Thursday, 24 July 2008

Gibson hails Highland composer as 'Portrait of a Nation'



SNP MSP Rob Gibson lodged a motion yesterday (July 23) in the Scottish Parliament congratulating Highland composer Blair Douglas for being the only Scottish art piece in the Portrait of a Nation campaign. In his motion Mr. Gibson hailed the Skye-born artist for his achievement, and cited the importance of celebrating local and national heritage.

The Portrait of a Nation campaign comprises young artists from 18 cities throughout the UK portraying their cultural roots and heritage using all kinds of mediums. It will help to close the year-long Liverpool European Capital of Culture celebrations in a spectacular festival this December.

Mr. Gibson said:

“It’s great that these young artists are given an outlet to not only explore their cultural heritage but also demonstrate how our past is key to a rich and vibrant future.

“I am proud to have a Highland art piece represent Scotland and show the world the kind of rich culture and society we enjoy.

“Mr. Douglas’ piece incorporates some exciting elements unique to Highland culture including Gaelic song, traditional music and step dance and it also uses 30 of the very best dancers from the Highlands & Islands which will be a rare treat to see when it’s performed in Inverness and Glasgow in September.”


Copy of motion:
That the Parliament welcomes the Portrait of a Nation campaign from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Liverpool Culture Company and participating cities and places; recognises this as a platform for young people to explore and showcase their heritage and identity through arts and heritage projects as part of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008 celebrations; congratulates Highland composer and artist Blair Douglas for his piece titled Dealbh Dùthcha which incorporates unique elements of Highland culture including traditional music, Gaelic song, step dance and the spoken word, and features 30 of the very best young musicians, singers and dancers from the Highlands and Islands Fèisean to perform the piece; notes that Dealbh Dùthcha is the Highlands and Islands contribution and the only Scottish representation in Portrait of a Nation; and recognises the importance of celebrating local and national heritage and giving young people the chance to express themselves and their cultural identity.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Gibson urges Scottish-Siberian co-operation

News release
Immediate release


A productive and friendly partnership is ready to be struck up between businesses in Scotland and Siberia which could make a positive difference to the Country. Says Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson.

Mr Gibson words came during a trip to the oil and gas rich Province of Khanty Mansiysk in Western Siberia where (among others) he met the Governor (Alexander Filipenko), the deputy chairman of government issues of Investment and Innovation Mr Morozovs as well as the deputy Governor Oleg Goncharov (whom Rob met and had informal economic talks with in Orkney, during the unveiling of the Yuri Gagarin Stone at Skara Brae, earlier this year).

Rob was invited to the Province after he helped secure the memorial stone on the timeline at Skara Brae (Orkney) , which commemorates the first man in space, the Russian Yuri Gagarin.

"Thanks to contacts with the highest levels of the government of the Autonomous Okrug of Khanty Mansiysk made possible by Alexander Korobko the principal of London-based Russian Hour TV I am able to scope the possibilities for Scottish exports and business relations available here."

"There are one and a half million inhabitants living in an area the size of France. 25,000 are native Khanty people who still live a traditional lifestyle to some extent. The attraction from the late Soviet times was oil. This area has helped transform the modern Russian economy."

"My series of informal meetings and visits to facilities and cultural, health and educational institutions shows how Mr Filipenko has been able to create a vitally modern city, about the size of Inverness from a Siberian oil camp. Like Scotland, Khanty Mansiysk has as much if not more oil in reserve and its deposits are huge being over 57 percent of Russian fed output "

"The Russian Federation has benefited hugely from Khanty Mansiysk and the Province has managed to buck the trend of falling population which is prevalent throughout much of Russia. It has been subject to major social investment using oil and gas profits to build a broader and more attractive economy for the future."

"Modern educational and health facilities encourage population retention and growth, along with cutting edge maternity services."

"it is an enchanting place in midst of endless forests, huge river systems and bogs. Summer a bit like ours but winter ferociously cold. There are smart and astute leaders both in Politics and the business community. I see great potential for Scotland and Siberia (as well as other parts of Russia too) to do business. There is a will in Siberia to make these connection so it is time for Scotland to start talking."

"Economic co-operation between the Highlands and Islands and this part of Russia could mark the beginning of huge benefits. One potential spin off could be access to cheaper fuel, in an area where we suffer greatly from fuel poverty, that would be a situation which could vastly improve the region."

Mr Gibson also learnt about that the Province's oil companies are seeking access to EU markets. He was told could that if access was granted it could stimulate competition which could see fuel prices reduced for consumers across the board.