Christine Kydd MLitt

The focus of my folklore study, leading to a Master’s, was a fantastic custom still performed on Orkney. My thanks and continuing good wishes go to all who made my research possible. I attend this annual event as often as I can and I commend it to you!
I have delivered and academic paper about the event at FEECA (Folklore, Ethnomusicology and Ethnology Conference ) 2014 and had a paper accepted by The Folklore Society Calendar Customs and Seasonal Events 2015. (Family bereavement meant I had to withdraw from the latter).


The Boys’ Ploughing Match and Festival of the Horse, St Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay, Orkney.
This paper explores The Boys’ Ploughing Match and Festival of the Horse, an annual calendar custom and competition occurring on Orkney, Scotland. Boys plough on sand using custom-built miniature ploughs, and children parade dressed in dedicated costumes which emulate the horse dress harness seen at agricultural shows. After describing the text of this complex event, I reflect beyond performance, on significant aspects of meaning, function, gender and identity. Finally, I offer some thoughts on the custom, within and outwith the community, not just on the day, but throughout the year, and make recommendations for future research.


To the community I have given back increased awareness of the event, by writing the dissertation, delivering papers at conferences. Reciprocity featured in many ways and will continue, where possible, singing at events for entertainment and fundraising, and for the local day care. In due course, publication and presentation will also assist the community, and in small ways support their efforts. I am currently seeking funding to create a film edited from my raw ethnographic footage, which would also help the event and further the reach of information about the academic work done on it.
I returned to see the event and meet community members in 2011, 2013 and 2016 and continue the connection with, and support, for the event.

Christine Kydd is one of Scotland’s respected traditional singers and recording artistes. Through workshop and masterclasses, her work on tradition and culture includes song arrangements for community choirs and creative placemaking projects through songwriting, in schools and community.  Christine began singing folk songs at primary school and since performing from the age of ten has sung and performed internationally. She holds a postgraduate ADVS in Voice from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. With Alison Burns, she co-wrote a Scotland Sings handbook for Community Choir leaders. She contributed to a European singing in schools initiative and trained with British Council.  She graduated in 2014 with an MLitt in Ethnology and Folklore at the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute. As well as having given a number of presentations on kists, her main interests are song, dance, artefact and calendar customs.
Christine Kydd / MLitt ADVS



Copyright © 2017 Christine Kydd -

Christine Kydd

Christine Kydd