The referendum debate can be a dark and off-putting place for undecided voters. All facts, figures and statistics are partial, and the only voices we hear on television or radio are those of politicians already swayed one way or the other.
For the last two years National Collective has attempted to create an alternative. Our referendum debate is not about the views of politicians but the thoughts and feelings of everyone in Scottish society. It’s about culture, self-confidence, energy and change.
But the fact remains National Collective is a pro-independence campaign, and some undecided voters may still find themselves reluctant to engage with anybody who holds a position. So, how can we make undecided people feel involved and inspired without pressurising them to commit to one side or the other?
The Edinburgh group of National Collective has found a solution. Each month we will hold a free, open, friendly creative session, including poetry, music, dance and film screenings, to get people talking about the referendum in new, more imaginative ways. People who are undecided are free to come along, listen, contribute, have a drink with friends, without having to make any commitment either way.
From almost nowhere, National Collective has blossomed into a slick and imaginative cauldron of debate. Born in 2011 among artists and writers it is now embarking on a mission to “inspire a tidal-wave of change, confidence and creativity across Scotland”. Refreshingly, the project has steered clear of the tired ‘news’, ‘features,’ ‘opinion’ menu of content and tapped into its membership to exploit the potential of a wired artistic community. Its fusion of the visual and the written, the high-brow, the anecdote, the play and the first-person, is a feast for anyone interested in politics and the arts in Scotland.
Above is a short film premièred at the first National Collective Edinburgh session, produced by Ross Aitchison and Andy Summers, with live music by Rachel Newton.
The next National Collective Edinburgh session is today (Wednesday 19th of February) at 8pm, Circus Café, St Mary’s Street, and will include a special presentation by Tessa Ransford, founder of the Scottish Poetry Library.
Freedom come all ye!
Andrew Redmond Barr