Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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With a Song in our Hearts

With a Song in our Hearts | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

I am a freelance ‘Yes’ activist, and as well, a Canadian newcomer to Scotland with a fresh, outsider’s perspective. This has granted me, I believe, abilities beyond the ordinary to r...

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5 Artists in Search of a Country

5 Artists in Search of a Country | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

For those of you who missed this great event at the Assembly Rooms, we asked two playwrights, a poet, a musician, an actor about the future of Scotland.

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Why do the majority of Scotland's artists support independence?

Why do the majority of Scotland's artists support independence? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Recently, I found myself on Newsnight Scotland taking part in a discussion about artists and the independence movement.


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Scotland's Proud Cultural Heritage Benefits From Being in the UK

Scotland's Proud Cultural Heritage Benefits From Being in the UK | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
In Scotland we can be proud of not just having a great cultural heritage, and to lay claim to the likes of Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson, but we can also be proud of the many modern companies that we can call our own...
Peter A Bell's insight:

Who does Maggie Curran imagine is preventing "Scotland's creative communities" being heard on both sides of the constitutional debate? The reality is that artists and those in the creative industries are as free as anybody else to come out for or against the restoration of Scotland's rightful constitutional status. It just happens that through groups such as National Collective there appear to be more artists and creatives coming out for independence than against. Curran may want to pretend that this is because anti-independence voices in the creative communities are being suppressed by some mysterious force, but the more likely explanation for the dearth of artists and performers coming out in support of the anti-independence campaign is the dire nature of that campaign's aptly named "Project Fear".

And who can blame them when the closest Curran can come to a positive argument in favour of the union is that Scotland gets back some of the money the people of Scotland pump into the National Lottery. By implication, at least, Curran suggests that Scotland benefits disproportionately from sending money to London to be disbursed as the cliques of the British state see fit. But, unsurprisingly, she offers no evidence of this. Perhaps because the National Lottery's accounting procedures are so labyrinthine as to make it all but impossible to determine where money comes from and where it goes to. Perhaps because, in keeping, with the abysmal standards of Better Together - the official name for the Tory/Labour/LibDem alliance for the preservation of the British state - evidence, accuracy and honesty are not a priority.

Totally in keeping with the barrel-scraping, scaremongering standards of Project Fear is Curran's threat that the rest of the UK (rUK) would somehow contrive to cut off Scotland from the cultural world. The threat that, in a fit of petty pique at the people of Scotland deciding that they want to bring their government home, those cliques of the British state would throw up barriers to exclude Scotland from the networks of cultural discourse and exchange that have been built up over centuries - not only between Scotland and the other nations of these islands, but between Scotland and the global family of nations.

It is generally accepted that Maggie Curran is not the most intellectually acute among the little group that British Labour in Scotland are pleased to regard as their "big-hitters". Some say that she is there to make Anas Sarwar look clever, while Sarwar's role is to make Johann Lamont appear smarter than your basic kitchen utensil. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that she should be unable to think of independence as anything other than a severing of relationships rather than a redefining of them. As necessarily implying isolation rather than allowing Scotland to freely negotiate the terms on which it engages with other nations which consider this freedom their natural right.

Unfortunately, such attitudes are not confined to the shallow end of the British nationalist intellect pool where Curran and her ilk wallow. The contemptuously condescending view of Scotland evinced by Curran is a defining characteristic of British nationalist ideology.

The claim that Scotland's artistic and creative communities can only thrive under the auspices of a superior, paternalistic British state is profoundly insulting. It is patronising in a way that grates on Scottish sensibilities. While British sensibilities think it patronage that Scotland should be grateful for.

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Jim Arnott's curator insight, October 22, 2013 10:50 AM

As always, Peter Bell's insight is a must read - actually better than the article itself

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The Scotsmans 'Arts' Coverage

The Scotsmans 'Arts' Coverage | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The 5 Artists in Search of a Country event at the Assembly Rooms was an antidote to the widely recognised absence of focus on the referendum at this years festival. Theories vary about why this might be (this is pre-Mills declaration of fascination with events of 1917). They range from:


1) It’s not very interesting
2) No-one really cares
3) It doesn’t make very good drama
4) No-one’s actually from Scotland at the festival
5) It will all kick-off next year.


Whatever. Who cares? This is about an event that did happen not performances never commissioned.


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Who Carries The Carriers?

Who Carries The Carriers? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

‘There is no place more revolutionary and no time more exciting than right here and right now in Scotland,’ writes Andrew Redmond Barr of the National Collective, a congregation of artists in favour of Scottish independence.  The finest minds of our generation, to borrow from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, are poised to reimagine Scotland from top to bottom: politically, economically, socially and culturally. The summer of 2014 – dare we call it the Summer of Independence? – could be to Scotland what 1967 was to London and San Francisco, its artists and radicals conjuring songs, essays, poems, speeches and plays which offer fresh vistas and challenge a hideously conservative status quo.  This process was spurred at the end of 2012 with the book Unstated: Scottish Writers on Independence, edited by Scott Hames, which featured essays by 27 writers, almost all of whom are in favour of Home Rule.

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