Photography exhibition discovering the spirit of Scotland in Canada opens at Holyrood

03/11/2009

A photography exhibition which explores the connections between Canada and Scotland through people and places will open to the public at Holyrood from today until Monday 30 November.

The Homecoming Scotland exhibition entitled ‘This Is Who We Are’ was created by Graeme Murdoch and Harry McGrath of Cultural Connect Scotland.

The two men travelled across Canada from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, visiting communities which derive their names from Scottish sources and helping people they met tell the stories of their own communities and their connection to Scotland through digital photography, video interviews and text.

Speaking ahead of the opening, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “‘This Is Who We Are’ is an innovative project that uses the power of photography to emphasise the strong connections between the peoples of Scotland and Canada.

"The stories behind the photographs teach us more about our links to Canada and help us to celebrate our common heritage. Around 1,000 places in Canada have names derived from Scottish sources and 4.7 million Canadians identified themselves as Scots-Canadian in the last census.

"This exhibition is a wonderfully fitting way for the Scottish Parliament to bring to a close its programme of activities and events marking Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.”

Speaking for Cultural Connect Scotland, Creative Director Graeme Murdoch and Chairman Harry McGrath said: “So many good ideas start with a list and we took the theme of places in Scotland and Canada that share the same name.

"The project demonstrates the strong influence of Scots who left Scotland and moved abroad, how they connect with Scotland now, and how they envisage this connection developing in the future. This makes a compelling statement of who we are, wherever we are.”

The exhibition strengthens the links between towns and cities with Scottish origins. This is additional to video interviews that have been carried out with participants exploring their Scottish heritage and knowledge of contemporary Scotland.

Canadian places, originally named after locations in Scotland, which are featured in the exhibition include:

  • Edinburgh
  • New Glasgow
  • Inverness
  • Iona
  • Lismore
  • Rothesay
  • Perth
  • Lanark
  • Hamilton
  • Irvine
  • Aberdeen
  • Selkirk
  • Calgary (named after Calgary Bay in Mull)
  • Airdrie
  • Banff
  • Canmore
  • Coldstream
  • Abbotsford
  • Fintry
  • Cragallachie.

The exhibition at the Scottish Parliament is supported by the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government.

Background information
Graeme Murdoch is a former artistic director of several national newspapers. Harry McGrath is former coordinator of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Further events at the Scottish Parliament

Exhibition Tour
Friday 6 November, 13.00-13.45, Main Hall

Graeme Murdoch and Harry McGrath will deliver an exhibition tour of the ‘This Is Who We Are’ exhibition. Hear the stories behind the photographs of communities across Canada and their connections with Scotland today.

The Scottish Diaspora Today
Thursday 26 November, 17.30-18.30, Committee Room 1

Join Harry McGrath along with Cairns Craig, Glucksman Professor of Irish and Scottish Studies and director of AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at Aberdeen University, and Henry McLeish former First Minister, and Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, the joint-authors of ‘Global Scots’ and ‘Wherever the Saltire Flies.’

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