Enhanced by Diversity, Connected by Humanity: TRACS & BEMIS St Andrews Day Conference 2016

I organised this open conference in partnership with Danny Boyle, Parliamentary and Policy Officer for Bemis Scotland on behalf of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) as part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

Download conference programme here

Ahead of 2017’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and BEMIS Scotland jointly host a conference exploring how we might realise the creative potential of our diverse cultural heritage in local communities across Scotland.

Scotland has been shaped by millennia of global influence. Part of Scotland has always been – and will be – African, Asian, Middle and Far Eastern, European and all the diversity of culture, language, religion and beliefs inherent around the globe. In order to foster social and cultural equality, every citizen of Scotland should know the broader story of Scotland’s story and role in the world. This includes recognition of Scotland’s part in the transatlantic slave trade, how Scotland was shaped by colonialism both globally and domestically, and how the impact of these global events can still be seen in the inequalities faced by minority ethnic communities today.

It is also important to encourage a sense of equal ownership in our national heritage and historic environment, including greater recognition of the diverse intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of local communities. From language, custom and belief to music and song, our discussions explore the unique local expressions of cultural heritage and their global connections, simultaneously universal and particular in character.

Bringing together practitioners, policy-makers and academics, the day will offer presentations, participatory workshops, live performances and networking opportunities. We look forward to how we might realise this creative potential, fostering good relationships at a community level and promoting a dynamic, inclusive Scottish national identity for the future.

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for International Development & Europe, opened the day with a reflection on the global influence on our national cultural heritage and BEMIS’ Dr Rami Ousta highlighted the role of intangible cultural heritage as a pathway to active citizenship.

Performances included an exciting collaboration between BBC Traditional Musician of the Year 2013 Paddy CallaghanSheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini and Dance Ihayami.

Participatory workshops were hosted by TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland)BEMIS ScotlandVoluntary Arts Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland.

The day finished with a panel discussion asking the the question, ‘What does Scotland’s inclusive national identity mean to you?’ with storyteller and musician Marion Kenny and Edyta Kania of Dance Ihayami, Donald Shaw, Director of Celtic Connections and BEMIS’ Danny Boyle. Chaired by Donald Smith, Director of TRACS.

Mairi McFadyenComment