Thursday, 6 March 2014

Why I Love Scolawi

Choosing A Name

One thing I find very difficult is creating names for my projects, and I spent an awful long time coming up with this one. When you consider that my last project went untitled at exhibition, and even now sits on my website uninspiringly called 'Falkland Estate' you can recognise the efforts I've gone to for I Love Scolawi.

As this project started to get bigger, I realised that I needed to give the project a catchy name that would grab peoples attention, intrigue them, and make them want to know more
(congratulations on being these people!).

There are many strands to this project, and I wanted the project title  to represent the whole ethos of the project: to show a sense of equality and unity, to link the two cultures together, and to show people's patriotism. I also wanted the title to convey that both countries were equal in the project, and they both had something to offer.

My first attempt centred around using a word like 'unity' written in both English and Chichewa (Malawi's official language). This was inspired by the credits for the TV series 'The Bridge' whose title is 'Broen:Bron' - the Danish and Swedish words for Bridge.

Unfortunately I didn't speak Chichewa, and was also told that there was unlikely to be a direct one word translation for such words, as the language is very descriptive. This was a bit of a blow, so I ignored the problem hoping that inspiration would strike, and I wouldn't have to put a lot of effort in.

No such luck. So I decided to ask the fans of my Red Cabin Studio Facebook page. They were wonderful, and gave me lots of new ideas to play around with including Loch Malawi which I liked a lot. To emphasise the links between Scotland and Malawi, Loch Malawi became Loch Malawi I Presume? This still makes me laugh, but I didn't know how many people in Scotland would have heard of Lake Malawi, and it didn't give any inkling into what the project was about.

By this stage things were getting a bit desperate. On my first funding application form  I was stumped by the first question: What is the name of your project? So Bill (husband) and I sat down for a brainstorming session.

We went through lots of ideas, and came up with some hilarious titles - none of which have survived unfortunately. At one point we started playing around with the words Scotland and Malawi, and mixing them together .

Malaland just sounded odd, but Scotlawi felt like it had possibilities. Saying it out loud made me realise that it was quite difficult to say, but I really wanted both countries to have four letters in the  amalgamated word.

Gradually I realised that this was a stupid thing to cling onto, and I would need to get rid of either the L or the T. Scolawi sounded better than Scotawi.

The I Love prefix was inspired by the I [insert city/country name here] tee shirts and mugs and other tourist tat. On the advice of my teenage daughter, I tried to call the project I Scolawi for a while to be a little 'cooler' but I very quickly got annoyed with it, so went back to I Love Scolawi.

As I mentioned at the start, I really struggle to create names for my projects. If you have any ideas that might help me, I would love to hear from you.



  1. I think you are doing a wonderful job so far but how much publicity are you getting? There do not seem to be many people following you on-line. Is there a newspaper who will publish your story, with updates when you reach milestones?
    I think your project is worth letting the whole of Scotland know about. How about the Daily Record for example, Scotland's most read newspaper? Just a thought or maybe you have already made publicity plans.

    1. Thanks for your comment Alison. At the moment it's still a little early to start really advertising the project. I still don't know if I'm going to receive any grant funding, and there isn't much news except that I'm beavering away planning things behind the scenes.

      I'm planning to crowdfund for the exhibition costs for the community side of the project, and at that point I'm going to push the publicity as much as I can. I've decided the best time to do this is straight after I come back from Malawi in June, when I'll be teaching lots of workshops and trying to get people involved.

      In the next couple of months I'm going to learn as much as I can about creating a large media buzz. But before then, I want to get practised in writing blogs and posting on twitter/FB without too many people watching me.

      hope this all makes sense


    2. It certainly makes sense now you have explained it Jenni, you are certainly a very determined lady and I can't wait to see the whole project come together which I am sure it will!


    3. Thanks for the compliments Alison. I'm starting to think that individual people really might be able to make a difference in this world, and it might be fun to have a go. The idea of this project has grown so much, and at times that's been really scary, and I've felt that I'm going to be found out in some way for who I really am. But mostly I feel really confident and proud about what I'm doing and feel empowered by how I'm bringing it all together.

      The project is definitely happening by the way, it's just the scale of it, that will be determined by the funding. The exhibition is being advertised by Fife Council and I'm starting to walk round with a permanent bubble of excitement inside me!