BEMIS Scotland in collaboration with the Scottish Government is delighted to announce the commencement of a programme which invites multicultural communities across Scotland to join the celebration of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and Scottish Winter Festivals 2017/18.
The programme, which is being supported by a £64,680 funding contribution from the Scottish Government, builds on the success of earlier themed year programs led by BEMIS Scotland in 2014, 2015, 2016/17 and esteems to practically enable Scotland’s ethnic and cultural minority communities to participate in and enhance the dynamic celebrations which are taking place across Scotland.
Between 2014 and January 2017 over 33,000 people attended 165 local community and 10 national events which have taken place across Scotland. From Glasgow to Inverness and Helmsdale to Slammanan.
Scotland’s social, economic and cultural vibrancy is enhanced by our diverse ethnic and cultural minority communities who now call Scotland ‘home’. Our mosaic of communities has had an immeasurably positive impact on Scotland’s physical and cultural infrastructure.
BEMIS Scotland and the Scottish Government share an objective and commitment to facilitate, celebrate and enhance Scotland’s inclusive national identity predicated on acknowledging that the diverse cultural characteristics of Scotland’s minority communities combine to represent a dynamic, progressive, vibrant and engaging national narrative.
As in previous years, the bulk of programme funding in 2017/18 will support a small grants scheme which will be split into two components: £30,000 is being allocated to celebrate the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and £20,000 to celebrate Scotland’s Winter Festivals, focusing on the seminal dates of St. Andrew’s Day (30th November 2017) and Burns Day (25th January 2018).
In addition to the small-grant-funded events, BEMIS will commission and develop a bespoke short documentary film celebrating Scotland’s diverse communities within the context of the themed year.
Furthermore, BEMIS will work to collaborate with key partners to facilitate national events which celebrate the 2017/18 YHHA and Scotland’s Winter Festivals. In previous years partners have included Celtic Connections, GRAMNet, Food and Drink Scotland, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland and Solas Music Festival.
The BEMIS programme has reflected a comprehensive approach to celebrating the diversity of modern Scotland with over 20 self-identified ethnic, cultural and religious minorities having participated across all facets of the themed years.
This approach and momentum will be maintained in 2017. Our programme design is embedded within communities and their intangible cultural heritage, representing a pro-active response to the Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-30 which esteems to build a Scotland that is inclusive, dynamic, responsive and culturally confident.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
The Scottish Government is providing BEMIS Scotland with £64,680 to support a programme which encourages Scotland’s multi-cultural communities to develop their own events and activities to celebrate the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the 2017/18 Winter Festivals.
There is no better time for our diverse communities to celebrate all that Scotland means to them as their home and our country’s unique cultural diversity by taking part in the many national and local events happening across Scotland in 2017/18; most of which are free and family friendly and where everyone can expect a very warm welcome.
Ms Micheline Brannan, Convenor of BEMIS Scotland, emphasised this pledge:
BEMIS Scotland welcome the continued commitment of the Scottish Government to progressing our shared objective to utilise the intangible cultural characteristics of Scotland to enhance and foster our shared, living, dynamic and diverse yet inclusive national identity. Under the auspices of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and Scottish Winter Festivals period, we are committed to maintaining our engagement with the diverse communities of Scotland increasing and progressing their active participation.
Scotland with its strong progressive equality agenda, institutional support, political will, a vibrant and active third sector, and its diverse cultural and ethnic communities is a country receptive to change, innovation and progress and to being our HOME.
In addition, Rami Ousta, CEO of BEMIS Scotland, explained that:
It is recognised that Citizens’ active participation in selecting, interpreting and celebrating a shared cultural heritage is a first step toward social inclusion and change.
Thus, BEMIS continues to be pro-active in enhancing and advancing a more participatory democratic approach to heritage that can pave the way for equal citizenship and social justice.
Our partnership with the Scottish Government reflects a shared commitment to showcasing our diverse communities and inclusive national identity in Scotland.
Again, we look forward to working closely with key stakeholders and our diverse communities in the year ahead to progress this shared human aspiration and to foster our sense of Scotland as home, safe, inclusive, confident and culturally intelligent.
More information on the fund and how to apply is available on our website at bemis.org.uk/project/yhha/