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Seeking Culture in Orkney: MSPs Visit the Islands

A group of Scottish Parliamentarians will be in Orkney on Monday 19th of June to see for themselves what the islands have to offer in the way of culture.

The MSPs who sit on the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee will visit several cultural sites and meet with those involved.

No visit to Orkney could be without a tour of the internationally famous UNESCO World Heritage site: The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, which the MSPs will see on Sunday 18th.

head and shoulders image of Clare Adamson

Committee Convener Clare Adamson MSP said: 

“Culture is a vital part of any community, from local arts hubs to community choirs, all these activities can make a difference to where we live and work.

“During our inquiry we have already heard about the work being done around the country and some of the challenges being faced. And our visit will allow us to hear direct from those in Orkney who are involved in bringing culture projects to life.

“Scotland is a rich cultural nation, and this is so clearly demonstrated in the diverse work taking place in Orkney and we are looking forward to seeing how the local community works to ensure that there is a vibrant cultural landscape.”

The politicians are keen to find out if communities need more support in nurturing culture in their particular locations.

The term ‘Culture’ is a very wide one encompassing many different facets including: language, people, and place. It’s not just about buildings (or the remains of structures). It can include ideas like: ‘What kind of society do we aspire to live in? What ideals do we wish to uphold ? It requires us to know our Past in order to understand the Present we are in.

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

The Committee is currently looking at culture in communities. The inquiry is looking at what is happening in local communities. What works well? And what barriers are there to putting on or taking part in cultural activities? 

Through its inquiry, the Committee wants to understand— 

  • How do national and local layers of government, along with the third sector, complement each other to ensure that communities have opportunities to take part in cultural activities?
  • How is unmet cultural need determined? And who decides this?
  • What does good ‘place-based’ cultural policy look like in practice?
three of the giant stones at Stenness
Standing Stones of Stenness

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