Maeve Gavin guides group growth and renewal processes.  Inspired by cultural practices that enable us to do just this, Maeve founded Way of the Village in 2009. She specialised in Grief Tending in Community rituals, working with small and large groups up to 150 people.  She also coordinated five week long multi-generational ‘Art of Mentoring’ courses in the UK and facilitated at courses in the U.S.  Maeve felt her belonging in the wild landscape after living for four seasons in a vast forest and later training with pioneers in the fields of somatic and eco-psychology.  She has studied attempts at healthy human systems all her life, from living with the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST) to co-founding a refugee food growing charity in Glasgow and developing peer conflict resolution services for inner city schools.  Maeve gained a first class MA in Hispanic Studies from the University of Glasgow as well as a background as a researcher for social and environmental documentaries mostly for the BBC. With Irish roots and diverse London beginnings, Scotland has been home to Maeve for the past twenty years. She now lives in the Highlands with her son Sorley, surrounded by a strong community.

Laura Nicolson: I was drawn to Way of the Village’s aim to foster ‘village’ approaches to emotional health. I was lucky enough brought up with a big burly extended family, blood and foster, spanning island life to mainland cul-de-sacs. With hebridean parents and being brought up in Inverness, I feel a deep grief for the village I have missed out on, perhaps by only one generation and I feel a curiosity about how I can learn about the old village ways and sew tiny bits of it into modern day life. This, I have tried in different guises, from starting a community cafe, bring people together on bicycles and helping communities benefit from the wealth created by renewable energy. I am a proud Gael and excited to be part of something that allows me to explore and share my heritage.



Déirdre Ní Mhathúna I am an artist, a researcher, a singer and a Gael.  I work in community at every opportunity, feeding my inspiration through the Gaelic languages, song and continuing studies with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig/University of the Highlands and Islands.  By constantly developing and refining an art practice that honours place as well as individual and collective contribution,  my art rests on listening and depends on the collective voice of the people.  In order to engage at such a deep level, for me active research is the crucial element that can’t be sidestepped.

I am honoured and delighted to join the Way of the Village for The Keening Wake project.  Having previously researched and made an installation about the Caoineadh in The Burren (2006-7), this is a timely opportunity for me to delve deeper into its parallel Scottish Gaelic tradition, to listen for its echo among tradition bearers today and also, to seek its traces within the wealth of poetry and song sources here in Scotland.

’S e urram sònraichte dhomhsa a bhith a’ gabhail phàirt anns a’ phròiseact iongantach seo agus tha mi làn-dòchas gum faighear stòras is cho-theacs ùraichte às na lorgas sinn den Chaoineadh an Alba.

The Keening Wake Research Team








From to left to right: Déirdre Ní Mhathúna, Madge Bray, Bria Mason, Jane Hera*, Jen Porah, Maeve Gavin and Nerea Bello. *(Jane is on the Way of the Village management committee rather than the research team).

Margot Henderson is a Scots Irish Poet, Storyteller and Community Artist. Over the last 25 years she has worked with thousands of people from diverse backgrounds on co-creative projects and events. Much of her work is site-specific, drawing on the natural environment, and the culture and heritage of place. She has trained in Movement and  Theatre, Integrative Arts Therapy and Ceremonial Tradition.


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