Robert Corteen Carswell

Year: 2013

Robert Corteen Carswell

In 2013, the prestigious Reih Bleeaney Vanannan trophy was awarded to Bob Carswell for his outstanding contribution to many areas of Manx culture.

The award was presented by the Chairman of Culture Vannin, the Hon Phil Gawne MHK, who outlined the extraordinary breadth of Bob's interest in Manx culture. He was described as one of the most knowledgeable and modest of men; a skilled poet, songwriter and translator, a fine musician, singer, and historian. Through his work in broadcasting and education Bob has made his deep understanding of Manx culture, language and history accessible to a wide audience.

Bob has been involved in writing and broadcasting in Manx since the 1970s and in providing books and rhymes for Manx language playgroups from 1983. Since 2006 he has been working to develop Manx language resources for the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh and Unnid Gaelgagh (Manx Language Unit).

His songs have been arranged and recorded by the Mollag Band, Skeeal, Caarjyn Cooidjagh, Barrule, and Ruth Keggin. He has also been commissioned to write new songs for primary schools.

Bob has danced with the Manx Folk Dance Society, Bock Yuan Fannee and Bock Bane and continues to play music at sessions and with the Calor Gas Ceilidh Band. He has long been involved in voluntary work: organising festivals like Yn Chruinnaght and the Cooish, which involves a considerable amount of his personal time. He is a member of the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee and is one of the most important voices in broadcasting as far as Manx culture is concerned; his programmes for Manx Radio include Claare ny Gael, Traa dy Liooar and Shiaght Laa. He has worked extensively on projects such as Caarjyn as Fennee (Friends and Heroes) and to produce YouTube broadcasts on aspects of culture.

As part of his award, Bob was asked to nominate a Manx cultural group who would receive a donation of £500 from Culture Vannin to further their work. He chose to give the donation to the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh at St John's.