The 2018 Fletcher of Saltoun Awards were presented at the Saltire Society in Edinburgh on Saturday 22 September. Four Scots were awarded in recognition of their contribution to Scotland in the arts and humanities, sciences and Scottish public life:


Karine Polwarth's parents accepted her award

For contribution to Arts and Humanities: Karine Polwart, awarded for her contributions to music, both singing and powerful song writing.

During the past 15 years, Karine Polwart has emerged as one of Scotland’s most popular folk singers and thoughtful contemporary songwriters. Her skills as a writer lie in combining intimate stories, often centred on women and families, with sharp social and political observation. Sources as diverse as Donald Trump and ancient bird lore, parental grief and sex trafficking, infuse her songs with a sense of human resilience and reek of memory and history. She is a four times winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, twice for Best Original Song, and was the inaugural winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards. Her most recent album Traces was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year. A former member of Malinky, The Battlefield Band, macAlias and The Burns Unit, her musical career as a touring and recording artist has encompassed also community song, university level teaching, animation soundtracks and thematic collaborative projects. During 2015 she wrote with Greek Cypriot songwriter and composer Alkinoos Ioannidis and for awardwinning theatre company Puppetstate.

Her career highlights include an invitation to sing at at the opening session of the Scottish Parliament in 2011. She has been outspoken in support of numerous political causes, including anti-nuclear campaigns and mental health issues, and was vocal in encouraging participation and discussion around the Scottish Independence referendum. Her career as a musician follows seven years of face to face and policy development work within the Scottish Women’s Aid movement in the field of children’s rights and domestic abuse, as well as a spell as a university and community-based philosophy tutor (she has an MPhil in Philosophical Inquiry). She lives in Pathhead, Midlothian, where she shares her love of story and song with her two young children.

More information at:


Fiona Duncan speaking on accepting her award 

For contribution to Scottish Public Life: Fiona Duncan, awarded for her valuable contributions to life in Scotland.

Fiona is CEO of the Corra Foundation, formerly the Lloyds TSB Scotland Foundation.

In that capacity she has steered the foundation through a difficult and litigious split from Lloyds Bank which is no longer prepared to provide financial support. In addition she has developed the foundation beyond its origins as a grant giving charity (providing grants of £3000 to £40,000 to small charities) to a proactive charity working with other charities on targeted programmes to counter drugs and to locate social workers in neglected areas such as West Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire etc All of this activity depends on a motivated and hard-working team developed in recent years.

At the personal request of senior ministers in the Scottish Government, Fiona is also heading up the Care Review – an in-depth review of childcare in Scotland. To do this she has been seconded from the Corra Foundation for 50% of her time. The review, which is set to last for two years, has involved going out to talk to over 60 children in care across the country to seek their views, as well as those of carers, social workers and government

In addition to that, Fiona runs the Kilfinan Group, which provides mentors to the heads of charities in Scotland. There are chapters in the East and West of the country and over thirty mentors.

The heads of charities are often under pressure from trustees, beneficiaries and staff and the ability to talk to an independent and experienced mentor can be invaluable. Fiona uses exceptional personal skills to match mentors and mentees and then organises regular meetings of mentors to exchange information and receive updates on regulation etc.

In summary, Fiona Duncan is an exceptional and inspiring individual who is making an
immensely valuable contribution to life in Scotland.

 Graham Watt speaking on accepting his award

For contribution to Science: Professor Graham Watt CBE FRSE, awarded for his distinguished career in public health and general practice.

Graham Watt has had a very distinguished career in both public health and general practice, mostly spent at the University of Glasgow. A distinguishing feature of all his work has been a concern for social justice, especially for the most socio-economically deprived people of Scotland. That theme runs throughout his academic career.

A decade ago, he founded the Deep End movement, to describe the challenges of GPs and their teams looking after these most deprived populations, and to develop professional support for the GPs and better resourcing for the people living in these areas. They suffer from problems of poor housing and intergenerational poverty, as well as educational challenges and drug and alcohol problems. Life expectancy, and also healthy life expectancy, is some 20 years below that of the most privileged Scots.

Recently this important Scottish initiative has been emulated in other deprived areas, including Liverpool and Dublin. It is well described in the website below.

Professor Watt is both an important academic in the tradition of the democratic intellect,
and a major figure in Scottish, UK and international medicine.,g
Chris van der Kuyl with his award

For contribution to Science: Chris van der Kuyl, awarded for his entrepreneurial work and commitments to encouraging enterprise education.

Chris van der Kuyl is a highly experienced Chief Executive and Non-Executive Director whose expertise combines the start-up, development and market listed business arena in the technology, media and entertainment sectors. He grew his first business, VIS entertainment plc ("VIS"), out of a bedroom in Dundee to become a global player in the creation of leadingedge entertainment property for computer, television and video games platforms worldwide. Through the development of VIS, as CEO and President, he took the business through substantive growth. Chris is currently Chief Executive Officer of Brightsolid Limited (formerly Scotland On Line), one of the country's Internet pioneers. He is also Chairman of the Tayforth group which has interests in Video Games development, Technology and Intellectual Property; Chairman of 4J Studios a next generation video game development studio. Chris is widely recognised as one of the UK's the leading entrepreneurs. Chris is a member of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow Programme at the World Economic Forum.

Chris is fully committed to building the next generation of business people by encouraging enterprise education in Schools, Colleges and Universities. He was Chairman of Young Enterprise Scotland and is a member of the Smith Group advising the Scottish Executive on educational matters. As one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Chris sits as a member of the Scottish Scientific Advisory committee who advise the Scottish government on all areas of science and technology.Chris also Chairs the Creative board of the Education Wing at Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow and is a Director of Dundee Science Centre.


All photos by Ryan McGoverne Photography