Changin Scotland, 27th – 29th March, Ullapool

Changin Scotland was originally founded by Gerry Hassan and Jean Urquhart in 2002. For the past thirteen years, these 24 weekends have explored past, contemporary and future Scotlands in a national and international context.

In 2015, for the first time, Changin Scotland will be co-curated and facilitated by Mairi McFadyen & Andy Summers of National Collective in collaboration with Gerry, with help from Jock & Becky Urquhart at the Ceilidh Place. We will be celebrating our future with the launch of our new platform and future plans.

Join us in Ullapool for a weekend of fun, provocation, discussion, reflection and new perspectives on themes affecting this particular part of the planet. We have sessions on macroeconomics; Scots, UK & international politics; arts & culture at grassroots and on the world stage; workshops on what it means to be an active citizen and live music from the wonderful Karine Polwart.

We open with The Big Question: how to fix a broken economy, with global finance analyst Ann Pettifor and senior economics commentator for the Guardian Aditya Chakriborty, chaired by the BBC’s Douglas Fraser. We take a look at The State We Are In, with a reflection on Britishness and our broken politics with Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie MSP and journalist Ben Jackson, chaired by Gerry Hassan. With critic and columnist Joyce McMillan, journalist Peter Geoghegan and film director Eleanor Yule, we will challenge the orthodoxies of post-referendum Scotland and look to new and radical futures. With help from activist and writer Jemma Neville, we ask what  we might embrace, leave behind, or take forward for a better Scotland in the world.

We consider our local environments and ask, what are the realities, opportunities and limitations for young people in rural areas in Scotland? With Pàdruig Morrisonmusician, crofter and Gaelic speaker from Grimsay in North Uist and photographer Mhairi Law, whose work explores how people relate and respond to their home environments with a particular focus on rural communities, we ask, how do we sustain and regenerate our local places? Chaired by artist and arts promoter Jock Urquhart from The Ceilidh Place.

We also explore the role of arts and culture at grassroots and international levels. We’ll think about global cultural connections and the potential for Scotland’s soft power. With a focus more on the performing arts, singer/songwriter Karine Polwart joins musician, arts worker and festival director Brian O hEadhra and Joyce McMillan. We also take a look at the grassroots visual arts scene and reflect on the challenges faced by local artists and promoters. With  Peter Gillies, organiser and arts curator for Glasgow’s Southside Fringe Festival, the Tin Roof Collective in Dundee and the local Solas Arts Centre in Ullapool, we think about audience engagement in the arts and explore the creative use of new spaces.

“Packed, varied, dynamic programme – one of our best yet!” – Gerry Hassan

Mairi McFadyen & Andy Summers



About Mairi McFadyen

Mairi McFadyen is a Teaching Research Assistant in Scottish Culture and Heritage at the University of Edinburgh and works freelance as an advocate for the traditional arts. She is also a member of National Collective.