Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Scottish Cultural Academy

The Scottish Executive has finally announced a little more about the Scottish cultural academy that the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport promised us months and months ago in the Executive's response to the Cultural Commission's report.

There has been some muttering about the fact that the academy, which is based somewhat on the Irish Aosdána scheme, wasn't mentioned in the draft culture bill, so the announcement--made ahead of the results of this year's Creative Scotland awards--is certainly welcome. Scotland has been bad at acknowledging and supporting its creative artists, so any increase in recognition is a step forward for our society. I wish, however, that more was also being done to encourage those of us who're still wrestling to establish ourselves.

Edwin Morgan, Scotland's first official Makar, has been appointed the academy's first member. He is an obvious and appropriate choice, given his literary standing and his popularity. Morgan is still writing away with remarkable energy, in spite of his advanced age and cancer. I'll keep a close eye out for who joins him in the academy. It will be interesting to see how the membership develops.

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