Dearest Scotland …

Posted on 20/07/2014 by

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Writing initiative  ‘re-imagines the future of Scotland’

dearestscotlandTake a pen and a piece of paper and write a letter to the future of Scotland? In this age of high-tech, super-fast digital communications it may seem like a very old-fashioned way to communicate, but a new writing project called Dearest Scotland has sparked a revival in letter writing.

The apolitical initiative has caught imaginations in the year of the Referendum by inviting letters and illustrations from people of all ages across the world with a connection to, or an interest in, Scotland.

Dearest Scotland is the brainchild of Glasgow-based social design agency SNOOK, who some readers may recall worked with Total Craigroyston and North Edinburgh Young People’s Forum on the ‘What’s the Matter?’ project in 2012.

Focused on crowd-sourcing from a widest possible demographic with the aim of giving a platform to citizens’ voices, Dearest Scotland’s co-founder, Sarah Drummond, recently spoke of the aspiration to receive handwritten letters that capture insights to what a future Scotland may look like.

Sarah said: “Our team at Snook work in grassroots communities and we hear great ideas everyday from ordinary people. Sadly there is no platform for these voices to be heard in the mainstream media, by governments or local authorities. Dearest Scotland aims to address that.”

The idea originated before the independence referendum was announced, and since it’s March launch Dearest Scotland has received a cross-section of letters keen to articulate visions that reach beyond the political debate of the 18 September vote.

And while the project proves that the art of letter writing isn’t dead, the choice to write and illustrate letters digitally via the Dearest Scotland website is also available!

Sarah also spoke of plans to publish received letters in a collated book format. She said: “Everyone who writes to Dearest Scotland has the chance to see their letter published. This allows for the opportunity to read what people of all ages from every part of the country have to say about their hopes and fears for a future Scotland both in connection to and outside of politics and the referendum.”

While new letters are catalogued daily, Sarah’s aim is to publish the visions in an open source digital catalogue – in addition to the book format – after the 13 September deadline for submissions, and all proceeds will be donated to new and existing Scottish literary projects.

The Dearest Scotland team is currently touring venues and events across the country, spreading the word in towns and rural areas.

The initiative has also caught the attention of politicians. Glasgow Anniesland MSP Bill Kidd lodged a parliamentary motion in support of the project in June, and a Holyrood debate has been scheduled for 13 August – the motion has received cross-party support from a further 25 members of the Scottish parliament. There are also plans to exhibit a display of letters by the Scottish Rural Parliament in November and within Holyrood in early 2015.

Sarah’s business partner and project co-founder, Lauren Currie, added: “We all have a box of letters stashed away somewhere that fill our hearts with joy every time we dig them out and re-read them. Dearest Scotland is our nation’s box of letters. These letters are so much more than communication, they are re-imagining the future of Scotland.”

To find out more information about Dearest Scotland’s project, summer tour, or to submit a future vision of Scotland, visit…

http://www.dearestscotland.com

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