The 18th European Cultural Days of the Museum of European Cultures (MEK) and the special exhibition “Document Scotland: Views from a Changing Country” are all about Scotland this year. Many people associate the country primarily with the Highlands, whisky or bagpipes. The fact that Scotland has a rich culture and history to offer beyond these clichés is impressively demonstrated by the extensive programme of events at this year’s European Cultural Days and the accompanying exhibition.
Image above: Demonstration for Scottish Independence, Stirling, June 2018 © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
18th European Culture Days
As part of the European Culture Days, the MEK presents a different country, region, city or community in Europe each year. This year the focus is on Scotland, which combines tradition and progress like almost no other European country. These two poles of Scottish identity are illuminated in the diverse programme of the 18th European Cultural Days with a wide variety of event formats: for example, with workshops on the so-called galoshins, the oldest and still widespread form of folk theatre in Scotland, with courses on new methods of textile processing of traditional fabrics such as tartan and wool, or with modern performances of the traditional dance ceilidh.
Already part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain since 1707, a strong independence movement has emerged within Scotland in recent decades. Despite the narrow defeat of the supporters in a corresponding referendum in 2014, the discussion about a possible independence continues to be lively. Overall
Scotland is a country that is strongly influenced by its turbulent political history. This is also addressed in the programme, for example in a discussion on poverty in Scotland with the writer and rapper Darren McGarvey or in a panel discussion on Scottish identity in Europe.
This year’s European Culture Days are organised by the Museum of European Cultures in cooperation with the Scottish Government Office in Germany and with the support of Alastair Mackie, PhD student at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
The programme of events is accompanied by the special exhibition “Document Scotland: Views from a Changing Country”. From 18 August to 20 November 2022, the show presents photographs by the Document Scotland collective and gives a visual impression of the diversity of Scottish society. The Document Scotland collective includes Scottish photographers Sophie Gerrard, Stephen McLaren, Colin McPherson and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, who are showing their images in Germany for the first time.
In the contemporary photographs, they highlight themes of belonging and history as well as the diverse community life across the country. The images capture the lives of women farmers, show traces of Scottish participation in the transatlantic slave trade, document the traditions of the residents on the island of Easdale as well as the protest culture in Glasgow. In doing so, the photographers provoke questions about individual and collective identity that are particularly relevant today. Without being biased, they react to current political developments and work out what connects the people living in Scotland.
Vernissage: Thursday, 18. August 2022, 6 p.m.
Exhibition dates: Friday, 19. August – Sunday 18. September 2022
with an exhibition of the Museum of European Cultures of the
National Museums in Berlin
Document Scotland: Views from a country in transition
Friday, 19 August – Sunday, 20 November 2022
Opening hours: Tu – Fr 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sa + Su 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Museum Europäischer Kulturen
Arnimallee 25, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem