As we announced in January, Scotland will be one of the main focuses for the Etxepare Basque Institute’s activity this year. But why Scotland?
Scotland has a strong and rich sense of cultural identity. Scotland and the Basque Country both have a passion for nurturing their regional identities and sharing them with the world; Therefore, #ScotlandGoesBasque was created to deepen the ties between these sister territories, based on collaborative efforts between Basque and Scottish creators through culture, arts and language.
The fact that both have minority languages and take great pride in them – Scottish Gaelic in the case of Scotland – is one of the reasons that bring the Scottish and the Basques closer together. At the same time, Scotland is home to a melting pot of languages, since a lot of people migrate to Scotland to live, work or study.
Scotland has also a very rich and vibrant cultural life, as witnessed every year in several long-standing international events revolving around music, literature, cinema and other cultural expressions. Some of the most outstanding are Celtic Connections, a world music festival in Glasgow; Cinema Attic, a platform designed to promote Iberian and Latin American cinema in Scotland; the Edinburgh Film Festival, the world´s oldest continually running film festival, established in 1947; the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world´s largest street art festival, amongst many others. The aim of including the work of Basque artist in these events is to promote Basque culture not only in Scotland, but around the world. The events will also give the Basque cultural and creative industry the chance to contact foreign markets, since they are attended by many international distributors and programmers.
Another goal of the #ScotlandGoesBasque project is to build bridges between artists and cultural events in both places, and to foster exchange and conversation. To this end, Basque cultural event stakeholders have already established channels for collaboration with several Scottish entities, including the Durango Book and Record Fair, the Literaktum festival, the Gutun Zuria festival, Atlantikaldia and Dantzagunea. The Basque-Scottish Traditional Dance event is an example of one of the cultural events resulting from this collaboration, in this case, between the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust (STDT) and the Atlantikaldia festival. Another thing that Scotland and the Basque Country have in common is a rich history of traditional dance; taking advantage of this opportunity, a Basque traditional dance company will work alongside a company from the Highlands to create a show. The outcome will be shown both in Scotland and in the Basque Country.
The connection between the Basque Country and Scotland goes beyond culture and language: both regions share a range of interests and lines of work. That is why Scotland holds a special place in the Euskadi-Basque Country 2020 Internationalization Strategy, a global strategy that includes the #ScotlandGoesBasque project.