Katharine Gemmell explores cultural movement Fair Saturday’s rst foray into the Scottish arts scene

A n arts and culture mobilisation movement born in Spain’s Basque Country is coming to Scotland for the i rst time on Saturday 1 December. The pilot initiative, named St Andrews Fair Saturday, coincides with St Andrew’s Day and is to be part of the country’s wider celebrations.

The original Fair Saturday was i rst launched in the city of Bilbao in 2015 by Jordi Albareda and Saioa Eibar, as a way to encourage cultural mobilisation that had a social impact at its heart. The initiative consists of a number of artistic and cultural events occurring around participating cities on the same day, all of which are open and inclusive to all, and support a social project. Distinctly, the project is held on the Saturday following Black Friday, as a way to counteract the negative effects of consumerism related to this day. Furthermore, Fair Saturday’s fundamental principles lie on two pillars culture and empathy which the organisers believe can build a better world. The Scottish Government noticed this unique endeavour and decided to introduce the concept nationwide on Scotland’s National Day in partnership with BEMIS Scotland. When the partnership was i rst announced in March 2018 at Edinburgh Castle, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was ‘absolutely in tune with what we are about in the country here in Scotland.’ She also commented that it was a ‘privilege’ to be able to celebrate it. Launch events are already coni rmed to take place in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and

16 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019 16 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019

Inverness and anyone organisations and individuals can take part by organising a cultural event or getting involved at a local event. The project’s aim is to connect communities, widen engagement and social inclusion and showcase Scotland’s commitment to equality on the world stage. By holding it on Scotland’s national day, it’s hoped it will boost the proi le of St Andrew’s Day, which is largely under-celebrated.

Highlights of St Andrew’s Fair Saturday launch events include Dunedin Consort performing their Golden Age choral concert (Fri 30 Nov) in Edinburgh; a Diwali Multicultural Celebration (Sat 1 Dec) up in Inverness; and a celebration for International Day of Disabled People called All Together Now with Do Your Thing! (Sat 1 Dec) in Dundee. Other interesting events include a collaboration between Bilbao Choral Society and the Nevis Ensemble (Wed 27 Nov) in Edinburgh and an Open Archive event looking at the tradition of Girls’ Annuals (Sat 1 Dec) at Glasgow Women’s Library. Fair Saturday ofi cially takes place in Scotland, Bilbao, Bristol, Huelva, Lima, Málaga, Mesagne, Milan, Pisa and Santander. However, it will also take place in other cities around the world in an unofi cial capacity due to the event’s open and participatory culture.

For the full programme of events, go to


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COMIC-CON SCOTLAND Comic Convention Scotland presents a ‘For the Love of 80s’ theme this year in an ode to the decade that brought us an abundance of our favourite pop culture classics. EICC, Edinburgh, Sat 10–Sun 11 Nov.

OBAN WINTER FESTIVAL The coastal town gets frosty with activities, i lms and light shows to celebrate the l uffy white season that carries the year to a close. There’s even a chance Santa might stop by when he gets a break from all that present preparation.Various venues, Oban, Fri 16–Sun 25 Nov.

SCOTTISH INTERNATIONAL QUEER FILM FESTIVAL SQIFF returns with features, short i lm screenings, workshops, discussions and nights out showcasing queer cinema. The 2018 programme includes the Scottish premieres of Jason Barker’s debut A Deal With the Universe and Leilah Weinraub’s Shakedown. Various venues, Glasgow, Wed 5–Sun 9 Dec.

EDINBURGH’S HOGMANAY Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay celebration ushers in the New Year with a bang. A torchlight procession winds through the historic Old Town and into Holyrood Park on 30 Dec, a massive street party with live music culminates with midnight i reworks from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle on 31 Dec, and for those brave souls still wanting more, there’s the Loony Dook on 1 Jan. Various Venues, Edinburgh, Sun 30 Dec–Tue 1 Jan. CELTIC CONNECTIONS Glasgow’s annual folk, roots, indie, world and traditional music festival celebrating the links between Celtic music and cultures across the globe. An international cast of artists descend upon Glasgow, to create over 300 events. These include ceilidhs, workshops, talks and free events. Various venues, Glasgow, Thu 17 Jan–Sun 3 Feb.