Wednesday 8 May 2013

Members Blog No 8 Jim Tough, Executive Director

Two things in particular I think will see us move into a new, dynamic phase of our work.
Finally we are closing in on the launch of the new website. I expect it to be up and running by the end of May, if not by the time you are reading this. When it does go live we will alert everyone in the Society who has an email address. I hope you find it interesting!
It will be found here www.saltiresociety.org.uk

Included in the new website are details for new membership categories; for Young People/Students at £5.00 and for Affiliate bodies at £50.00. We hope both will in time add to our number and influence.

The launch of the new website is helpful because of the second factor which I wanted to emphasise. We are print ready for the first pamphlet for the new Saltire Series. I am sure the pamphlet, from Richard Holloway, titled ‘A Plea For A Secular Scotland’, will generate debate. We may even find that some of our own members don’t agree with his thinking. But that of course is the nature of such things. The pamphlet, beautifully designed by Alasdair Gray, has a limited edition print run of only 500 copies, and is available at reduced cost of £4.00 for members (normal price is £5.00).

We are also delighted to be able to present Richard in an author’s event to discuss his essay and so this is also by way of early notice to you as a member of that event, which has limited capacity. It is planned to take place on Thursday 13 June at 7.00pm in our HQ. It will feature Richard in conversation with a chairman. The ticket price will be £15.00 non-members, £10.00 members and include a copy of the pamphlet and a complimentary glass of wine or soft drink. As a member you get priority booking until 28th May, when we then open it up to others. Please book your place by the 28th May through Head Office if you wish to attend. We will take the payment in cash on the night. I expect this event will sell out quickly. If you simply wish to pre book a copy of the pamphlet again simply contact us at Head Office, drop us a line or an email.

So some excitement ahead and much more already under way, with the building work due to start in our HQ this month. On the awards front it’s all go, with aspirant engineers, architects, writers, singers and artists submitting their ideas to our various panels. One recent award occasion was the Honorary Membership accorded to Professor Peter Higgs. He gave a warm and charming response to this award, coming across as a very humble man who has achieved so much.

On the scientific theme I was also delighted to meet with representatives of the James Clark Maxwell Foundation at his former home in India Street, Edinburgh. We have been offering support and encouragement to musician P.J.Moore who has been developing a musical and performance piece based on Maxwell’s work and life. One of our own members, Dr Dick Dougall, is involved in the Foundation which is also helping P.J. in his work. We are similarly involved with artist and film maker Matt Hulse whose film ‘Dummy Jim’ tells the story of James Duthie, a deaf mute who cycled from his home in Cairnbulg to the Arctic Circle in 1951. Matt has taken his inspiration from Duthie’s journal.

The events mentioned in the last update all went well. Convener David Ward attended ‘Noufest’ celebrating the life and work of Naomi Mitchison in Carradale, Kintyre and was warmly received by organisors including member Professor Isobel Murray. In advance of that a lecture and discussion event was held at the National Library of Scotland. Council member Professor Ian Brown chaired a day of discussion on the Future of Scottish Playwriting at the Traverse Theatre featuring key figures from the theatre community in discussion.
Our most recent Council meeting took place in Inverness, and we were delighted to meet several Highland Branch members at an informal gathering after the business. As a national body we feel it is important to work nationally, and we will look at holding other meetings outside Edinburgh.

We had our first meeting of our new Financial Strategy and Audit Committee in May and I am grateful to Leslie Cumming, Professor Ian Percy, Bryan Rankin and Hector McDonald who comprise a very impressive group of experts in this area. Bryan has also been co-opted to sit on Council. Their work isn’t simply good financial management; they will help us think strategically about our financial future including the Saltire Endowment Trust. That proposition was recently reinforced by a kind legacy from Sheena Elizabeth Stephen a member who sadly passed away last year.

We will report more fully on the Saltire Endowment Trust at this year’s AGM which will take place on the 21st September at 11.00am in the AK Bell Theatre in Perth. This year’s meeting is hosted by the Kirriemuir Branch and we will have more details nearer the time, but the date is for noting meanwhile and we’d appreciate members indicating whether they wish to attend to help with catering and the likes.

I have attached a full list of provisional dates for national events for the rest of the year, including award ceremonies, lectures and more. Some details have still to be confirmed, but don’t hesitate to check with Head Office for an update on particular events and to register your interest now. Most events are open to all though numbers may be limited, so let us know what is of interest.

A busy year lies ahead. I look forward to seeing you at some point, somewhere!

Aye Yours,
Jim Tough, Executive Director

Saltire Events

Saltire Awards Ceremonies 2013

  • Saltire Song Competition, 12th June,10.30am, Perth
  • Saltire Publisher of the Year, 23rd August, 7.00pm, Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Saltire Arts and Crafts in Architecture Award, 12th September, The Lighthouse, Glasgow
  • Saltire Housing Award, either 9th or 16th September TBC
  • Fletcher of Saltoun Award 26th September, Glasgow, venue TBC
  • Saltire Civil Engineering Award, 31st October, 4.30pm, National Museum of Scotland, Chamber Street, Edinburgh
  • Saltire Literary Awards, 14th November, Glasgow

Other Events

Author’s Event – Richard Holloway’s Plea for a Secular Scotland, 13th June, Saltire HQ, 7.00pm (£10.00 for members, pre booking essential)

Reception during Edinburgh International Film Festival, 6.00pm, 20th June, Saltire HQ, Edinburgh

Saltire Society Festivals Reception, 6.00pm, 12th August, Saltire HQ, Edinburgh
Fletcher of Saltoun Lecture from Professor Ian Brown, 5th September, 6.00pm, Scottish Parliament

Annual General Meeting, 21st September, 11.00am, AK Bell Library, York Place, Perth PH2 8EP

Saltire Pamphlets Authors Event at the Wigtown Book Festival, 6/7th October, details tbc
'Saltire Celebrates' on St Andrew's Day, 30th November, Scottish Story Telling Centre, Edinburgh

Associated Events

Geddes Lecture in association with Royal Town Planning Institute, 20th June Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, National Galleries of Scotland, the Mound, Edinburgh. Contact RTPI for details.

'Hands Up For Trad' Hall of Fame Awards, 11th October, Oran Mor, Glasgow

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