This website is in early launch. If you experience issues, please report them here. Your feedback helps us improve!

Meet Joanne

Joanne leads a collective of Scots-speaking artists and performers in London, raising awareness about their mother tongue for an international audience.

After centuries of English oppression, Scots, a Germanic language primarily spoken in the Scottish lowland, continues to face erasure, anglicization, and suppression. Many Scottish intellectuals preferred to distance themselves from Scots due to strong prejudice against its speakers. Meanwhile, non-Scottish writers have continually mocked, deeming it a mere “dialect” of English. Scots is a language in its own right, and there is a growing interest in returning Scots to a prominent place within public spaces.

Connecting the rich Scottish literary tradition, language activist, writer, and actor Joanne Gallagher aims to change people’s minds about what it means to speak Scots. Through BOTHY, an artistic collective based in London, members of the Scots community are reclaiming and celebrating their language and their stories. The first iteration of BOTHY, a traditional Scottish ceilidh titled “BIG NIGHT OOT,” took place on March 22nd at the Streatham Space Project, featuring Scots artists and their work. For the duration of the cohort, BOTHY will curate more cultural nights in London and promote the importance of Scots in their community and beyond. As the poet Tom Leonard said, “All livin language is sacred.”

Joanne's Background

Joanne Gallagher is a playwright and actor from Linwood, Scotland. She trained at the Oxford School of Drama and has appeared in Film and TV (Outlander, Tell it to the Bees) and had her West End debut in Equus in 2019. She studied English Literature at Glasgow University. Joanne is a co-founder of BOTHY, and was mentored by the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland to write her debut play in 2021. She is passionate about Scots language and literature.

Joanne's Collaborators

Lewis Mackinnon is an actor from Inverness, Scotland. He trained at the Oxford School of Drama and has worked in TV, film, and theatre. Lewis is a co-founder of BOTHY and is passionate about Scots language and culture.

Learn More

Other Projects

Wikitongues gives annual grants, training, and in-kind support to new mother-tongue projects. Meet the rest of the Language Revitalization Accelerator's 2022 cohort.

Moshe Kxoegoe Maghundu

Khwedam language

South Africa

Polly Hyslop

Upper Tanana River language

United States

Momen Talosh

Nubian language

Egypt

Julia Mainzinger

Mvskoke (Creek) language

United States

Sylvia Tkac

Anindilyakwa language

Australia

Jonathan Mayers

Kouri-Vini (Louisiana Creole) language

United States

Idrissa Sagara

Tegñusô Dogon language

Mali

Said Baquir

Shehret and Hobyot languages

Oman

Benson Ko-Chou Fang

Taivoan language

Taiwan

Hilario Poot Cahun

Yucatec Maya language

Mexico

Tulsi Rajbaar

Raji language

India

Heather Lgeik’i Powell

Tlingit language

United States

Tiöma fum Dökter

Wymysorys language

Poland

Floro Ortiz Contreras

Quechua Chanka language

Peru