A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

CPG on Culture: A Culture Strategy for Scotland

The Cross-Party Group on Culture discussed A Culture Strategy for Scotland at its meeting on Tuesday 5 September 2017. Watch the video of the debate below.

Speakers included:

  • Leonie Bell, Head of Cultural Engagement and Culture Strategy, Scottish Government
  • Allison Gardener, Programme Director, Glasgow Film
  • Lauren Ross, National Youth Arts Advisor, Young Scot
  • Heather Stuart, Chief Executive, Fife Cultural Trust

CPG on Culture, September 2017 from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

If the video is not showing above, please view the video here.

October 18, 2017

Statement from Emergents Creatives

A statement from Emergents Creatives was released on 13 October as below:

From the 1st November 2017 our contracts with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to deliver, through Emergents, the XpoNorth Writing & Publishing and  XpoNorth Craft, Fashion & Textiles support will end.

Over the past three years we have had the great pleasure of working with some amazing businesses and wonderful creative people, it has been a privilege.

It is anticipated that support for creatives businesses will continue in some form through Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to keep up to date with news please sign up for the XpoNorth and HIE newsletters.

Thank you to everyone we have worked with, hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.

Peter Urpeth, Pamela Conacher & Avril Souter

Emergents Creatives Community Interest Company Ltd

October 14, 2017

2017 Saltire Literary Awards shortlist unveiled

Multi-award winning writers and household names James Kelman, Bernard MacLaverty and Denise Mina feature alongside emerging talents Ever Dundas and Kate Hunterin 2017 in the Saltire Literary Awards shortlists, unveiled last night (12th October).

The shortlists for the seven awards that make up the 2017 Saltire Literary Awards were officially announced at an event hosted at the Edinburgh West End branch of Waterstones and featured readings from last year’s winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award, Kathleen Jamie.

Widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards, the Saltire Literary Awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 which aims to celebrate the Scottish imagination.

Established writer John Burnside, one of only two poets to have won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for the same book, features in both the Poetry and Fiction Book Awards shortlists. He is up against new voices Em Strang and Jason Donald for the coveted prizes.

A collection of some of the most beautiful and historically significant maps from the National Library of Scotland’s archive, the exploration of the development of Muslim communities in Scotland, highlighting the ongoing changes in their structure and the move towards a Scottish experience of being Muslim, and a collection, covering 500 years of transgressive Gaelic poetry with new English translations all contribute to a rich line-up in the Research and Non-Fiction book of the Year Awards.

The Fiction Book of the Year shortlist features a number of acclaimed authors, including the latest novels from previous Saltire Literary Award winners James Kelman, Bernard MacLaverty and John Burnside. Also featured is Denise Mina,the first woman to win the McIllvanney prize for her shortlisted novel, The Long Drop.

The First Book of the Year shortlist is particularly varied, with beguiling historical tale Goblin by Ever Dundas, the interweaving of crime and taxidermy in Sandra Ireland’s Beneath the Skin alongside the candid life-memoir of an Italian Scot, Anne Pia.

2013 saw the Saltire Literary Awards expanded to see Publishers as well as writers celebrated for their work.

This year sees awards for both publishing companies and individuals at the beginning of their career in the industry.

Established publishers such as Canongate and Birlinn are shortlisted alongside newcomers 404Ink who have had phenomenal success with their first publication Nasty Women, and niche publishers Handspring, while emerging talents, such as Kirstin Lamb of Barington Stoke and Laura Waddell of Harper Collins, have been shortlisted for the Emerging Publisher of the Year Award for their commitment, innovation and adaptability within the industry.

The shortlists for the seven awards for the 2017 Saltire Literary Awards, each accompanied by a cash prize for the winner, are:

 

The winning book from each of the book awards will go on to compete for the coveted Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award and an accompanying £3,000 cash prize.

The winners of all the Saltire Literary Awards, along with the Ross Roy Medal for the best PhD thesis on a subject relating to Scottish literature, will be formally announced at a special ceremony in Edinburgh on St Andrew’s Day (30 November 2017).

Saltire Society Programme Director, Sarah Mason commented: “As always with the Saltire Literary Awards, the sheer scale, diversity and excellence within the shortlists exemplify the best in Scotland’s literary sphere.

“My congratulations to all our shortlisted writers and publishers. I wish them the very best of luck when the awards are announced at a special ceremony on St Andrews day.”

October 13, 2017

The Bookseller wants your Scottish stories

The Bookseller has announced its very first dedicated Country Focus on Scotland, to run in the 19th January 2018 edition to celebrate Scotland’s publishers and publishing industry.

It will be a specific and dedicated edition on Scotland with news stories, features, charts, analysis, and a preview feature of books released throughout next year.

They are currently holding an open call to publishers, authors, buyers, agents and publisher services throughout Scotland to take part.

It’s a great opportunity to showcase yourselves, as well as new titles, to book buyers, bookshop owners, ecommerce outlets and major publishers throughout Europe and beyond.

Over the next few months, The Bookseller will be calling for the following information:

  • News stories/press releases/trends in Scottish publishing
  • AIs for top titles released between January 2018 and January 2019
  • Bookings for advertising/promotional slots in the edition.

Please email Emma Hare, Senior Account Manager

You can view the Wales Focus here, and the Ireland Focus here.

Information courtesy of Asif Khan of Scottish Poetry Library & The Bookseller

 

October 9, 2017

Alan Spence – new Edinburgh Makar

Huge congratulations to Alan Spence, who was appointed the new Edinburgh Makar this week.

Alan Spence is a highly respected poet, playwright, and novelist, who lives in Edinburgh but was born in Glasgow. He taught creative writing at the University of Aberdeen for nearly 20 years, and his writing spans many genres and themes, often falling somewhere between literature and philosophy with poetry inspired by Zen and meditation. His writing covers many forms including haiku and tanka, often in collaboration with artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder and Alison Watt. His most recent novel is Night Boat, published by Canongate, and is based on the life of Zen master Hakuin.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured to be nominated as the fifth Edinburgh Makar, the Poet Laureate for this wonderful city that has been my home for over 40 years.

“I look forward to following in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, Stewart Conn, Valerie Gillies, Ron Butlin and Christine De Luca. I know them all and they’re fine poets who have done a great job. We live in troubled times and poetry has never been so important.”

The outgoing Edinburgh Makar, Christine De Luca said: “I am delighted that Alan Spence is to be our next Makar.  Besides being a wonderful writer, he is out-going and generous-hearted.  I’m sure he’ll take the role in fascinating new directions.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the Edinburgh Makar and found nothing but support from the Council and its staff and from the other organisations supporting the role. Local poets too have been hugely encouraging and have willingly taken part in a range of projects.”

The Edinburgh Makar is a civic post instituted in 2002 by the City of Edinburgh Council. The writer is selected and nominated by representatives of the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish PEN, The Salite Society, Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council. They serve a term of three years.

A history of Edinburgh Makars:

  • Stewart Conn – 2002
  • Valerie Gillies – 2005
  • Ron Butlin – 2008 & 2011
  • Christine De Luca – 2014
  • Alan Spence – 2017

Information courtesy of Edinburgh City of Literature and Edinburgh City Council

 

October 6, 2017

Poetry by Heart Scotland 2017-18 is open!

Registrations are now open for the 2017-18 Poetry by Heart Scotland competition!

Participation in the competition is free of charge to all schools for S4-S6 pupils, aged 14-18.

To register your school or to ask any questions just email rose.harrison@spl.org.uk to receive your resource pack.

For more information, take a look at our handy Poetry by Heart Scotland guide.

 

Competition structure

Poetry by Heart Scotland has a pyramid structure: class heats are optional if you have lots of keen reciters but all participating schools have an official school competition.

School competition winners participate in regional heats, which this year are taking place in Universities across Scotland. The winners of all the regional heats take part in the national finals in March 2018.

The deadline for schools to register is Friday 3rd November 2017.

The poems

Students have to memorise and perform two poems – one written before 1914 and one after 1914.

One of the poems must be by a Scottish poet or a poet resident in Scotland.

You can find the permitted competition poems free at www.poetrybyheart.org.uk or on the Scottish Poetry library website at our Poetry by Heart Scotland pre-1914 and post-1914 tags.

Why not choose one poem from each website?

Download resources

When you register, SPL will send out a pack by post containing all of the documents you need to run PBHS in your school.You can find them online too here.

 

Information courtesy of Scottish Poetry Library.

 

October 3, 2017

National Poetry Day 2017 – Thurs 28 Sept

National Poetry Day is coming! On Thursday, 28 September, the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) will take the lead in Scotland in promoting the UK’s annual celebration of poetry and poets.

The theme for National Poetry Day (NPD) 2017 is ‘freedom’.

In addition to providing unique resources to mark the day, the SPL is co-hosting three events and supporting the launch of BBC Scotland’s Poet in Residence.

Poets Don Paterson, Christine De Luca and Hugh McMillan will read at special events to celebrate NPD.

Award-winner Paterson will read in the unique setting of the Jupiter Artland sculpture park outside Edinburgh.

Christine De Luca will mark the end of her time as Edinburgh Makar with the publication of a collection of poems about the capital, Edinburgh: Singing the City, which she will launch at the SPL on NPD.

At the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr, Hugh McMillan will perform his own work alongside competition winners from Alloway Primary, who have written their own poems for NPD.

National Poetry Day also marks the launch of BBC Scotland’s Poet in Residence.

Earlier this year, after an open call for submissions, BBC Scotland announced the second poet to take up the post is Stuart A. Paterson (succeeding Rachel McCrum, who held the post in 2015).

The residency, which is four months long and will conclude on Burns Night, begins with Paterson performing his own specially-written poem about ‘freedom’ to mark National Poetry Day.

The poem will incorporate a distinctive local word as part of UK-wide NPD celebrations: on that day, each of the 12 regional BBC areas will broadcast 12 poems by 12 local poets, with each poem inspired by a distinctive local word chosen through a call out for listener suggestions across the country.

The SPL is already making available resources for teachers and readers specially commissioned for 2017’s NPD.

The notes are based on six poems, all on this year’s theme of ‘freedom’, which have been turned into poem postcards.

The poems are in English, Gaelic and Scots, and are available from public libraries in Scotland for free.

The poems chosen include work by Kathleen Jamie and Julia Donaldson.

Audio and educational content – exclusive to the SPL – based on the six poems is available on our website now at http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/national-poetry-day-2017-freedom.

– ENDS –

For further information, please contact Colin Waters
T: 0131-557-2876 or 0740-052-9150. E:
colin.waters@spl.org.uk

About the Scottish Poetry Library

The Scottish Poetry Library is a unique national resource and advocate for the art of poetry. The SPL is one of three poetry libraries in the UK, but the only one to be independently constituted and housed. The SPL now has over 45,000 items and has recently completed an extensive renovation of its building. Discover more about the SPL and its work throughout Scotland and beyond on the Library’s website: http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk

About National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite lines of poetry on social media using #nationalpoetryday. National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience. Discover more about NPD: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/

 

September 27, 2017

Culture Strategy – engagement details

Last week the Cross Party Group on Culture met to discuss A Culture Strategy for Scotland. Following on from this, please find below a note from Scottish Government colleagues:

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for an interesting and productive meeting at the Cross Party Group on Culture on 5 September.  We really appreciate your ideas, views and the enthusiasm for what a Culture Strategy can achieve.

Please find below some information about the current engagement phase of the development of a Culture Strategy for Scotland. We hope these are just a few of the many ways you, and your peers, colleagues and communities can feed into the conversation.

Our Resource Pack to support stakeholders hosting their own discussions around the Culture Strategy for Scotland, along with details of our planned public engagement events in Paisley, Dumfries & Galashiels have now been published on our website.

Details of further events will be confirmed and added to our webpages in due course.

To find out more about the culture strategy and how to get involved, email culturestrategy@gov.scot, you can also share your views on Twitter by mentioning @culturescotgov and using the hashtag #scotlandscultureconversation, or get involved in our online discussion forum.

Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

The Culture Strategy team

Information courtesy of Cross Party Group on Culture email update.

September 15, 2017

Walter Scott 250 partnerships meeting – 15 Sept 2017

WHAT: Walter Scott 250th Commemorative Year (2021) – partnerships meeting

WHEN: 2pm on Friday 15 September 2017

WHERE: National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh – Seminar Room, Learning Centre 4.

RSVPAsif Khan, Director, Scottish Poetry Library 

AGENDA

  1. Welcome (2min)
  2. Introductions (5min)
  3. Partner updates/ information share (15-20min)
  4. Programme Development (30-40min)
  • How might the partnership group evolve, and identify key themes for collaborations?
  • Administrative support and resources
  • Identity/brand
  1. Dates and venues of next meetings

Please feel free to share details of the meeting with colleagues or other parties working in culture, heritage, tourism or academia that you think might be interested in attending.

Directions to the Seminar Room Learning  Centre Level 4

  • Please enter the National Museum of Scotland via the street level entrance on Chambers Street and take the stairs or lift to the Grand Gallery on Level 1.
  • Take the Escalator one flight up to Level 3  – where you will see a small shop area and the entrance to our Jacobites exhibition
  • Walk straight past the shop area with Jacobites ticket desk on your left . You will see a small ‘bridge’ walkway leading to an archway . Go through archway and upstairs which lead to  the Learning Centre Level 4.  If you need to take a lift to Level 4 there is a small lift to the right hand side of the stairs.

Information courtesy of Asif Khan, SPL.

September 12, 2017

Denise Mina wins The McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year

Congratulations to Denise Mina who won the Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Prize Scottish Crime Book of the Year 2017 for The Long Drop.

It is the first time a woman has won the award.

The award was announced last night (Friday 8 September 2017) at the opening night of Bloody Scotland – Scotland’s international Crime Writing Festival – which runs from 8-10 September 2017 at venues in Stirling.

Lee Randall, chair of the judges said:

“The Long Drop by Denise Mina transports us back to dark, grimy Glasgow, telling the social history of a particular strata of society via the grubby, smokey pubs favoured by crooks and chancers. She takes us into the courtroom, as well, where Manuel acted as his own lawyer, and where hoards of women flocked daily, to watch the drama play out.

Full of astute psychological observations, this novel’s not only about what happened in the 1950s, but about storytelling itself. It shows how legends grow wings, and how memories shape-shift and mark us.

For my money this is one of the books of 2017 — in any genre.”

Information and photo courtesy of Bloody Scotland.

September 9, 2017

Notes on Visions of the Future: Libraries @ Edinburgh International Book Festival

Sunday 27 August 2017, 7.30-9pm, Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Featuring: Julia Donaldson, Pete White, Dr Jenny Peachey, chair: David Chipakupaku

Format: short presentation by each guest, followed by group discussion, then audience questions.

Julia Donaldson, children’s author and Children’s Laureate 2011-2013

Read out two examples of letters from parents who use the libraries in different ways, including the difficulties in accessing ‘hubs’ – rather than smaller local libraries – for some parents. She had heard comments that some librarians didn’t dare speak out: “librarians are not allowed to say, ‘our libraries are doing well'”. Emphasised that although understandable some cuts need to be made in times of financial difficulty, it would be disastrous if buildings were sold and we couldn’t get them back.

Jenny Peachey, Senior Policy and Development Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

Shared stats from Carnegie Trust report ‘Shining a Light: The future of public libraries across the UK and Ireland.’ Showed that although library membership is doing well, frequency of use is down (from 2011-2016), and that there’s a value action gap (i.e.libraries are seen as crucial but are not necessarily being used). Issue of two very different user groups, who need two different messages. There’s an appetite for change amongst the public, including increased council services available in libraries, more events and more cafes). Increased range of books was not seen as a priority for many people. Potential improvements: digital offer, a more tailored offer, which recognises that it’s not a universal/broad service? Also: Create a workplace culture of innovation which empowers library staff and share learning across the jurisdictions, which all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Pete White, Chief Executive of Positive Prison

Pete talked about his experience in the prison system, including being allocated to work in the library during his sentence. Shared key stats including: 80% of prisoners are from the top 5% more impoverished areas. Two thirds of prisoners have a reading age of less than 11, two thirds have mental health issues and two thirds have issues with addiction. Each year 250,000 people have a court report written about them. The prison population remains about steady with approx 19,000 in and out each year. He explained how libraries are the “opportunity to take something forward”, emphasising that they are linked to communication as a whole. The average middle-class household will use around 32,000 words per day, whereas a family with two children and one parent with an addiction is likely to use around 600. “That’s a lot of missing words by the time they grow up”. He ended with “libraries are vital, simple as.”

Further discussion points and key quotations

– importance of recognising that it’s not patronising to teach reading or stories to adults

– discussion of important of libraries to people once released from prison – JP pointed out we could connect the dots.

– JP: Explained that something is being lost in communication, for example many people surveyed said they wanted to be able to reserve books online, which they already can. Also: think about the ‘why’ of libraries when spreading the message, and recognise it’s not a universal message.

– PW: Libraries could “step sideways from tradition” and become more fearless, with more involvement from young people. Can be intimidating to some people.

– JD: Libraries as a physical place v. important – vital role as a community centre.

– JP: “Libraries are the last free, safe, civic space we have.”

– Discussion of the social return on investment, e.g. training volunteers, which means they’re seen as people with the ability to contribute. Importance of quantifying long-term value and preventative spend, e.g. libraries save the NHS millions each year.

– Questions raised about who do we expect to invest in libraries? (US model of philanthropy mentioned). How can they generate money? How to change the social mindset about libraries?

Describe your dream library!

DC: Birmingham! But with all local services still intact.

JD: I love the variety, and how each one is so different.

JP: A library which is immediately welcoming and full of people

PW: Wee free libraries, available to all.

Points from audience discussion

  • Pamela Tulloch (CEO of Scottish Library and Information Council) pointed out that the situation in Scotland is not as dire as often portrayed: new libraries are opening around the country, and it’s important to celebrate the positives.
  • importance of communicating with your local library about what you want
  • use your library, and encourage others, to help the stats.
  • celebrate the diversity of library users, without judgment
  • make sure communicate the contemporary offer to those who don’t value their libraries.

Notes courtesy of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust.

 

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September 6, 2017

Wigtown Book Festival puts global & local on the same page

  • Over 250 authors will be welcomed to Scotland’s National Book Town in 2017
  • Themes include International Connections, Revolutions, Walking & Talking, Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • New initiatives include free children’s programme on Sunday 1 October
  • Free tickets to young adult and adult events for everyone under 26

The 19th annual Wigtown Book Festival promises more than 250 events and welcomes a multitude of authors and famous names.

This year’s festival, from 22 September to 1 October 2017, includes sessions with leading Scottish authors Andrew O’Hagan and Denise Mina; from the world of sport Judy Murray and jockey Declan Murphy; politicians turned writers Roy Hattersley and Alan Johnson; TV presenter Rick Edwards, journalists Martin BellJeremy BowenGavin Esler and Bridget Kendall; and Palme d’Or-winning screenwriter Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake), who grew up in Wigtown and attends the festival for the first time.

The opening evening will see the launch of the Diary of a Bookseller, written by Wigtown bookshop-owner Shaun Bythell. The subject of a bidding war between publishers, the book recounts a year in the life of a secondhand bookshop owner and reads like a cross between George and Weedon Grossmith’s comic classic Diary of Nobody and TV series Black Books. It is one of three books from major publishers to be based in Wigtown and published this year.

At the heart of the 2017 event is a new international strand, World Town, which seeks to bring new voices from abroad to the festival. The programme welcomes overseas writers and commentators to discuss the German elections (24 September) and Catalan referendum (1 October). There are also sessions on the rise of France’s President Macron, the decline of US influence in the world, and how Brexit is seen by our continental neighbours.

As part of this international theme, the Upland/ Spring Fling artists’ residency, now in its 9th year, will welcome Moroccan storyteller Mehdi El Ghaly and photographer Houssain Belabbes to work with their Scottish counterparts Anne Errington and Laura Hudson Mackay. Together they will be exploring the connection between Moroccan and Celtic storytelling traditions.

Artistic director Adrian Turpin comments: “Wigtown welcomes the world. It may be a small town in a remote part of south-west Scotland, but it’s also Scotland’s national book town, visited by an increasing number of book lovers from across the globe, many of whom have chosen to make their homes here.

You don’t have to live in a city to engage with the wider world, especially now that digital technology allows us all to maintain contacts over large geographical distances. It is possible to be truly global and local. We feel that it’s especially important to look outwards at this moment in history. In particular, after the Brexit vote, on both sides of the debate there has been a new urgency to know about our European neighbours.”

Closer to home, the 2017 Wigtown Book Festival also celebrates Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology with Professor Sir Tom Devine. It also looks at the particular contribution that the south-west of the country has made to Scotland’s national story, from Covenanters and the Galloway Viking Hoard, to the works of historian Thomas Carlyle and engineer Thomas Telford.

Taking inspiration from the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the 2017 festival will consider technological, social and political revolutions and the forces that drive them, through the works of among others Alec Ryrie (Protestants), Victor Sebestyen (Lenin the Dictator) and Douglas Murray (The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam).

A series of new Walking & Talking events will encourage the exchange of ideas on the hoof, with an aim to refresh the spirit and exercise mind and body. James Canton will recreate ancient Wigtownshire; author of A Book of SilenceSara Maitland, leads a silent walk; taking inspiration from poet Harry Giles, writers Robert Twigger and Jessica Fox find new ways to explore the Galloway Forest Park; while author and farmer Rosamund Young will bring to life her cult book The Secret Life of Cows on a local dairy farm.

There’s also plenty to do not centred on books. This year the festival offers film screenings in the County Buildings, a nightly theatre programme at Scotland’s smallest theatre, The Swallow, and a number of visual arts exhibitions. Music includes Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, played by Glasgow’s Auricle Ensemble and the fantastic Commoners Choir, whose songs of revolt and dissent are a central part of this year’s Revolutions theme. Wine and whisky tastings will be provided by Nikki Welch and Blair Bowman, while the festival also offers a tour of Galloway’s new gin distillery Crafty and ice-cream maker Cream o’ Galloway. Light relief is provided by comedian turned classicist Natalie Haynes, while the stand-up farmer Jim Smith gives the low-down on rural life. The legendary festival talent competition and ceilidh also return on Saturday 23 September and 30 Septemberrespectively.

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Wigtown Book Festival on another inventive programme, full of ideas and debate, with exceptional writers from Scotland and beyond. The festival is a key event in Scotland’s cultural calendar, and an important fixture for Dumfries and Galloway.”

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Wigtown Book Festival again this year, through our Beacon Programme. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and the festival is one of the most iconic literary festivals in the UK. It’s great to see that this year’s programme is as strong as ever, with household names alongside a strong regional offering. It’s also fitting that during Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, that the festival will be exploring the region’s past and historic contribution through an exciting programme of talks and events.”

In a packed children’s programme, Abie Longstaff invites you to check into the Superhero Hotel, Mairi Hedderwick tells us what Katie Morag did next, Tony Bonning reveals folk tales from the region, and spells abound inSylvia Bishop‘s magical bookshop world. There will be a tea party for tigers and a Mudpuddle Farm drawing session with Shoo Rayner, while Philip Ardagh explores the world of Moominvalley. Popular children’s authorsVivian French and Debi Gliori host a workshop of superheroes and monsters encouraging creative minds to devise a character and story. This year’s programme also introduces for the first time a range of free events on the final Sunday.

Children’s programmer Anne Barclay said: Our aim is to encourage our youngest festival-goers to read more books, write more stories, draw more pictures and, most importantly, have fun across the festival. We’re incredibly excited about the 2017 Children’s Festival which offers 10 days of engaging and interactive events for the whole family.”

A separate young people’s festival, WTF (Wigtown: The Festival) offers more than 25 free events programmed by young people for their peers, aged 13-25. Writers attending will include Cathy MacphailKiran Millwood HargraveHelen Grant and Brian Conaghan, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award 2016. The young people’s programme also features advice on creating comics from Gary ChudleighAlan Grant and John McShane, inspirational spoken words with Savannah Brown, a writing masterclass from Nadine Aisha Jassat and workshops that include drawing (with illustrator Shoo Raynor), editing and ceramic design.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

  • Booking information – To book tickets call 01988 403222, visit in person at Number 11 North Main Street in Wigtown or buy online at www.wigtownbookfestival.com
  • Website – www.wigtownbookfestival.com
  • Dates of festival– 22 September to 1 October 2017
  • Funders– Wild Foods of Scotland, Creative Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway Council, EventScotland, The Holywood Trust, Engage, Batchworth Trust, Winifred Kennedy Trust, Mr Edward Hocknell, The Korner Family, Sir Iain Stewart, WS Wilson Charitable Trust.
  • With kind thanks– to all volunteers and local businesses who help make the festival every year.

About EventScotland

  • EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.
  • EventScotland is a team within the VisitScotland Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.orgor for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com.

About Creative Scotland

  • Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. It enables people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  It distributes funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.
  • For further information about Creative Scotland please visitwww.creativescotland.com.
  • Follow Creative Scotland @creativescots andwww.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

For further information and interview requests contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org  

September 1, 2017

Creative Scotland seeks Literature Officer

The following information is taken from Creative Scotland’s website.

Edinburgh
Salary: £26,016 pa plus pension and benefits
Full-time (36 hrs per week), permanent

Creative Scotland is the national development agency for Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries.

We are looking for a Literature Officer to join us and support Creative Scotland’s work in the context of our 10-year Strategic Plan and our Annual Plan. You will be an active member of the Literature team and will assess and make recommendations on a range of funding applications, projects and funding. You will also be expected to lead on a number of different projects and support the wider work of the Literature Team across a variety of different programmes.

The person appointed will work closely with cultural organisations and other key stakeholders to support the delivery of our work in literature and publishing.

Our ideal candidate will have a successful track record of project management and good knowledge of literature and publishing across Scotland. You will have demonstrable experience and knowledge of the literature sector, experience of readership or literature development including experience of working with a wide and diverse range of writers and literature professionals.

You will also be able to demonstrate experience in carrying out detailed assessments of proposals and producing clear reports and recommendations. Experience and understanding of the arts in Scotland, in particular literature and publishing, combined with strong interpersonal skills is essential. Experience of managing evaluation and monitoring processes is desirable but not essential, as is the ability to develop and establish partnerships both at home and abroad, and demonstrate commitment to our core values.

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms is 12 noon on Thursday 7 September 2017.

Interviews will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19 September 2017. If selected for interview you will be expected to be available on this date.

Download an application form and information pack here.

August 30, 2017

Muriel Spark 100

Are you planning an event to celebrate the Muriel Spark centenary or have an idea for an event you would like to develop?

The Muriel Spark 100 programme aims to raise the profile of Dame Muriel, her work, and her legacy and place her in the centre of the cultural landscape of 2018.

Led by the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland with the collaboration of many partner organisations – including BBC, Glasgow University, Scottish Book Trust, British Council, Muriel Spark Society, GFT and Glasgow Women’s Library –  the Muriel Spark 100 programme will celebrate the life and literary achievements of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally respected writers across the year, through a series of events, including talks, exhibitions, readings, publications and screenings.

They are looking for organisations and practitioners with work in development or who would be interested to mark the centenary in some way. From exhibitions to readings, talks or screenings, the formats and angles for contribution are diverse.

For more information, please contact the Muriel Spark 100 Coordinator, Sabrina Leruste, at s.leruste@nls.uk

August 24, 2017

CPG on Culture: A Culture Strategy for Scotland

The next CPG on Culture will be held on Tuesday 5 September 2017, 5.30pm-8.00pm at the Scottish Parliament in Committee Room 2.

The meeting will look a Culture Strategy for Scotland.  A full agenda will be made available in due course, however we expect the meeting to follow the usual format:

•         5.30pm-6pm                  Social Discussion

•         6pm-6.30pm                  Panel Discussion

•         6.30pm-8pm                  Group Discussion

Unfortunately, due to room capacity we can only accommodate 60 non-MSPs at the meeting. We expect demand to be high so please RSVP to Kirstin.MacLeod@creativescotland.com to secure your spot.

Following the meeting, details of proceedings will be posted on the website

August 16, 2017

Islay Book Festival set for bold start to second decade

When: 29 September–1 October 2017 | Jura Day: 28 September
Where: Various venues across Islay and Jura

 

This autumn, from 29 September to 1 October, Islay Book Festival is aiming to kick-start its second decade in a big way. Its enthusiastic team of volunteers is planning a lively programme of events aimed at increased variety, engagement, and especially fun!

Islay Book Festival first grew out of a book club based in the village of Port Ellen, hosting its first festival in 2006. Islay has since held ten successful festivals in Port Ellen and has hosted a range of famous authors including Val McDermid, Ruth Rendell, Ali Smith, Julia Donaldson, Iain Banks, Chris Brookmyre and Mairi Hedderwick.

In those first ten years, Islay Book Festival firmly established its presence on Islay’s busy events calendar and has also become a feature of the UK’s annual book festival circuit, and it has become a particularly popular festival for authors. Who wouldn’t want a trip to Islay, after all?

As Islay Book Festival approaches its eleventh instalment, the team is taking a fresh approach. The festival is going to be on the move this year, with events happening across Islay in order to make the most of what this fantastic island has to offer and in a bid to reach as many people as possible. The festival is also holding a special Jura day on 28 September.

Highlights will include a crime evening at Islay’s iconic Round Church, historical and contemporary fiction, space exploration, writing workshops, ‘Islay Voices’ local history walks, bookbinding workshops, Gaelic storytelling for children, a Mull Historical Society music and words evening, ‘Whisky Island’ photography, the Islay Poetry Challenge, puppetry, ‘Meet the authors’, wild books, school visits, Bookbug, and no doubt there’ll be some songs along the way. There may also be whisky…

Our line-up of authors in this busy programme of events, for adults and children of all ages, includes Colin MacIntyre (Mull Historical Society), Helen Sedgwick, Sara Sheridan, E.S. Thomson, Pauline Prior-Pitt, Dr Ken MacTaggart, Alan Windram, Barbara Henderson, Linda Macleod, Ryan Van Winkle, Jura local Konrad Borkowski, and Islay’s own Jenni Minto and Les Wilson. Also featured will be Sollas Bookbinding.

For our full programme information, and for more details about our authors and other participants visit our website www.islaybookfestival.co.uk, follow us on Twitter @IslayBookFest or contact a member of our team at islaybookfestival@gmail.com

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August 9, 2017

School Library Strategy development set for Autumn 2017

The Scottish Government is to start developing a School Library strategy this Autumn.

The news was confirmed in a recent response letter to the Public Petitions Committee regarding the ongoing petition by Duncan Wright, Trustee of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), asking for a strategy as part of his ‘Save Scotland’s School Libraries’ campaign.

LAS welcomes the positive news and encouraging step forward in the Scottish Government’s response, which states:

“SLIC (Scottish Library Information Council) will lead the development of the strategy in collaboration with key partner organisations. The strategy will build upon the work undertaken by SLIC with Education Scotland to develop and integrate librarian-focused guidance into the main ‘How Good Is Our School 4’ (HGIOS4) whole school self-evaluation framework.

“Development and engagement on the strategy will begin in the autumn, following the publication of the new HGIOS4 guidance on school libraries.

“It is important that the aims, objectives and content of the strategy are developed in a collaborative way.

“The engagement to develop the strategy will therefore include all key stakeholders, including the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professional in Scotland (CILIPS) and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES).

“The aim is for the final strategy to be agreed and published ahead of the 2018/19 school year. The detailed timetable for the work will be developed and agreed with SLIC during the course of summer 2017. Officials will also contact CILIPS and the petitioner himself in order to clarify the timetable and the process to develop the strategy.”
July 4, 2017

Exhibition on libraries’ political & social status @ CCA Glasgow

Press release from CCA Glasgow:

The House that Heals the Soul brings social spaces, publishing resources and library collections from around the world to CCA Glasgow this summer (22 July – 3 September 2017).

This summer’s exhibition at CCA focuses on the political and social status of libraries.

Programmed in collaboration with artist Nick Thurston, CCA’s exhibition spaces will be opened up to house a selection of library and self-publishing resources alongside artworks that look at various histories of – and approaches towards – the protection and presentation of libraries’ collections, infrastructures and users.

The House that Heals the Soul includes artworks that explore the loss of libraries and books, and questions how controlling access to them can be a political strategy of occupation. Alongside typical and atypical library resources, the exhibition will also include a series of artworks examining readers’ relationships to publications, alternative politics of collecting publications, and technologies for disseminating and archiving them. Digital sharing platforms will also have a presence in the space, and there will be a series of talks by artists and practitioners throughout the show exploring our ever-changing relationships with public sites for knowledge development and exchange. The exhibition will support a dialogue around the importance of the librarian as an interlocutor, artist and curator, as well as giving access to CCA’s spaces for visitors to read, view and produce.

Artists and organisations

A wide range of artists and organisations will be part of The House that Heals the Soul including The Book Lovers, Beatrice Catanzaro, Curandi Katz, Sean Dockray & Benjamin Forster, Emily Jacir, My Bookcase, OOMK, Publication Studio Glasgow, The Serving Library, Temporary Services and Nick Thurston.

The Book Lovers is a collaboration between curator Joanna Zielińska and artist David Maroto focused on research into the artist’s novel employed as a medium in the visual arts. The Book Lovers’ entire collection of books will be on display in The House that Heals the Soul. Over 400 publications will be in the gallery – the largest collection in the exhibition – all artist’s novels. The books will be available for people to read within the gallery. The Book Lovers’ participation in The House that Heals the Soul is supported by the Mondriaan Fund.

Beatrice Catanzaro produces public art interventions with a special focus on social and political dynamics. In this exhibition, an installation representing the final outcome of A Needle in the Binding, her long-term research project with former Palestinian prisoners, will be on display. The project began with the prisoners’ book section of the Nablus Municipality Library which hosts approximately 8000 books read by Palestinian political prisoners between 1972 and 1995, alongside 870 hand-written notebooks; it considered access to books in prison and included the conservation of old and neglected books by the former prisoners and Catanzaro.

Curandi Katz (Valentina Curandi and Nathaniel Katz) are an artistic duo who have been working collaboratively since 2008. The Pacifist Library is an ongoing project of diverse interventions, centred on a mobile library articulated in different ways. All the books within the mobile library have a strong focus on ethical concerns and the connection between art and social change. The rucksack used for the nomadic, travelling library in Queens, New York will be on display during this exhibition, along with a selection of books from the project.

Benjamin Forster and Sean Dockray have been developing /dat library/ together, a peer-to-peer library of libraries that is built on top of the decentralised data-sharing tool called dat. Their work in The House that Heals the Soul is a desktop app which disseminates, shares and copies digital libraries. It allows users to add to, and create, their own libraries. It will be displayed on a computer in the gallery, alongside other computers in the space where visitors can access design software, links to artists projects and other online tools.

Emily Jacir is an artist and filmmaker who is primarily concerned with transformation, questions of translation, resistance and silenced historical narratives. Six photographs – extracts from a project called Untitled (fragment from ex libris) – will be on display during this exhibition. ex libris (2010-2012) commemorates the approximately thirty thousand books from Palestinian homes, libraries and institutions that were looted by Israeli authorities in 1948.

Founded in Glasgow in 2014 by artist Cristina Garriga, My Bookcase is a social enterprise that creatively explores the role of the book and its reader in today’s society. In 2017, Katie Reid and Julia Doz joined Garriga to expand My Bookcase across Glasgow, Barcelona and Amsterdam. My Bookcase will host a space in the gallery where books will be shared and exchanged in an informal way, and will present a workshop detailing how the space was produced. Following the exhibition, the exhcange space will be transferred to the bookshelves in the CCA foyer.

One of My Kind (OOMK) is a highly visual, handcrafted small-press printed zine; OOMK is run by Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin and Heiba Lamara who also host regular creative events. OOMK welcomes contributions from women of diverse ethnic and spiritual backgrounds, and is especially keen to be inclusive of Muslim women. A bookshelf with their publications and zines will be in the gallery, and OOMK will also lead an all-day workshop on creating a publication or book on 1 September.

Publication Studio Glasgow is also an open source printing facility housed at CCA. During The House that Heals the Soul, it will move into the gallery spaces as an open-source resource for self-publishing. CCA and Publication Studio partners – My Bookcase, Good Press Gallery, A Feral Studio and Joanna Peace – will run a series of workshops and inductions, enabling any member of the public to design, print and bind their own book edition.

The Serving Library is an artist-run organisation founded in 2011 to develop a shared toolkit for artist-centred education and discourse through publishing and collecting. The Serving Library commission artworks that respond to text and language including framed prints, photographs, objects and ephemera. More than 100 objects are on display at The Serving Library’s building in Liverpool; a selection of these commissions will come to CCA this summer.

Temporary Services (Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer) started as an experimental exhibition space in Chicago, and now produces exhibitions, events, projects and publications. The Booklet Cloud – forty publications from Temporary Services and Half Letter Press, hung from above – will be installed at CCA. Also available will be booklets from the Self Reliance Library, which collates reference materials and information about books – exploring a multitude of ideas including skills sharing, technologies, design and ecology.

For the show, Nick Thurston will present Drag-Nets, an adjusted re-print of James Joyce’s Ulysses – a book effectively banned in the US in the 1920s. The installation includes a stack of free-to-take dust jackets for censored books, and a single copy of Ulysses with the title, author and dates matching the new Drag-Nets cover. The dust jackets can be taken and creased around any book that one wishes to secretly distribute. The book will be legally registered and any time the cover jacket is seen or the barcode scanned it will identify the volume it conceals as Drag-Nets by Arthur West.

Ainslie Roddick, CCA Curator said: “This exhibition brings together several important projects which look at how knowledge and histories have been shared across, and despite of, borders and regimes of censorship. Our temporary library of libraries will become space for exchange, where the ‘political’ potential of books and texts is explored in many facets.”

Public libraries have become one of the last remaining spaces where people can gather without expectation or requirement. As the future of libraries becomes increasingly precarious, The House that Heals the Soul aims to expand on the potential of libraries as sites of resistance, shelter, preservation, creation and restitution, and to do so in a dynamically public way as a functioning library of libraries.

Viviana Checchia, Public Engagement Curator at CCA said: “Galleries and libraries have something quite significant in common; they both represent a safe and welcoming platform where conversations can happen in a way no other public place can offer. That is one of the reasons we decided to transform our galleries into a social hub consisting of an open exhibition space, a library and a publication studio. We hope this will foster and encourage even greater engagement in our already vivid spaces.”

This project marks the beginning of a series of summer exhibitions in CCA’s main galleries that will open the rooms up as spaces for meeting and exchange, providing the resources and facilities for more activities to be led by our communities.

Francis McKee, CCA Director said: “We are very excited about our forthcoming show – The House that Heals the Soul – which will stretch our regular exhibition format. There will be a series of curated artworks but we are also setting aside space in the main gallery where artists and community groups who responded to an open call will present their own projects. This is an experiment to see if we can introduce a greater degree of autonomy into our exhibition format, testing the role of open source in that context as well as in our partner programme.”

Following an open call for proposals from individuals and groups to contribute library collections, host their own events or use the gallery as a space to meet during The House That Heals the Soul, a related programme of events has been created. Events will take place throughout the run of the exhibition.

The House that Heals the Soul

The Book Lovers, Beatrice Catanzaro, Curandi-Katz, Sean Dockray & Benjamin Forster, Emily Jacir, My Bookcase, OOMK, Publication Studio Glasgow, The Serving Library, Temporary Services & Nick Thurston

Saturday 22 July – Sunday 3 September 2017

Preview: Friday 21 July, 7pm-9pm

Tue-Sat: 11am-6pm // Sun: 12noon-6pm // Free

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JD

For full details, please see www.cca-glasgow.com

Events:

The Book Lovers, Not a Concept but a Story – talk

Sat 22 Jul, 1pm, CCA Galleries, Free on the door

Yon Afro, In Our Own Words – workshop

Sun 13 Aug, 6pm-8pm, Free but ticketed

OOMK workshop

Fri 1 Sep, 11am -3pm, Free but ticketed

Artists Self-Publishing Book Fair

Sat 2 Sep, From 11am, Free on the door

My Bookcase – Meeting Point workshop

Sat 2 Sep, 1pm-3.30pm, Free but ticketed

Ten Books workshop with Sarah Forrest and Amy Todman

Sat 2 Sep, 4.30pm-6pm, Free but ticketed

My Bookcase Small Talk – discussion event

Sun 3 Sep, 1pm-2.30pm, Free but ticketed

/Ends

For more information, images or interviews, please contact Julie Cathcart, Communications Manager, CCA – julie@cca-glasgow.com / 0141 352 4911.

Notes to Editors

About CCA: The Centre for Contemporary Arts, on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, has been a hub for visual art, film, performance, festivals and literature since 1992 and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Previously home to The Third Eye Centre, the building is steeped in history and the organisation has played a key role in the cultural life of the city for decades. CCA’s year-round programme includes exhibitions, film, music, literature, spoken word, festivals, and talks. With building admissions of 335,650 in 2016-17, the venue hosted 253 programme partners across 1,075 events and 26 festivals. CCA also provides residencies for artists in the on-site Creative Lab space, as well as working internationally with residencies in Quebec, Palestine and the Caribbean. CCA curates six major exhibitions a year, presenting national and international contemporary artists, and is home to Intermedia Gallery which showcases emerging artists. CCA is supported by Creative Scotland, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. www.cca-glasgow.com

About The Book Lovers: Established in 2011, The Book Lovers is a collaboration between curator Joanna Zielińska and artist David Maroto. It is focused on research into the artists’ novel employed as a medium in the visual arts, exploring the different ways in which the artist’s novel is not a literary artefact but a medium employed by visual artists, exactly as they employ installation, video or performance. Its base is the creation of a collection of artists’ novels with a parallel online database, which is complemented by a series of exhibitions and public programmes, pop-up bookstores and publications. The Book Lovers work in partnership with a number of art institutions including M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp; de Appel, Amsterdam; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; EFA Project Space, NYC; Sternberg Press; Fabra i Coats – Centre d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Currently The Book Lovers are commissioning the creation of a new artist’s novel, called Tamam Shud, by Alex Cecchetti, produced by the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw. The two-year long art project features five episodic performances and an exhibition intended to create a murder mystery narrative to be published in early 2018. www.thebooklovers.info

About Beatrice Catanzaro: Beatrice Catanzaro is an artist and researcher. Her projects create situations for shared learning and public participation and have been developed and hosted throughout Europe, the Middle East, and India. Between 2010 and 2015, Catanzaro lived in Palestine and initiated the women’s centre Bait al Karama (House of Dignity), an ongoing long-term community project (social enterprise) in Nablus. Her work has been exhibited in numerous international venues including MART of Rovereto (Italy) in the context of Manifesta 7, Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castelló (Spain), Jerusalem Show by Al-Ma’mal Foundation (Jerusalem), Land Art Biennial (Mongolia), CIC Cairo (Egypt), Quadriennale of Roma (Italy). Catanzaro taught practice-based research at the International Art Academy of Palestine in Ramallah from 2012 and 2015. Invited lectures and participation in seminars includes: the Creative Time Summit ‘Curriculum’ at the Venice Biennale; Campus in Camps educational program at the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem (Palestine); the University of Hyderabad and at the CEPT University for Architecture, Urban Planning and Interior Design, Ahmedabad (India). She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Oxford Brookes University in Social Sculpture.

About Curandi Katz: Valentina Curandi (Cattolica, RN, 1980) and Nathaniel Katz (Woodstock, CA, 1975) have been working collaboratively as Curandi Katz since 2008. Their work explores modes of delegation and imposition underlined by forms of negotiation and collaboration. It acts in the space in which interactions with different ecosystems form, operating between linguistic inscription and incorporation into the functions and internal dynamics of different bodies. The artists were awarded the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship (USA) and ICEBERG (IT). They have shown work at 16ma Quadriennale di Roma (IT), Yermilov Art Centre (UKR), Konstfak Stockholm (SWE), Motherlode Centrale Fies (IT), Passavamo sulla Storia Leggeri (IT), Rural in Action (IT), Bienal del Fin del Mundo (AR), ARTSTAYS (SLO), Hangart (IT), Kunstraum Munich (D), Galleria Artericambi (IT), ar/ge kunst (IT), MAC Lissone (IT), Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale (FL), VIAFARINI (IT), MOMA P.S.1 (NY), Flux Factory (NY), Center for Book Arts (NY), neon>campobase (IT), MEDRAR (EGY), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce (IT), Moscow Biennial for Young Art (RU).

About Sean Dockray & Benjamin Forster: Benjamin Forster and Sean Dockray live in Australia, 876km apart. They have rarely met in person, but they have worked on similar things in similar ways (e.g. a.library, AAAARG.ORG, Frontyard and the Frontyard Library, The Public School). Based on mutual trust rather than any formal notion of collaboration or collectivity, they have been developing /dat library/ together, a peer-to-peer library of libraries that is built on top of the decentralised data-sharing tool called “dat”. Like a library, dat is as much a community as it is a protocol; and as an open source project /dat library/ resists simple attributions of authorship, indebted as it is to this broader community.

About Emily Jacir: Emily Jacir is an artist and filmmaker who is primarily concerned with transformation, questions of translation, resistance and silenced historical narratives. Her work investigates personal and collective movement through public space and its implications on the physical and social experience of trans-Mediterranean space and time. She lives and works around the Mediterranean. Jacir is the recipient of several awards, including a Golden Lion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); a Prince Claus Award (2007); the Hugo Boss Prize (2008); and the Herb Alpert Award (2011). Jacir’s works have been in important group exhibitions internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; dOCUMENTA (13) (2012);  Venice Biennale (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013); 29th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2010); 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006); Sharjah Biennial 7 (2005); Whitney Biennial (2004); and the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003). Jacir’s recent solo exhibitions include Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015); Darat il Funun, Amman (2014-2015); Beirut Art Center (2010); and Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009).

About My Bookcase: Founded in Glasgow in 2014, My Bookcase is a social enterprise that creatively explores the role of the book and its reader in today’s society. My Bookcase focuses on the book as a social tool for the exchange of knowledge – creatively deconstructing and exploring this object through art, architecture, design and literature, as well as with communities beyond these fields. The project’s starting point is an online platform, My Bookcase Platform, where readers open up their personal libraries to share their books in a free and participatory way. The initiative is supported by a network of meeting points – selected spaces in the city encouraging the sharing of books and encounters between readers. The aim of My Bookcase is to empower the reader by offering a creative space to unfold the knowledge gathered through private readings and bring individual knowledge into shared experience to support collective intelligence. My Bookcase was founded in 2014 by artist Cristina Garriga. In 2017, Katie Reid and Julia Doz joined Garriga to expand My Bookcase across the cities of Glasgow, Barcelona and Amsterdam. mybookcase.org

About OOMK: One of My Kind (OOMK) is a highly visual, handcrafted small-press publication. Printed biannually, its content pivots upon the imaginations, creativity and spirituality of women. Each issue centres around a different creative theme, with more general content exploring topics of faith, activism and identity. As well as producing a printed zine, OOMK is present online and hosts regular creative events including DIY Cultures. While OOMK welcomes contributions from women of diverse ethnic and spiritual backgrounds, it is especially keen to be inclusive of Muslim women. Studio OOMK is a design studio run by the editors of OOMK Zine, working with a host of clients, in particular galleries and museums, to host workshops, produce publications and undertake various projects. OOMK is run by Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin and Heiba Lamara. oomk.net

About Publication Studio Glasgow: Publication Studio Glasgow is a collaboration with partners My Bookcase, Good Press Gallery, A Feral Studio and artist Joanna Peace. It is a publishing enterprise founded in 2009 in Portland, Oregon – an international network of sibling studios, with a presence in thirteen cities including New York, London, Rotterdam and now Glasgow. Publication Studio prints and binds books one at a time on-demand, creating original work with artists and writers. It is a laboratory for publication in its fullest sense – not just the production of books, but the production of a public. It is also an open source printing facility housed at CCA. Every few weeks, Publication Studio Glasgow runs inductions to teach people how to use the equipment, who can then book the space to make a small run of their own books. For more information and to book an induction email publicationstudioglasgow@gmail.com

About The Serving Library: The Serving Library is an artist-run non-profit organisation founded in 2011 to develop a shared toolkit for artist-centered education and discourse through related activities of publishing and collecting. It comprises a biannual journal (Bulletins of The Serving Library) published both online and in print, an archive of framed objects on permanent display, and a public programme of workshops and events. The Serving Library currently resides at Exhibition Research Lab, School of Art & Design at Liverpool John Moores University, where the gallery space serves as a satellite seminar room to host occasional classes for university-level art, design and writing students from schools across the world, as well as a regular series of public talks and exhibitions building upon the library’s archival material. servinglibrary.org

About Temporary Services: Temporary Services is Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer, and is based in Ft. Wayne (IN) and Chicago. Salem Collo-Julin worked with Temporary Services from 2001-2014. Temporary Services has existed, with several changes in membership and structure, since 1998, and produces exhibitions, events, projects and publications. Temporary Services started as an experimental exhibition space in a working class neighborhood of Chicago. The name directly reflects the desire to provide art as a service to others. It is a way for us to pay attention to the social context in which art is produced and received. Having “Temporary Services” displayed on the window helped to blend in with the cheap restaurants, dollar stores, currency exchanges and temporary employment agencies on the street. It was not immediately recognisable as an art space. This was partly to stave off the stereotypical role it might have played in the gentrification of the neighborhood. Experiencing art in the places we inhabit on a daily basis remains a critical concern. It helps to move art from a privileged experience to one more directly related to how we live our lives. A variety of people should decide how art is seen and interpreted, rather than continuing to strictly rely on those in power. Temporary Services collaborate amongst themselves and with others, even though this may destabilise how people understand the work. Temporaryservices.org

About Nick Thurston: Nick Thurston (b.1982, UK) is a writer and editor who makes artworks. He is the author or co-author of several books and editor of many more. Recent exhibitions include Reading as Art at Bury Museum & Sculpture Centre, 2016; Reading Matters at Printed Matter, New York, 2016 and Hate Library at Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, 2017. Since 2006, he has been co-editor of publishing collective Information As Material, with whom he was Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2011-12. In 2014, he was Artist in Residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and in 2016 he was Visiting Research Fellow in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He teaches at the University of Leeds.

June 28, 2017

Portobello Prize for non-fiction launches

The inaugural 2017 Portobello Prize celebrates the art of narrative non-fiction and aims to discover and launch a star of the future.

The 2017 #PortobelloPrize – from Portobello Books – is open to any UK citizen or UK-based writer who is unpublished in book form.

Entries can be submitted until midnight 16th October 2017.

The winner will receive a competitive book deal, representation by C+W, and publication by Portobello Books, backed by a dynamic marketing and publicity campaign, with promotional support from legendary independent bookstore, Foyles.

Judging panel:

  • Ben Rawlence (author of City of Thorns)
  • Sharmaine Lovegrove (film & TV scout and literary editor)
  • Sophie Lambert (Literary Agent, C+W)
  • Marion Rankine (book-buyer at Foyles)
  • Laura Barber (Publishing Director, Portobello Books).

More info and how to enter.

Questions: prize@portobellobooks.com

@PortobelloBooks

Info from Portobellobooks.com

June 27, 2017

Love your Libraries? #MakeItCount

The City of Literature Trust is running a library campaign calling library lovers and users all over Edinburgh to get a card, sign up a friend, make the most of what’s on offer, and get vocal about how great libraries are.

On Monday 26 June 2017, the City of Literature Trust’s ‘Make It Count’ Library campaign will kick-off – spanning a four week period that will delve deep into the heart of Edinburgh’s libraries by featuring stories, images and conversations between librarians and writers – ending with the Trust’s pledge to take the words and support received to Edinburgh’s Councillors at the City Chambers.

Inspired by the support and enthusiasm generated by the Libraries Matter campaign run by CILIP in Scotland, the Trust was keen to carry this sentiment forward; to harness the overwhelming support and passion for Edinburgh’s local libraries and channel this into creating a tangible and noticeable drive in numbers across library services.

Edinburgh-based author Ron Butlin told the Trust:

“I find libraries even more important than ever. Being able to browse real shelves rather than merely relying on Google is a much more fruitful way of doing research, and library staff are just about the most knowledgeable people I have ever met. Libraries are the enlightened custodians of our culture…we are so very lucky to have public libraries to keep us in touch with the closest we can come to reasonable truth. Long live libraries!”

So, what are we asking library lovers to do? Just three simple things:

Get a Card – sign-up to their local library and tag #MakeItCount

Get a Book – borrow a book, ebook, CD, or DVD and share it

Get a Friend – tell friends, family and colleagues about the fantastic offers on in local libraries

As this campaign is all about the collective effort of Edinburgh’s library lovers and users, the Trust is also reaching out to organisations in the city – literary or otherwise – to get them involved by asking them to spread the message around colleagues and friends, share images online featuring library cards and library books using #MakeItCount and #LibrariesMatter, as well as starting conversations in day-to-day life about visiting and using libraries.

The campaign will run over a period of four weeks, from the 26 Jun until the 24 July, with the first three weeks being specifically targeted towards generating online engagement and conversation via social media and the campaign page on the Trust’s website: cityofliterature.com/makeitcount, when it goes live. The Trust will work with librarians, library advisors, and writers to promote the importance of Edinburgh’s libraries as not only reading spaces, but places to work, learn, and socialise.

Ali Bowden, Director of the City of Literature Trust, says: “Libraries are the beating heart of our City of Literature. They are a haven for words that inspire and entertain; places of possibility and discovery that foster a love of literature, strengthening the very foundations of our society. We know that in order to keep them open, funded, and operating as the fantastic spaces that they already are, we need to be seen to be using them.”

-ends-

NOTES TO EDITORS

City of Literature Trust
The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is the development agency for Edinburgh as a UNESCO City of Literature. It works to bring literature to the streets of Edinburgh, involving people in the city’s literary life, bringing organisations to work together collaboratively for greater impact, and sharing Edinburgh’s literary story with the world.

cityofliterature.com
@EdinCityofLit

UNESCO City of Literature Designation
In 2004 Edinburgh was designated the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, a permanent title celebrating Edinburgh’s status as a literary capital and pioneer in the UNESCO creative cities network, which now has 116 member cities in seven creative artforms. The concept of a City of Literature was devised in Edinburgh by the Trust’s founding members.

CILIP in Scotland
CILIPS is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. Founded in 1908 (formerly Scottish Library Association), the organisation funds its own office in Glasgow, is registered as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation and  is responsible for all policy, financial and operational matters relating to its internal affairs and for those professional matters solely affecting the operation, development and promotion of library and information services in Scotland.

Libraries Matter
Run by CILIPS in the lead up to the local government elections, the Libraries Matter campaign sought to influence candidates standing in local government elections by calling on those working in libraries to get involved in advocating the benefits they deliver. They asked candidates to pledge that, if elected, they would:

  1. Support public libraries and the vital contribution they make to community cohesion, social and economic wellbeing, digital skills and literacy.
  2. Support professionally staffed school libraries and recognise their value to education and the raising attainment agenda.

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Raeburn, Communications Assistant, City of Literature Trust

rebecca@cityofliterature.com or 07966 847580

cityofliterature.com

@EdinCityofLit

 

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June 26, 2017

LAS letter to seek detail of National School Library Strategy

Following the inaugural meeting of the Scottish School Library Alliance in May 2017, it was agreed that each member would write a letter of support to the Public Petitions’ Committee seeking clarity from Deputy First Minister John Swinney on the detail of the proposed National Strategy for Scotland’s School Libraries. Our letter is posted below.

 

PETITION PE01581: SAVE SCOTLAND’S SCHOOL LIBRARIES

We have previously written on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland to the Public Petitions Committee in support of petition PE01581 (Save Scotland’s School Libraries), and would like to submit our latest response below.

We welcome the positive comments from Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, at the meeting of 20th April 2017, on his intention to formulate a National Strategy for Scotland’s School Libraries.

As Mr Swinney highlighted at this meeting, a professionally staffed school library plays a vital role in the lives of our nation’s young people, making a positive impact on education by improving literacy in all subjects and raising attainment across the curriculum.

Now that the Scottish Government has made this commitment to deliver a National School Library Strategy, we write to seek further clarification from the Deputy First Minister on the timescale for action, including detail on the Strategy’s development and delivery and the organisations to be involved in consultation. Literature Alliance Scotland also fully supports the petitioner’s proposal for National Standards to be established as part of a National Strategy.

Further, we endorse the offer from CILIPS, the Institute representing Scotland’s Library and Information Professionals and one of our members, to be involved with the development of a National Strategy and associated Standards and urge the Deputy First Minister to move forward in creating the Strategy at the earliest possible opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Peggy Hughes, Chair & Donald Smith, Vice-Chair

June 9, 2017

Peggy Hughes appointed as new LAS Chair

The Board of Trustees of Literature Alliance Scotland is delighted to announce Peggy Hughes as its new Chair.

Peggy Hughes. Photo: Chris Scott

The appointment was unanimously approved at our Members’ and Trustees’ meeting on 17 May at University of Stirling where Ms Hughes, who directs Literary Dundee, was welcomed with a round of applause by the membership.

Peggy Hughes, said: ‘I’m truly delighted to be joining Literature Alliance Scotland as chairperson, and really looking forward to building on the work of the inimitable Ann Matheson, and working in concert with wonderful colleagues across our literary community – it’s like getting the chance to conduct a world class orchestra!

“Literature Alliance Scotland plays such a vital and exciting role in uniting writers, publishers, educators, librarians and literature organisations and presenting a strong collective voice for Scotland’s literature.

“It’s a challenging global picture, but literature and stories have a huge part to play in understanding ourselves and in bridging understanding with others, and LAS is central to making those stories and voices travel. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Ms Hughes has a wealth of experience within Scotland’s literature community, working in various roles over the years at StAnza, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City of Literature Trust before joining Literary Dundee, at the University of Dundee, as Director in July 2013 where she produces and delivers the annual Dundee Literary Festival, coordinates the Dundee International Book Prize and a variety of events, publications and projects throughout the year.

She also founded Edinburgh’s Electric Bookshop and co-founded the West Port Book Festival. In addition to her new role leading the LAS Board of Trustees, Ms Hughes is a board member of Craigmillar Literacy Trust and regularly chairs events at literary festivals and panels.

Donald Smith, LAS Vice-Chair, who led the recruitment process for the position, said: “Peggy’s experience, vigour and demonstrable track record makes her the best person with the will, capacity and opportunity to lead LAS for the next two years.”

-Ends-

May 23, 2017

Emergents joins LAS

We’re delighted to announce that Emergents CIC Ltd, which supports the development of writing and publishing in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, has become a Network Associate of LAS.

Emergents works to develop writing and writers with real commercial potential in the contemporary publishing, self-publishing and digital industries, and aims to assist the growth and sustainability of the publishing sector in the region.

Funded by Creative Scotland, HIE and ERDF, Emergents is a key part of HIE’s support strategy for the creative industries in the Highlands and Islands.

Peter Urpeth, Director (Writing & Publishing), will be the company’s representative for LAS and we look forward to welcoming him to the AGM in November 2017.

Follow them on Twitter @emergentwriters and on Facebook

 

April 19, 2017

Indie Authors’ World joins LAS

We’re delighted to welcome Indie Authors’ World, a provider of self-publishing services, training and support, as a new Network Associate member of LAS.

Founders Kim and Sinclair Macleod first created Indie Authors Scotland, which grew and developed into Indie Authors World through the desire to create practical and economical ways for writers to get their books on sale in a supportive and friendly environment.

Over the past four years, the business has helped indie authors from Scotland, UK, Australia, Canada, USA and Germany publish more than 60 books across fiction, non-fiction, biography and poetry.

 

Follow them on Twitter @IndiAuthorWorld or on Facebook.

 

March 17, 2017

2022: Year of Scotland’s Stories

As part of Scottish Tourism Week, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, announced today that 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories.

Scotland’s Stories will be a showcase of the country’s rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.

It will be the first themed year on literature, which our members have been asking for for a long time and we’re delighted that today’s announcement comes with good time to plan for a stand-out year.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.

The full announcement from the Cabinet Secretary is here. VisitScotland’s press release is here.

March 15, 2017

LAS launches Membership Skills’ Survey

LAS is delighted to launch our Members’ Skills Survey, which aims to build a clear picture of our combined expertise and resource.

The results will be used to aid our long-term strategic planning with a view to identifying opportunities for professional development, collaboration and networking within the membership.

To maximise the value of this process we are keen that all Member and Network Associate organisations contribute.

The survey can be found here: http://bit.ly/LASskillsSurvey

The closing date is Friday 3 March 2017 with the analysis ready by the end of March 2017 to share with our membership thereafter.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and, although it does depend on the level of detail you provide, this survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Thank you!

Please contact Jenny Kumar on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk with any questions.

February 20, 2017

Libraries Matter – help spread the word

CILIP in Scotland is running a new campaign – Libraries Matter – in the lead up to the local government election in May – and needs your help! 
 
The campaign focuses on school and public libraries and involves two main activities – contacting those standing for election and asking them to support libraries if elected and also raising the profile of the campaign’s key messages via the press and social media.
To join in with the campaign and spread the word that Libraries Matter you can:
 
1. Share the campaign details and link with any wider networks you have: http://www.cilips.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns/campaigns/libraries-matter/
 
2. Provide a quote for CILIPS’ campaign support page (these can be provided by organisations or by individuals): http://www.cilips.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns/campaigns/libraries-matter/libraries-matter-campaign-support/
 
3. Post a picture of yourself, your staff and/or members of the public you may work with holding a ‘#LibrariesMatter’ sign (download from CILIPS’ website here) and post them on Twitter or Instagram with the #LibrariesMatter hashtag.

Graeme MacRae Burnet at The Mitchell Library. Photo: Kirsty Anderson

 For further information please email Sean McNamara or call 0141 353 5637. Follow the campaign on Twitter @CILIPScotland or via the hashtag #LibrariesMatter
 
February 17, 2017

Notes on International Development Meeting

We hosted a Development Meeting for the International Promotion of Literature & Books on Wednesday 25 January from 12-2pm at Saltire Society, which was a very well attended, lively discussion.  

This follow-up meeting to November’s Literature Summit aimed to discuss the next steps in setting up the international promotion of literature and books. An attendee list is below followed by the notes.

ChairsLAS Vice-Chair, Donald Smith of Tracs
LAS Lead of International & Partnerships Group, Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland
AttendeesAngela Blacklock-Brown, Poet
Ian Brown, Playwright, Poet
Heather Clyne, Moniack Mhor
Avril Gray, Edinburgh Napier University
Graeme Hawley, National Library of Scotland
Peggy Hughes, Literary Dundee
Fiona Hutchison, Interface
Duncan Jones, ASLS
Andrea Joyce, Canongate Books
Asif Khan, Scottish Poetry Library
Carolyn McGill, Scottish Writers' Centre
Judy Moir, The Judy Moir Agency
Jenny Niven, EIBF
Tom Pow, Writer
Mario Relich, Scottish PEN, Poetry Association of Scotland
Alistair Rutherford, WGGB
Jenni Steele, VisitScotland
Gill Swales, Live Borders
Jim Tough, Saltire Society
Kathryn Ross, Fraser Ross, ASLA
Joy Hendry, SLAM
ApologiesDonal McLaughlin, Writer, Translator
Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Associations, ASLA
Julie Ann Thomason

Brief – purpose of meeting and role of LAS

Donald Smith, LAS Vice-Chair opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending and reviewing the consensus of the International Literature Summit, held in November 2016.

The final session of the Literature Summit looked at the Festivals Edinburgh model – remaining independent but with an additional aspect of collaborative development and international engagement. SDI and cultural tourism were very interested and SDI is already actively engaged.

There was consensus to promote the work of Scottish-based writers and publishers on the international stage by coordinating a range of activities to a worldwide audience through a dedicated join venture / partnership front office.

It was put forward that LAS is not the ultimate vehicle to achieve this, its role is to help facilitate the set up – as a midwife or parent.

This collaborative vehicle structure needs to support and assist the advancement of the literature sector as a whole. What are practical next steps to advance this?

It was also agreed that the meeting should focus on where we could go on this issue, not discussing what organisations currently do on the international stage.

Summary of Literature Summit findings

Full notes on the Literature Summit are here and meeting attendees confirmed they were happy that they were an accurate depiction of the day.

Priority activities and how and by whom will they be delivered? (finance and resources)

Discussion was opened to the floor.

Donald Smith: Is there one place that holds what’s happening in literature in Scotland? No, there is a wealth of information and an abundance of confusion. This highlights a basic information function or a gap in provision – no centralized place capturing the breadth of what’s happening in Scotland.

Tom Pow: Don’t we need a name that everyone else can hang on, as there are so many disparate organisations. Organisation is one thing but centralisation is another.

Donald Smith highlighted that the Literature Review suggested a new brand such as Scottish Literature International but there wasn’t much support from the industry and, in the economic climate, funding is an issue for a separate vehicle.

Duncan Jones made the point that Scottish Literature International is already an imprint of ASLS.

Marion Sinclair: Just come from a meeting on what Brexit is going to mean for culture and tourism. Key thing that emerged was Scottish cultural differentiation and how important it will be not just in the short term but also in the next 20 years.

Judy Moir: Have we looked at other countries? We could come up with a model similar to those that exist already.

Marion Sinclair: Wales and Ireland have models. We need a partnership approach of writers, publishers, organisations and public sector agencies, using tourism as leverage, plus the combined intelligence of the organisations. We need to be doing something new, a wider model that gets the public sector and tourism sector involved. Irish Literature Exchange is a reasonable model but doesn’t leverage public and tourism sector.

Jim Tough: It’s important to factor in the feedback from the writers at the support. We need a means through which writers can see opportunities more easily. We need the bits that are outward looking and the other bits that maximise writers’ opportunities to work internationally – a mutual support mechanism.

Donald Smith: Writers exchanges don’t speak to each other – so there are gaps.

Ian Brown: The Literature Summit highlighted that Kathleen Jamie wasn’t aware of the ASLS using her work so the issue precedes promotion abroad, we need to open up better channels of communication within the sector. But people don’t want another bureaucracy. It would be easiest to appoint someone but no one wants that. We need to create a coordinating organisation to capitalise on variety. Should we use something that already exists and take it down a new path?

Jim Tough: Could it be an extension of existing organisations such as Publishing Scotland or Edinburgh Book Festival or an extension of LAS? Extra resource would be needed given that everyone is already working at full capacity.

Tom Pow: What about the Saltire Society?

Jim Tough: Resource is an issue. If the option is to associate with existing organisations we need to look at how best to do it.

Jenni Steele: The heritage model is a good example. We applied to universities to get funding for a research student to help coordinate collaborative opportunities, raise the game and exposure.

Donald Smith: Strategic initiatives like Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 have little coordinated effort from the literature community for YHHA. 2018 is the Year of Young People. There is funding available but we don’t seem to have a way of getting together to take advantage of collaborative working.

Kathryn Ross: Should Scottish Book Trust have that collaborative function?

Graeme Hawley: Thought LAS was the umbrella group that knits everything together. All members should have LAS logo on their website.

Jenni Steele: The Festivals Edinburgh model – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts – is a good one. It’s not an exact match as it’s an external marketing tool – but it’s something to look at.

Joy Hendry: What about an amalgam of Scottish Book Trust, Publishing Scotland and Scottish Writers’ Centre – working together could form the focus.

Duncan Jones: There is a danger of being too focused on arts and cultural funding and bodies. Publishing is a major industry. Books are exports – Scottish Enterprise or Department of Trade & Industry could get involved. The availability of books is issue such as the problem with Alasdair Gray’s Lanark distribution, The House With the Green Shutters being out of print, and Sunset Song  has no US publisher. It needs a lot of money to help export Scottish products – millions of pounds, not thousands.

Marion Sinclair: The real question is the vehicle. LAS would need dedicated staff, maybe 3-4 years in future. At this point do we have the appetite? As no one wants to see a new organisation formed and has buy in. Could we develop LAS as that mechanism?

Jenny Niven: No funds for a new body. The options are LAS or a joint venture with a more powerful body to bring in the partnerships.

Duncan Jones: Could we possibly have secondments to LAS to take it forward – a joint venture under LAS?

Jenny Niven: Experimental approach would need clear values and goals.

Marion Sinclair: We need continuity. Do we think it’s a serious activity – to start building capacity for the future. Is it an important thing for writers, publishers and the economics of it?

Mario Relich: Is it something the LAS steering group could do?

Donald Smith: LAS is an instrument that allows us to take the first steps. It gives a collaborative structure with purpose and status. With the potential and challenge of the task, LAS isn’t the right vehicle or the longer-term home for this. It needs a serious vehicle – not just for information, but promotion – that can bring together key and large organisations to bang heads on joint initiatives and action and engagement with public sector. We want a body that can shift things in a new world.

Jenny Niven: It needs to be able to talk in the metrics that other organisations use.

Donald Smith: Some questions – is the focus on writers, publishers and translation, international promotion? Higher education – there is a huge international engagement with investment from literature. Is the cultural tourism aspect separate? Every area of Scotland has an important literary heritage. Is that the same business?

Jenni Steele: It’s not the same purpose, but is definitely connected, for example the link with ASLS on the literature guide to Scotland. There are lots of opportunities in Scotland and the UK before international.

Donald Smith: It’s a strategic information and promotion hub that could feed into VisitScotland and tourism programmes. It’s not a question of creating something that’s a mass marketing vehicle. If we set up a joint venture, we need to decide on the audience – world of tourists or festivals, libraries, literary umbrellas? Is this one instrument?

Ian Brown: It starts from LAS. ASLS works in the US who are asking for books but can’t get them. How do we make individual work coordinate – information, steering, co-ordination role? There’s a gap in knowledge so people can’t take advantage of opportunities. E.g. University degrees in Scottish Literature in India.

Jenny Niven: LAS need to sort the mechanism of coordinating communication – people don’t know about it.

Joy Hendry: LAS could produce a monthly newsletter for organisations to feed in and share knowledge.

Marion Sinclair: Do we want to do it at LAS?

Graeme Hawley: From this discussion, there seem to be four possible models

  1. LAS performs a cradle to grave function for international promotion of Scottish literature, including export strategy, coordinating literary tourism and so on.
  2. LAS is the literary partner liaising with other bodies such as Scottish Enterprise, HIE, VisitScotland and so on
  3. A new body is established to perform the function of promoting Scottish literature internationally
  4. Status quo, with no obvious umbrella lead, but with some LAS members individually addressing the topic

Jenny Niven / Marion Sinclair suggested a fifth option along the lines of a new body formed with people being seconded from LAS bodies.

Marion Sinclair: The Publishing Scotland part is key as books have to move, translation is important and we mustn’t lose sight of commerce and publishing matters.

Donald Smith: It needs a specific vehicle of which LAS is the parent with a defined role, strategy and funding activities.

Jim Tough: What does it do first? Internal audience, cultural, British Council, external international – 2/3 key things? Two-year project funded then take stock and review success & mechanism? Leadership is important – LAS as catalyst but for commerce and negotiations, leaning to Publishing Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, and Edinburgh Book Fest for right positioning as LAS is not in the correct strategic location to have that impact.

Donald Smith: There seem to be four key areas for the new vehicle

  • Strategy
  • Information
  • Promotion
  • Intervention

Tom Pow: Domestic and international are two separate issues. Will it displace what LAS does?

Donald Smith: It’s too early for LAS and this new vehicle doesn’t have the same purpose.

Marion Sinclair: LAS is not the vehicle but will have oversight. LAS is a democratic body.

Donald Smith: If we know what we want to achieve, what are the steps to get there? We need a clear sense of areas that need strengthening. Agree LAS to be vehicle to get this started and, if agreed, the first stage is to decide on a steering group to hammer out the four key areas.

Ian Brown: Agree that LAS is the parent to oversee and see it through.

Ali Rutherford: We need to go out and find the expertise to deliver the brief hammered out from steering group to solve this first. Identify first.

Judy Moir: It’s really frustrating. Ireland and Wales have done international from the start. Can’t understand why we can’t just get it going.

Donald Smith: The Literature Review recommended a new organisation and it was noted at end of the Literature Summit that we shouldn’t give up on it.

Jenny Niven: To provide a window on Creative Scotland’s international strategy, there are distinct advantages of Scottish cultural, but it’s also sitting in a difficult financial climate. Example of a collaborative mechanism – Muriel Spark centenary – more meaningful if collective approach of organisations who are doing things to celebrate the centenary work together to change perception, such as University of Glasgow, National Library, BBC. Creative Scotland and National Library of Scotland are jointly funding a co-ordinator post that will support the work of a number of organisations. It’s an experiment as a model, which might be a possibility for the international promotion. We need to be willing to take a leap. It might be an interim option?

Donald Smith: The outcome of that progress needs to demonstrate value to get more funding longer term.

Tom Pow: Who is the go-to person with expertise of coordination, for example Festivals Edinburgh?

Donald Smith: Festivals Edinburgh has staff of nine but it took time. Started with relevant people sinking collective funds to make collaborative impact. We need to create something for the medium to long term. We’re going through very long term adjustments. So now is the time to make a real shift, which comes back to the seriousness of the task.

Marion Sinclair: We’ve agreed that we want to have a service with a working group coming up with the nuts and bolts and the priorities of the service – writers, publishers, literary organisations, public sector, tourism and industry.

Jenny Niven: Also exchange and festivals, programming.

Fiona Hutchison: There are parallels with the Scottish food and drink sector. Find out how they do it and see if that model would work for us. Scottish Enterprise and HIE works slightly differently so have them involved only once we know what we’re doing.

Donald Smith: Scottish Enterprise’s structure is undergoing change.

Gill Swales: Wanted to highlight all the promotional work from libraries & live literature sessions. There is lots of work going on through the Literature strategy in the Borders.

Donald Smith: Libraries are really important.

Setting up a Working group

Donald Smith suggested the essential sectors to be represented on the group are

  • Writers
  • Publishing / industry
  • Festivals & programming
  • Higher education
  • Cultural tourism
  • Public sector – Creative Scotland, SDI, VisitScotland, British Council, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government on policy

Funding is available – check with Creative Scotland and strategic partners.

Donald Smith: Literature is not successful getting maximum benefit from support of enterprise network. Literature is being under exploited.

Judy Moir: BOSLIT is a useful online resource from National Library to check who is published in which languages, but it’s hard to get access – be good to look at doing it again.

Mario Relich: Tom Hubbard was the main instigator of BOSLIT – worth getting in touch with him about it.

Asif Khan: Jackie Kay recently commissioned by VisitScotland. We need to focus on metrics – how to measure success of the work?

Jenni Steele: Look at how different organisations can promote literature and give other organisations content e.g. Outlander

Donald Smith: The level of cooperation between Government agencies is definitely increasing.

Jenny Niven: It’s important to find the right channel, language, metric and value (intrinsic cultural value). If we don’t have the expertise already, let’s find it.

Donald Smith: Higher education research is dependent on demonstrating an impact – to quantify how wonderful the literature sector is!

Marion Sinclair: It’s great that we have a huge amount of consensus. We need to keep that level of ambition, not just literature talking to ourselves, start leveraging intelligence from the industry etc.

Next steps

  • A five person group should draw up strategy, information, promotion and intervention key actions
  • It is the remit of LAS’ international working group to invite the right five people in key organisations to sit on the group
  • LAS will parent the group, which can invite others to offer their expertise
  • The group needs to advance quickly and should be established by February 2017.
January 31, 2017

LAS seeks new Chair

LAS seeks to appoint a new Chair in early 2017 and welcomes expressions of interest from potential candidates. A description of the position and the candidate qualities sought is attached below. The person appointed will have a sound knowledge of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level, familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management and knowledge of the principles of corporate governance.

The Chair serves for a term of three years, which is renewable for a further term of three years.

As Literature Alliance Scotland is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), the position is unremunerated but expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out the duties of Chair will be met.

How to Apply
If you are interested in putting your name forward for this position, please send a CV and covering letter by email to Dr Donald Smith, Vice-Chair on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk by 31 January 2017.

Key Responsibilities

  • Advance the interests of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level.
  • Fulfil a strong ambassadorial role for Scottish literature and languages in consultation with members of Literature Alliance Scotland.
  • Provide leadership to the Board of Trustees and Members of Literature Alliance Scotland and ensure that Trustees and Members fulfil their duties and responsibilities as a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

Main Duties

  • Provide leadership to the Board of Trustees and Members in setting the future strategy for Literature Alliance Scotland.
  • Ensure that the values and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland are regularly reviewed.
  • Chair Board and Member meetings and oversee an effective administration.
  • Represent Literature Alliance Scotland and promote the organisation to government, local authorities, external partners, stakeholders and funders.

Candidate Qualities

Knowledge

  • A sound knowledge of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level
  • Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management
  • Knowledge of the principles of corporate governance

Experience

  • Active involvement with Scottish literature and languages in one or more fields
  • Acquaintance with leadership and management within the public sector
  • Familiarity with working collectively and in partnership

Skills

  • Strategic thinking and problem solving
  • Strong ambassadorial skills
  • Sound independent thinker and ability to think creatively
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Managing finance and accounts
  • Excellent spoken and written communications skills

Personal Qualities

  • Strong commitment to the values and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland

Other Factors

  • Convenient access to Edinburgh is desirable since most (but not all) meetings are held there.
January 10, 2017

Development meeting for overseas literature promotion set for January 2017

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LAS is set to hold a development meeting in January 2017 as part of the next steps agreed with delegates at their International Literature Summit in November 2016.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 25 January 2017 from 12-2pm at the Saltire Society in Edinburgh and welcomes individuals and organisations with a remit in the international promotion of Scotland’s literature, languages & books.

Following consensus at the International Literature Summit for a joint service between organisations for overseas promotion, the meeting aims to work out the detail with a practical, pragmatic and focused universal approach.

Please register here

Summary notes on the Literature Summit can be read here.

December 15, 2016