The Herring Quines: Explained

This year, On The Rocks has incorporated a ‘heritage’ theme into its programme. Producer, Lauren Hossack, has taken this as inspiration and created an event which delves into a little-documented aspect of Scotland’s past…

– Tell us a little bit about the piece.

The Herring Quines is a documentary looking at the role of women in Scottish fishing communities. Fishing is often seen to be a male-dominated occupation, but historically, women have played key roles in life in fishing communities. Their experiences tell a very different story to many narratives of women in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

– What was your inspiration behind producing this event?

I knew I wanted to make a documentary, and the history of fishing communities is something I’ve always been interested in, given my roots lie in one. This was a chance for me to seriously explore the topic and just make sense of it all.

– What do you hope an audience takes away from the performance?

If anything, that these women were incredible! Their lives were characterised by hardship and uncertainty, yet they soldiered on. Also that accepted historical narratives are very subjective.


– ‘The Herring Quines’ ties in with On The Rock’s ‘heritage’ theme this year – what attracted you to celebrating this aspect of Scotland’s past?

This is a side of Scottish history quite a lot of people might never have seen before, so it’s really exciting for me to be the one to show it– I just hope I can do it justice! On a more personal level, this is my own heritage – my great-grandmother was a herring quine (she comes up in the film) – and I’ve grown up in that kind of culture, so it was really fun to ‘officially’ explore it and make something of it that I can share with other people.