A think piece by SURF Chair, Kate Wimpress, in the Scotsman on Wednesday 2nd August.

In the midst of post-war rationing, 1947 saw the Edinburgh International Festival set up; ‘a platform for the flowering of the human spirit’. Unbeknownst to the good city fathers of the time, the Festival and the gate-crashing ‘Fringe’ would become the city’s lasting global USP, boosting the local economy by around £280 million a year.

In Scotland we have incredible examples of cultural regeneration; from Patrick Geddes considering ‘the situation, inherent virtue, and potential in a given site’ and advocating in 1917 for ‘opportunities without distinction of class, rank or sex’ to the Stove Network’s reinvigorating of Dumfries today, via David Harding, to touch on a few. Reflecting on being Glenrothes Town Artist 1968-78 David said: “The idea came from the Chief Architect and Planning Officer of the town. They simply believed that it was a natural thing that an artist should work with the architects and other professions in creating a new town’.

I propose David’s statement gets to the nub; regardless of the prevailing economic climate, artists must be working as part of a multi-disciplinary teams; in the making of a new place, or remaking of old. And we need to restate Scotland’s ground breaking history of doing just that. Upholding one of Scotland’s Regeneration Forum’s key regeneration pillars – ‘root it in the particular identity, culture, assets and connections of people and places’ – Scotland can once again be a leading light.

Read the full article HERE

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