Aberdeen to host Holyrood's 'Moving Stories'


A local campaigner from Aberdeen will feature in a unique art exhibition illustrating 10 personal experiences of the Scottish Parliament when it opens in Aberdeen on Friday.

The travelling exhibition will be open to the public at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum from Friday 11 September to Sunday 4 October and will feature Walter Baxter, who organised a petition objecting to the merging of specialist care for people suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Holyrood’s ‘Moving Stories’ exhibition started its journey around Scotland in Glasgow in April, and combines photography and audio-visual material of 10 men and women who have interacted with the Scottish Parliament since its establishment in 1999.

Each of the stories is set in its own polling booth – with feedback being entered by placing comments in a mock ballot box.

The exhibition also features Gemma Mackintosh from Inverness, who campaigns for improved support for those living in Scotland with a visual impairment.

Speaking at the launch of the exhibition, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: "The ‘Moving Stories’ travelling exhibition is an integral part of the programme of engagement-focussed activities that the Scottish Parliament is undertaking to mark its tenth anniversary.

"The collective experiences of those featured in ‘Moving Stories’ illustrate the many different ways in which people have engaged with the Parliament and its Members.

"Individually, their stories help us to see what the Parliament means to different people, and what motivates people to interact with us.

"During 2009, the exhibition will travel the length and breadth of Scotland giving people the opportunity to see the many ways in which they can become involved with their Parliament.”

The 10 people featured in the 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, 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 (pictured above), 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.”

The photography in the exhibition is by the Scottish Parliament’s official photographers Adam Elder and Andy Cowan and the interviews were carried out by freelance oral historian Catherine O’Byrne. The exhibition will be remaining in Aberdeen until Sunday 4 October, before continuing on its journey through various locations throughout Scotland.

‘Moving Stories’ exhibition will also visit:

  • New Lanark Museum Trust; Saturday 10 October – Tuesday 27 October
  • Scottish Mining Museum, Newtongrange; Tuesday 3 November – Thursday 19 November
  • Scottish Parliament, Main Hall, Holyrood; Friday 4 December – Wednesday 16 December
  • Stranraer Library, Stranraer; Saturday 19 December – Saturday 16 January 2010.
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