The 2017 Fletcher of Saltoun Awards were presented at the Dundee Contempoary Arts Centre this past Saturday Septemebr 16th. Three Scots were awrded in recognition of their contribution to Scotland in the arts and humanities, sciences and Scottish public life:
Arts and Humanities - Sir James MacMillian
MacMillan studied composition at the University of Edinburgh and at Durham University, where he gained a PhD degree in 1987. He was a lecturer in music at the Victoria University of Manchester from 1986-1988. After his studies, MacMillan returned to Scotland, composing prolifically, and becoming Associate Composer with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, often working on education projects. He came to the attention of the classical establishment with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's premiere of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie. The work's international acclaim spurred more high-profile commissions, including a percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie, Veni, Veni, Emmanuel. Further successes have included his second opera The Sacrifice, which won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He was awarded the British Composer Award for Liturgical Music, for his Strathclyde Motets, in 2008. MacMillan was composer and conductor with the BBC Philharmonic from 2000 to 2009, following which he took up a position as principal guest conductor with his collaboration with Michael Symmons Roberts is ongoing, with his second opera, The Sacrifice, being premiered by Welsh National Opera in 2007. He is an Honorary Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, patron of St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh, of the London Oratory School Schola Cantorum and he has recently been appointed patron of The British Art Music Series. He was appointed a CBE in 2004. In 2008, he became Honorary Patron of London Chamber Orchestra's LCO New: He also serves as the Honorary President of the Bearsden Choir.
Science: Hugh Gill
Hugh's most prominent contribution has been in developing the partial and full hand multi articulating prosthetics products for Touch Bionics of Livingston. This has revolutionised the capability of those who lose a hand. Hugh joined Touch Bionics in 2007 and has significantly advanced the company and product originally conceived by founder David Gow. During this time Hugh has achieved 9 patents. The engineering behind this is now at the front end of high technology - encompassing robotics, wireless communication, i-phone apps, advanced myoelectric sensors that pick up microvolt signals from muscles beneath the skin, and the covering, or cosmesis, for durability, appearance and elasticity, a major materials advance. Over 4000 patients have been fitted with i-limb hands and over 500 partial hand patients. Hugh has led the technological developments creating a major impact on many patients throughout the world. Earlier in his career, Hugh had sole responsibility for structural integrity of the channel tunnel machine to withstand full overburden mass of 100ft of water and 100ft of soil. Hugh then joined Burroughs and later Unisys. During this time Hugh designed a high speed document optical and magnetic reader and achieved 2 successful patents. At Polaroid, Hugh developed a business called Wideblue which spun out in 2006 with Hugh being the Director of Design and Operations. Whist working at Polaroid, Hugh also co-founded Dream Maker Ltd to exploit a modular drumstick with patented technology, winning the John Logie Baird Award for innovation.
Public Life: Annie Lennox
The nomination I make under this category (rather than music, though Lennox would be a more than credible nominee for the Arts category) is not because of the fact that Lennox is known widely as a highly popular singer; it is because of the way that, rather than using her fame to promote herself or to lead an indulgent lifestyle, she has from the earliest days of her fame worked for campaigns of public responsibility. Since the late 1980s, for example, she has campaigned for AIDS awareness. As recently as 2007 she established the SING campaign, dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS in South Africa, work for which Bishop Desmond Tutu has particularly praised her. And she has regularly taken part in benefit concerts for sufferers.
As a result of her work she has been nominated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador She is a long-term supporter of Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Oxfam and the Red Cross. She is a model of a philanthropic tradition in Scottish public life which perceives personal wealth and fame not as a personal property, but as a means to seek to benefit others less well-off than oneself.