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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.

Source: Scolawi


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