math toilichte cuireadh a thoirt dhuibh pàirt a ghabhail anns a' chiad Chaidreabh Gàidheil an t-Saoghail air loidhne. It is our honour and privilege to invite YOU to apply for our 1st World Gaels' Jam Online! This Jam will bring together Gaels from around the world – a group of about thirty, drawn from diverse backgrounds. We treasure diversity and hope our group will include Gaels from many different countries, with different levels of experience and a range of viewpoints.

We will share in deep listening, self-discovery, systemic inquiry, community building, and play. We will meet online using Zoom.


This Jam will take place over the course of six days, April 26 through May 1. We will meet for one 2-hour session on each of five of these days from 1-3 pm ADT/5-7 pm BST. Each session will be followed by an optional céilidh | visit for thirty minutes - which we strongly encourage you to attend. The dates for these sessions will be April 26, 27, and 28; and April 30 and May 1. April 29 will be reserved for rest, additional spontaneous interactions, reflection, integration, and self-care. Leaving spacious time in your schedule for the week will make the Jam much more enjoyable.

Ge beag an t-ugh, thig eun ás.

Although the egg is small, a bird will come from it.

Gabh a' Sàs | Apply Now

The past year has contained extraordinary challenges... and opportunities. This pandemic moment has created an opening where it feels like we are on the cusp of transformation. There is an opportunity for something new. As we navigate our changed lives, many of us are pondering questions, including:

  • How do I maintain community in a world that feels so isolating?

  • How do I keep and grow multigenerational connections — with those elder and those younger - in these times?

  • How do I promote and nurture a healthy lifestyle amidst this global pandemic?

  • How do we offer support to each other and collaborate as Gaels from across these distances?

  • How can we co-create conversations that bring in different perspectives and approaches?

  • How do I navigate through the ups and downs of working on Gaelic language and culture? How can I re-author the narratives I work with?

  • How can we heal from our personal and collective shame?

  • How do I live Gaelic culture vividly, whole-heartedly, in my whole being?

There are questions about how to work effectively, how to steward the culture, ways to help our children absorb the language so Gaelic will be strong in our homes and communities, and how to stay healthy and whole. The World Gaels' Jam provides the time and space to have these discussions with a group of talented facilitants and peers. And it will be a great chance to spend time in fellowship with Gaels celebrating Gaelic culture and language!

Le deagh dhùrachd is gaol, | With best wishes and love,

Alison, Amber, Heather, Joyce, Shannon, and Shilpa

What is the intention of a Jam?


Jamag am Baile Sheumais, an Dàmhair 2018 | Mini Gaels Jam in Jamesville, October 2018

Jamag an Cnoc an t-Sithein, an t-Samhainn 2017 | Mini Gaels Jam - In Gaelic! - Nov 2017


Gu dé is rùn air a' Chaidreabh?



The Jam is not a conference, seminar or a typical meeting. Instead, it is a gathering intended to bring about three different levels of change: the internal (self), the interpersonal (relationships), and the systemic (the whole). On the internal level, it is a place for participants to share and reflect on our life journeys and what makes us who we are today. It is an opportunity to grow in self-knowledge, to ask meaningful questions, to unlearn our fears and blocks, access our hearts, and open our minds to move more boldly in the world. It is a time to recharge and renew and to experience self-care and personal sustainability.

On the interpersonal level, we come together to share our culture, our stories, and our struggles, to deepen our understanding of each other and of ourselves. The Jam values diversity and seeks to bring together a diverse group of Gaelic activists and enthusiasts no matter what your level of Gaelic or the nature of your work in the Gaelic community.

During the six days of the Jam, on the interpersonal level, we come together to share our culture, our stories and our struggles, to discover our commonalities and celebrate our differences. We take an honest, courageous and loving look at the struggles we face in the effort to reclaim our cultural identity in a positive way. On the systemic level, through the Jam, we become clearer about our vision and work in our communities and the world. We get a chance to link issues that aren’t commonly linked, to notice crucial intersection points, and get a clearer picture of the whole.

Bha a' chiad Chaidreabh | The first Nova Scotia Gaels' Jam was held in 2013, in North River, Cape Breton. Gaels from across Nova Scotia gathered to create community and share their hopes, longings, wisdom, struggles, and strengths. Since then, we have hosted Nova Scotia Gaels' Jams in 2014, 2015, and 2019, as well as mini-Jams (Jamagan) in 20616, 2017, 2018, at various locations in Nova Scotia. We have drawn strength from being together. And we have dreamed of sharing the experience with Gaels in other parts of Canada, in Scotland, Ireland, the US, and around the world.

Bidh Caidreabh Gàidheil an t-Saoghail | The World Gaels' Jam will be a time to explore our identity and commonalities as Gaels from different countries and backgrounds, as well as what makes us unique. In this time of pandemic, many of us have been struggling with a sense of isolation and disconnection. At the same time, technology has allowed us to build and strengthen friendships across distances, on both sides of the Atlantic. We are eager to deepen the connections and strengthen our sense of community as Gaels.


Bring your questions, your longings, your struggles, your hopes. We will learn from one another as we work together for transformation of our communities and our world.

Nìthear càrn mór do chlachan beaga.

A large cairn is made of small stones.

Có bhios air an cuireadh dha 'n Chaideabh? | Who is being invited to the Gaels Jam?

You! We are thrilled to invite you to the Jam.

We are seeking a diverse group of Gaels from many backgrounds, with many levels of experience. We deeply value diversity, and welcome your unique experiences and perspective. If you are longing to create authentic community with other Gaels, please fill out an application.


Please note that the language of the Jam sessions will be English, but there will be many opportunities to speak Gaelic during céilidhean | visits, break-out groups, and in spontaneous connections. All levels of language learners are very welcome.

We are looking for a range in:

  • community of residence (from Cape Breton to the Irish Gaeltacht, from North America's cities to the crofts of the Scottish Hebrides);

  • age (from young adults to experienced elders, we want an inter-generational group that reflects our Gaelic community);

  • leadership (from "person on the ground" to "director and founder");

  • years of experience (from "just starting out" to "been at it for a while");

  • role in community (learners, teachers, speakers, singers, musicians, dancers, storytellers, tradition bearers, advocates, Gaels); and

  • expression (any sincere expression of Gaelic culture and identity).

Nova Scotia Gaels Jam 2019, Tatamagouche

We encourage you to submit your application here.


Priority deadline: March 8, 2021

Final deadline: March 22, 2021

** Prior to the Jam, we will ask each participant to commit to refraining from using any illegal drugs, alcohol, or marijuana before or during any of the Jam Zoom sessions. We do not judge the use of these substances. Rather, we want to create the clearest and most focused space possible for our community. By committing to these sessions, you are agreeing to honour this agreement.

Có bhios a' stiùireadh Caidreabh Gàidheil an t-Saoghail? | Who is putting on the World Gaels' Jam?

We will not have typical facilitators, as the facilitation team will also be participating in full, as “facilitants” (facilitator-participants). None of us come with all of the answers. Instead, we will co-create the space together — using circles, conversations, spiritual practice, artistic expression, movement, silence, and play — to explore our questions, bring more of our whole selves to our answers, raise new questions (!), and use the depth and power of the experiences and knowledge in the room.

Amber Buchanan | Òmar Bhochanan

Amber is a committed and engaged leader in the Gaelic community and has been learning and sharing her language and culture for the past 15 years. She has an unwavering passion and gift for bringing people together to find deep connection, compassion, understanding, healing, and growth. Amber draws upon her deep Gaelic roots as well as many international experiences and connections for strength and guidance in the work she does. She’s been jamming in many locations around the world since 2012.

Alison Etter


Alison has been Jamming since 2013 and she facilitated the 2018 Gaelic Jamag and the 2019 Nova Scotia Gaels Jam. She is a minister in The United Church of Canada, currently living in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. She loves living in Cape Breton and has a passion for making her community a better place to live. The Jams have been a unique space for her gifts to land as she shows up organized, open-minded, lovingly and full of humour.

Shilpa Jain

Shilpa is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create thriving, just and balanced ways of life for all. Shilpa is committed to using very simple human technologies – like listening, speaking from the heart, slowing down, breathing, and connecting to nature – to support authentic relationships, a deeper sense of self, an essential shift in consciousness, and aligned living practices. She is passionate about dance and music, organic and natural farming, upcycling and zero waste living, asking appreciative questions and being in community. All of her work seeks to uncover ways for people to free themselves from dominating, soul-crushing institutions and to live in greater alignment with their hearts and deepest values, their local communities, and with nature. Although Shilpa doesn't identify as a Gael, she believes strongly in the power and wisdom of diverse languages, cultures, and communities, and is delighted to support the Gaelic community with its ancestry, continuity, and future. And she is ready to get down in a virtual céilidh with you all!

Joyce MacDonald


Joyce MacDonald, of Centerville, Cape Breton, began studying Gaelic in school at the age of 13. In 2011, she participated in the Bun ‘s Barr Gaelic language master-apprentice program, working with Mary MacKinnon of Margaree. She also spends time in Mabou with her own Gaelic-speaking grandmother, Jessie MacDonald. Before joining the Gaelic College staff team in 2013, she had worked in many places, including stints as a newspaper reporter, a dance instructor, a call centre agent, a research assistant and a tour guide. She co-facilitated Jamags in Jamesville and Baddeck and the 2019 Jam in Tatamagouche.



Sionainn ni'n Aonghais 'ic Iain Peadair | Shannon MacMullin

Shannon began Jamming in 2013 and has since facilitated several Jams and mini-Jams, including an all-Gàidhlig weekend, and attended the North American Jam in California in 2016. She believes Jamming offers an all-important opportunity to connect in community, to work through conflict together, to play, to listen and to share. She loves time with the family and remembering how to play with the little grandboys keeps her feeling young. She is missing travelling and visiting and is also grateful, amazed and inspired by all the beautiful connections that can be made on Zoom. She's passionate about celebrating Gàidhlig language and culture and creating spaces for Gaels to gather.

Heather Sparling

Heather is a professor of ethnomusicology at Cape Breton University who researches Gaelic song and dance traditions of Nova Scotia. She has attended several Nova Scotia Gaels Jams since the first in 2013. More recently, she has become a facilitant. She believes deeply in the Jam’s ability to build a strong, positive, and resilient Gaelic community -- she believes it because she sees it working every time she participates in a Jam and when she sees all the amazing and positive things that previous Jammers are doing in the world. An active member of the Nova Scotia Gaelic community, she has had the great fortune to have had multiple adventures in Scotland and Ireland, resulting in many friendships in both places. She is very excited by the possibilities that a virtual Jam offers for building an international Gaelic community!

Mion-fhiosrachadh & Cosgaisean | Logistics & Costs of Attending

This Jam will take place over the course of six days, spanning April 26 through May 1. Except for April 29, we will meet for one 2-hour session each day from 1-3 pm ADT/5-7 pm BST. Following each two-hour session, we will have an extra half hour for more conversations, games, and a ceilidh. Please plan to stay for the full time. April 29 will be reserved for rest, additional spontaneous interactions, reflection, integration, and self-care.


During the six days of the Jam, there will be other opportunities to connect, share, and learn from one another. Please leave time in your schedule outside of the sessions, both for spontaneous connections and your own self-care (such as rest, reflection, spending time in nature, and integrating what we will learn together). The more spaciousness you have, the more you will be able to enjoy community connections and offerings and really dive deep into the Jam.

The tuition for the World Gaels' Jam is $300 CAD which supports the time and effort of our organizing and facilitation team. Given the challenges many have faced during this global pandemic, we are offering a sliding scale of $50 - $300 CAD. We want to make the Jam accessible to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. If you can pay more than the $300, it will help us cover the cost for someone who can pay less, and thereby provide fair compensation to our organizers and facilitators.

NS Gaels Jam in Mabou 2015

Nuair a bhios sinn ri òrach, biomaid ri òrach is nuair a bhios sinn ri maorach, biomaid ri maorach.

One thing at a time and everything in its own time.

First EVER Gaels Jam on the North Shore 2013

Nova Scotia Gaels Jam 2014 Participants and Community Members

We are happy to tell you more about the Jam, share our experiences, and answer any questions you have. Please email us with any thoughts or questions.

Nova Scotia Gaels Jam gratefully recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Office of Gaelic Affairs. We are pleased to work in co-operation with the Office of Gaelic Affairs to design and create opportunities to work with the Nova Scotia Gaelic community to celebrate Gaelic language and culture, strengthen our community in growing and learning together.

Seoige NicDhòmhnaill agus Màiri ni’n Ailig Bhig Alasdair Òig, Bun is Bàrr 2011.

Joyce MacDonald and Mary (MacDonald) MacKinnon, Master Apprentice Program 2011.

Buidheachas | Acknowledgement

We honour, remember and deeply thank our elder Gaelic tradition bearers, past and present, who have shared their homes, time, language, culture, spirit and so much more with us - so that we can continue to celebrate our heritage, speak & share Gàidhlig and build community. The friendships we have created will be treasured, cherished and remembered always.

Tha sinn fada 'nur comain. | We are deeply in your debt.