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dreams of something better

May 3, 2011

I spoke to my friend and former colleague Gerry Hassan last week about his project ‘A Scottish Wave of Change’ which is part of the cultural Olympiad. It’s a sort of national story-telling project, organized in workshops across Scotland. I find it odd that things like this and three letters that spell out the word RUN can coexist as ‘Olympic culture’. But good too, obviously.

What is ‘A Scottish Wave of Change’?

A Scottish Wave of Change project is about stories, the future and change. It is a four year programme which sits in the Cultural Olympiad – which aid, nurtures and encourages people across Scotland to think, imagine and then create their own future.

Why are you doing it?

The project follows the imaginative Scotland 2020 and Glasgow 2020. Those projects were immense eye-openers to me, about the capacity of people to be creative, imaginative and tell hopeful stories, whereas as we know ‘the official story’ often rights people off. A Scottish Wave of Change was the chance to develop this further, and see how far we could go aiding and nurturing change.

What has it got to do with the Olympics?

A Scottish Wave of Change is part of the Cultural Olympiad. We started our first events with an exploration of the Olympic and Paralympic values; inviting people to identify the values they would like a future Scotland to embody.

Your project is a sort of cultural project because it’s about stories, but it’s also political because it’s about the future. Are the conversations supposed to be a chamber of political debate, or is it just about creating conversations between people who wouldn’t normally talk to each other, about things they wouldn’t normally talk about?

It is more about aiding conversations, listening and dialogue. Bringing people together. In some bringing together people who haven’t spoken in years and getting past that. In some cases this can be people who live in neighbouring streets. Some of this can be simple and complex, but takes time and involves nurturing spaces which aren’t official or part of the system.

What will happen at the end? How will you represent people’s stories – is this like a census?

A Scottish Wave of Change at its conclusion will have lots of stories, theatre, music, film, conventional stories and graphic novels. We will have several local future visions. And we plan to bring this together and capture the myriad stories of the future, and tour some of the stories around Scotland with discussions, conversation and various exchanges and are looking at numerous ways this can happen.

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