Evidence provided by SAHA’s Co-Chair Professor Murray Pittock MAE FRSE to the Scottish Affairs Committee features in the newly published report Promoting Scotland Internationally.
The report, published on September 13th, highlighted that so-called “traditional” associations with Scotland, such as whisky, tartan, and golf act as powerful hooks to the collective imagery and create interest worldwide, however it also mentions that other sectors of excellence such as Scotland’s world-leading scientific research, space and energy sectors could benefit from further focus and effort from the UK Government. The report is the result of an inquiry launched in July 2022 with the aim of examining how effectively Scottish interests are represented and promoted by the UK Government and its diplomatic network across the world.
Professor Pittock, Bradley Professor of Literature at the University of Glasgow and Pro Vice Principal at the University, spoke at length about the importance of promoting Scotland consistently across the British diplomatic network, which also appeared in the report’s recommendations.
As part of his evidence, Professor Pittock, who authored a 2019 report for the Scottish Government on Robert Burns and the Scottish Economy, emphasised the importance of soft power and described Burns Suppers as “an under-utilised form of soft power”, and added that its strong global reach has enormous potential for showcasing new and distinctive Scottish produce.
On the report and its findings Professor Pittock said:
“Events such as Burns Suppers and St Andrew’s Day’s celebrations should be considered as excellent ways to promote Scotland’s history, culture and interests abroad. Tartan Week in New York City is proof that these events and celebrations can generate enormous global opportunities for Scotland’s economy and tourism.
“Scotland has so much to offer, its rich tapestry of art, history and heritage deserves a more consistent promotion across the diplomatic network. The promotion of Scottish festivals and events should not be a variable, but rather a focus point of diplomatic missions in furthering Scotland, its image and its interests abroad.”
Notes to editors
The report is available online