17th August 2017

WATCH: How Megan keeps in contact with home

Students at the University of the West of Scotland have been conducting interactive interviews speaking to Shetlanders living on the mainland for a project in conjunction with The Shetland Times.

The first video interview is a conversation with Unst woman Megan Burns on what she misses about home and how she stays in touch with what’s going on.

All videos in this series are tagged Spaekin Shetland.

Here are the biographies of UWS students Brian Degning and David Wilson who are interviewing Megan.

Brian Degning

“My name is Brian Degning, I was born and raised in Glasgow. I had an unusual path into the world of journalism. Initially I was an actor with an interest in writing which later developed into feature writing and a desire to report and present. The common thread would be my interest in different people and places. I often feel my interaction with people from all different walks of life is the most gratifying part of journalism so when this project came up it was a no-brainer. Not only was I working with The Shetland Times but I was getting the chance to meet two incredibly interesting people, Meggan and Jennifer. Their stories of home and their journey to become the people they are is as inspiring as it is interesting and I hope everyone will enjoy what we put together.”

 

“I studied History at undergraduate level, and it prepared me well for journalism. Both subjects encourage nosiness, and I come from a long line of nosey people.

David Wilson

I got involved with The Shetland Times on this project to satisfy my curiosity, because I thought this project was a little unusual. It’s not something that you’d particularly think of as being interesting; it’s really just people moving from one place to another. But when you think about it, it’s pretty interesting. These young people have swapped the clean beaches of the Shetland Islands for a life in the crowded streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know why.

I wanted to know what they’re plans were and where they were going. Both interviewees are roughly the same age as me and we’ve all gone through a similar journey. Megan and Jen left their comfortable, tightknit communities -where you can leave your doors unlocked or your keys in your car, to go off on their. By telling these stories, it was a chance to show people how well they’ve done on their own and show younger people wanting to strike out on their own that it’s possible to do so.

For me, the best part of journalism is getting to meet people and help them share their stories. And this project has certainly allowed me to do that.”

 

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

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One comment

  1. Robin Barclay

    A steady stream of Shetlanders have always left, temporarily or permanently, but still regard themselves as Shetlanders, and go to the sources that keep them informed. It used to be letters, phone calls and the weekly Shetland times by post – but the internet/social-media have enhanced that, so there is daily news and comment and connections with the diaspora of friends and family. Maybe it is growing up in Shetland that instills a sense of community/culture that encourages us to value that connectedness. However the younger generation of Shetlanders don’t gravitate towards the Shetland communities in the major Scottish cities. Previous generations have valued these as a means of staying in touch and expressing their Shetland culture amongst their peers (and across generations, common in Shetland). Maybe the ease of access to their peers and family on social media has fulfilled this younger generation’s need, but it is a shame that a generation gap is opening up in these long-standing off-island Shetland communities. Unless the next generations get involved these organisations will peter out. However it may be that as I get older I have come to value these communities more. Time will tell whether we can keep them going.

    Reply

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