Little is known about the hundreds of families who rely on the travelling shows for their livelihood and the mounting problems they are said to face with every passing year.
A reduction in the number of available sites for fairgrounds, growing red tape, protests from hostile communities and the growth of new technology offering alternative forms of entertainment is said to have left the next generation of fairground operators seeking alternative employment.
THERE are believed to be at least 20,000 active showmen families in the UK - but as little as a 10th of them are thought to make a living in Scotland now.
When First Minister Alex Salmond hosted an official reception for Scotland’s showpeople in 2009 there were 450 members of the Scottish Showmen’s Guild, representing around 2000 families who had been entertaining the public for decades. That number has now slumped to just over 350 members.
At the time The First Minister said: “Travelling showpeople are an important part of Scotland’s culture, history and economy and combine a strong tradition of family and community with a high level of entrepreneurship and business acumen.”"
As the commercial art world in America rides a boom unlike any it has ever experienced, another kind of art world growing rapidly in its shadows is beginning to assert itself. And art institutions around the country are grappling with how to bring it within museum walls and make the case that it can be appreciated along with paintings, sculpture and other more tangible works.
Known primarily as social practice, its practitioners freely blur the lines among object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art that often flourishes outside the gallery and museum system. And in so doing, they push an old question — “Why is it art?” — as close to the breaking point as contemporary art ever has."