A unique exhibition, exploring ten personal experiences of Holyrood during the first ten years of devolution, will open at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, as events marking a decade of devolution come to an end.
Holyrood’s Moving Stories exhibition has travelled across Scotland to venues including the Oban Ferry Terminal, the Orkney Library and Archive, and the Scottish Mining Museum at Newtongrange. It combines photography and audio-visual material of 10 people who have interacted with the Scottish Parliament since its establishment in 1999.
The exhibition will be open to the public at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh from Friday 4 December to Wednesday 16 December.
Following this, the exhibition moves to its tenth and final venue, Stranraer Library, Stranraer from Saturday 19 December to Saturday 16 January 2010.
Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “Collectively, these experiences are excellent illustrations of the different ways that people have engaged with the Parliament and its Members. Individually, they help us to see what the Parliament means to different people, and what motivates people to interact with us.
"During 2009, the exhibition has travelled the length and breadth of Scotland giving people the opportunity to see the many ways in which they can become involved with their Parliament. It now arrives at Holyrood, as the Parliament’s activities to mark a decade of devolution begin to draw to a close.”
Speaking of the year, the Presiding Officer said: “For me, one of the great successes of the Parliament’s first ten years has been its record of seeking to engage with the people of Scotland.
"Yet no matter how much we have achieved in that regard, we cannot ever afford to rest on our laurels. That is why we have used our tenth anniversary as a platform to take forward a series of new initiatives aimed at further strengthening our public engagement work.”
Activities undertaken during the year include:
- Canongate Wall competition – engravings to be revealed later this month.
- Community Partnerships – a groundbreaking range of new partnerships aimed at working with three specific groups who are under-represented in parliamentary engagement: disabled people, people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and hard-to-reach young people.
- Winnie Ewing portrait, by the late artist David Donaldson – loaned to Scottish Parliament in recognition that Mrs Ewing was the eldest MSP elected in 1999 and as such, took the chair of the Presiding Officer until a Presiding Officer was elected.
- Tartan Competition to design the first official Scottish Parliament tartan – run with textiles students in Scotland, and won by Teri Scott, a textiles student from Heriot-Watt University in Galashiels. The tartan, inspired by the ‘Year of Homecoming’, was woven by Perth-based kiltmakers and weavers Macnaughton Holdings Limited.
- 1 July – Scottish Parliament held a formal ceremony and children’s party where 143 of 163 children born on 1 July 1999 attended on the day.
- Largest Festival of Politics to date running over 5 days.
- Holyrood launched free tours and welcomed its 2-millionth visitor on 10 November.
- Understanding and Influencing Your Parliament conference on 21 November – bringing together grassroots organisations to find out more about how they can raise their profile at Holyrood.
- St Andrew’s Day Debate and the Burnsong Live Gig hosted on 30 November.
The 10 people featured in the Moving Stories exhibition are:
- Rebecca Brown, Central Scotland, carried out a work placement at her local MSP constituency office. “The realisation that politics is everything. You don’t really have an option…you really should be involved, it’s going to affect you anyway.”
- Amal Azzudin, Glasgow, campaigned against the practice of dawn raids on failed asylum seekers. “What the campaign has achieved more than anything is raising awareness…that was all we could do.”
- John Muir, West of Scotland, submitted a petition on tackling knife crime following the death of his son. “I think that the public in Greenock and surrounding areas did recognise that the situation that Damian found himself in could have been their son or their daughter…something’s got to change.”
- John Macleod (pictured), Lothian, lodged two petitions on Gaelic matters and is heavily involved in Gaelic cultural matters in Edinburgh. “What was behind the campaign was the need for special status for the language to enable sustainable developments for the future.”
- Bob Reid, South of Scotland, submitted a petition to establish Off-Road Motorbike Facilities. “I am a great believer that there is a key to every young person, no matter what their problems are… give them a new challenge, something they can relate to, something they can belong to.”
- Tina McGeever, Highlands and Islands, submitted an e petition on ability to access cancer drugs on NHS. “We decided that we were going to start a campaign, although the word campaign didn’t really come into it at the time. Michael wrote a letter and I fired it off to everyone on my email and asked them to send it to their MSPs, so that was the start.”
- Reverend Iain MacDonald, Highlands and Islands, led Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament. “People here are thoroughly engaged with community, with social justice issues. A real community is defined by how it looks after its most needy.”
- Gemma Mackintosh, Highlands and Islands, campaigns for improved support for those living in Scotland with a visual impairment. “I am one of the examples of many people with additional needs who has been failed by the education system. I want to change the system and how they deal with children with visual impairments.”
- Walter Baxter, North East Scotland, organised a petition objecting to the merging of specialist care units for people suffering a brain haemorrhage. “Having a brain injury is a very difficult scenario to go through, not only for yourself, but for the people who are looking after you. There is very little aftercare for people with brain injuries.”
- Claire Ewing, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament. “Politics is everywhere and everything but young people don’t see that… if you want it then you’ll fight for it…you need to believe in yourself and believe in what you’re doing.”