_ Culture vultures circle over new Scottish parliament

WITH THE COUNTDOWN to the Scottish parliament underway, five Cultural bodies have jorntly launched a campaign to keep artistic concerns in the spotlight.

The Scottish Arts COtlnCIl, Scottish Screen, the Scottish Library ASSOCIathH, the Scottish Museums CounCII and the Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) have joined forces to produce and promote a report entitled Creat’ve Scotland w an exhortation to fledgling MSPs to recognise the contribution of the arts to modern life The coalition proposes the creation of a Ministry of Cultural Affairs

Keith Geddes of COSLA believes the assembly owes a huge debt to the creative community. 'The parliament might not even exrst if not for the Cultural revrval that’s taken place in Scotland over the past decade,’ he told The List. 'That’s what's produced such a dynamic attitude in the c0untry. We're looking forward this isn't about a tartan Scotland

The ,rw_,-posal seems a ptsrtrve step, but there-.- are potential drawbacks \.\’:EE ministry he subject to

pciititai irittt-r'fc'r'er'ice7 Might (ilSSCllilllU

""rvet ted

the .,

’Strength in cultural diversity': Seona Reid, director of the Scottish Arts Council

vorces be marginalised by a co- ordinated strategy7 Do artists actually seek government approval?

SAC director Seona Reid was confident that these pitfalls could be avOided ’It’s only right that the government should become involved

in the nation’s cultural life,' she said. 'That's often the best way for politicians to understand the concerns and aspirations of the people they represent.’

Reid also stressed that the initative isn’t simply designed to put bums on

seats or encourage punters to visit museums. 'Culture is a very broad term, but it does touch so many aspects of our lives. It's often how we define our quality of Iife,’ she argued. ’There’s a tremendous regeneraton going on in the Highlands at the moment, and that's not just because of economic factors. It's because a vibrant cultural atmosphere has made the Highlands somewhere people want to live.

'I think that's true of the country as a whole. We’ve found strength in cultural diversity.’

Gone are the dark days of the 805 when schools were told to concentrate on scientific subjects and artists were considered second-class citizens. 'I think we're starting to realise the importance of creativity,’ Reid said. ’A creative attitude is vital not simply in terms of becoming a writer or artist, but because it equips people to cope with the demands placed upon them by an evolving world. A creative country can adapt quickly to changing circumstances. That’s why we need this strategy and why culture needs to be a subject for serious debate,’ she concluded. (Rob Fraser)

Safety still a priority as Hogmanaypasses issued

On the road: street performers at the 1997/98 Virgin and McEwan's Street Party

r 3'33 AZ. BOOKli‘lfj l3 no.7 open for l‘m‘fli" divination attt-ss {or the Virgin and l.l<t2i.':ari's Slim-t Party, the

(entreprete of Edzrihui'j'ti's Hogrnanay (i'ii'lilrill’)l‘.8 Like last year, the passes wristbands only those wearing tlir-m '.‘.'lii be admitted to the party arena, which covers the same city— tt-ntre streets as last year

A. 'iuota system will ensure lair distribution of the 180,000 passes,

‘.'.’lii he

with local residents given priority

As well as resrdents, businesses, pubs, clubs and restaurants situated within the event arena are among the quota groups The largest share is for members of the putt-lit, who can apply for a total of four passes each The system operates on a first-corne-frrst- served basis, and demand rs sure to be high. 'I would urge potential party- goers to book early and avord

disappomtment,’ said Andy Downre, director of finance at Lothian & Edinburgh Enterprise Ltd (LEEL).

The City of Edinburgh CounCrl introduced the pass system last year as a response to the safety problems of the year before, when 350 peOple were injured. ’We are repeating the practical measures wrth some minor adjustments to ensure that the 1998/99 party is as safe and enjoyable as possible,' said Councillor Keith Geddes, leader of the CounCil. ’Safety remains paramount and measures include the need for people to have party passes to enter an enclosed event arena in the crty centre'

Passes for residents Within the arena Will be sent out from the beginning of October. Other applicants are rnvrted to request tickets by post

At the time of gorng to press, details of the entertarnrnent and artists appearing during the four-day festival had not been announced, but organisers Unique Events promise 'a glittering array Of entertainment and events'. Watch The List for details. (Kirsty Knaggs) are The Hogmanay Fest/val runs Tue 29 Dee-Fri 7 Jan. Most events are free, though some are ticketed. To apply for free passes for the street party on 37 Dec, send an A4 stamped, addressed envelope to PO. Box I, 7999, Edinburgh EH7 iXA. Further details are given on the information line: 0900 788 7998 (50p/min). A general enquiry Irne opens on Mon 28 Sep on 0731473 7999.

Glaswegians inspired to read better

IN THE WEEK when education secretary David Blunkett announced a national literacy drive, to be promoted via television soaps, Glasgow has launched a festival designed to encourage reading, particularly in children.

A two-week programme of events, Inspiration From Word was set up in association with Read Me 1998 National Year Of Reading.

The festival begins on 26 October. comprising music, drama, dance, poetry, puppets and workshops, all inspired by the written word. Involved arts organisations and writers include Edwin Morgan, Roger McGough and Janet Paisley, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and The Really Useful Company.

A recent Government repOrt revealed over 25% of adults to be functionally illiterate. Glasgow City Council's Arts Development Officer Eona Craig is confident that Inspiration From Word Will have a positive effect: 'It’s an unusual way to celebrate the role that words play in our lives, and to cast a new light on older works. I think it will encourage children to ask questions about words,’ she said. (Kirsty Knaggs) n Inspiration From Word runs 26 Oct— 7 Nov. Information; 0741 287 5522.

24 Sep—8 Oct 1998 THE U8T19