Heriot Watt University

IRC Symposium 2016

Intercultural Scotland: Challenges and Opportunities

19 May 2016

More than 60 participants attended the IRC's first symposium on 19 May 2016, considering challenges and opportunities faced by an increasingly multi- and intercultural Scotland.

Spurred on by the campaigns leading up to the 2014 independence referendum, there have been several tropes of a continuing debate about what, where and who Scotland was, is, and should become. One strong trope is the idea of Scotland as a trans-/intercultural society capable of an inclusive form of nationalism encompassing the "new Scots" within a way of national identity that is rooted in a shared culture rather than civic codes or descent. The symposium critically examined that trope and its wider implications, with particular focus on key areas of research at the IRC: cultural heritage, migration and language, narrative & memory, socio-cultural policy, sustainable development, and tourism management.

In three differently structured discussion sessions, complemented by creative actions, performances and research-based posters, we explored the opportunities and challenges inter-/transculturality present for a globally connected Scotland. Intercultural exchange and mutual learning are important processes through which opportunities can be developed, while the polydependencies of a small open economy are a major challenge.

For the discussion sessions, we are seeking constructive inputs that engage critically and creatively with aspects of the theme, and may include reflections on how experiences gained elsewhere offer perspectives for Scotland or vice versa. The first session will offer different theoretical and practical perspectives on aspects of the symposium theme, thus providing a steer for the discussion. In the second, café-style session, participants will gather in small groups to discuss specific topics. A round-table with audience participation will conclude the discussion sessions.

Throughout the event there will be a display of research posters, with the authors present to discuss their work during break times, when there will also be brief performances. The symposium ends with a cultural event reflecting the theme of the symposium.

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