First just to say how delighted I am to have the privilege and the challenge of taking the Society’s work forward at such an auspicious and interesting time in the country’s history. We are of course non-political but we will champion the importance of our creative achievements past and present as a vital part of Scottish civic life, whatever the form or political hue of government.
Our ambition for the Society is to see it become an increasingly respected and prominent independent voice for our creative and intellectual endeavours. To do that we need to be bold, to be modern in our approach, to be respected for our expertise and we need to find a way to become more financially resilient in the long term. Every member and every branch can help us in that I am sure.
There is much to be done on the back of Lord Cullen’s Review. But we have real strengths to build upon. I am impressed by the skill and commitment of the small Head Office team. I am part way through meeting the chairs and conveners of each of the committees and panels and they too have energy, expertise and experience that we can and do tap into. At my first meetings with Council and the Executive Board I was impressed by their commitment to and support for change.
And I am visiting a branch near you in the coming months! It is important I feel to invest in the relationship between our branches and the Head Office and to that end I am visiting every branch over the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing your views and ideas. For our part we have been thinking about what you get in return for your membership. One small gesture of good faith in that regard relates to the enclosed list of our published books. We would be happy to send you a copy of a chosen text and send it to you as a small token of the value we attach to your continued commitment to the Society. Just let Sarah or Tara know which book. We are also progressing plans to make the Head Office in Edinburgh a wee bit more welcoming to members, a place where, should you be in town, you can pop in to meet the team, to work at one of our ‘hot desks’, or to spend some quiet time in what will we hope be a Reading Room.
Progressing all of the above involves investment of course, and we are grateful for a recent legacy from a long standing member, that has allowed us to progress the changes suggested by Lord Cullen’s Review. For the Society to thrive in the future, for generations to come, to be truly independent in voice and action, such acts of generosity and foresight are invaluable.
So this is the first of what will be a regular short note to let you know what I am up to, and in a similar vein we will be using our website and social media to spread the word of our efforts. If you have any ideas or comments about how we can progress the work of the Society I would be delighted to hear them. And I look forward to meeting some of you at the Diaspora event that has been organised at the Scottish Parliament as described in the enclosed leaflet.
Very best wishes,
Jim Tough, Executive Director