October saw the conclusion of #ScotlandGoesBasque, the programme promoted throughout the year in Scotland by the Etxepare Basque Institute. The project, which was supported in part by the councils of Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, aimed to raise awareness of contemporary Basque culture and to build bridges in Scotland with artists and cultural stakeholders, as well as strengthening bonds between the two territories through culture.
Since the start of the programme in January, the work of Basque artists was shown at some of Scotland´s most important cultural events, including the Celtic Connections, CinemaAttic, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other initiatives, such as the Europa Transit season, were also launched by the Institute with help from various Scottish platforms. According to Irene Larraza, Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, the participation of Basque creative talent has earned recognition and reverberated through a larger community.
A total of 86 Basque creators (including musicians, performers, dancers, writers and film directors) took part in 106 performances promoted by the Etxepare Basque Institute. In addition to the many activities geared to the general public, two meetings were also held for industry professionals – one on cinema and another on music – as well as an international academic congress. A total of 137 Basque cultural stakeholders travelled to Scotland to take part in the different activities carried out throughout the year.
"#ScotlandGoesBasque has strengthened relationships, created new opportunities and consolidated partnerships for the future," said Larraza. Sharing various aspects of Basque culture over the course of several months in the same region, according to Etxepare’s director, “enabled us to offer a broader, more complete overview of the Basque language and culture".
"#ScotlandGoesBasque has given us the opportunity to showcase the work of Basque creators at internationally renowned festivals in Scotland. Basque artists, musicians and performers exhibited their skills alongside international talent, demonstrating their competence and sharing their experiences, while at the same time, exposing themselves to new audiences," said Larraza.
The Director of the Institute highlighted that it has been a "very positive and fruitful" experience for Basque creative talent and cultural stakeholders, and that presenting their work within a programme such as #ScotlandGoesBasque "offers opportunities that they do not get on their own". She pointed out that the Basque language and the unique quality of Basque creation produced "great admiration" among international industry professionals and the public at large. Proof of this is that some of the participating artists will continue to show their work now that the #ScotlandGoesBasque has ended.
Throughout the year, we’ve collected pictures from most of the events organized as part of #ScotlandGoesBasque. Images can be viewed at this link. We’ve also produced a series of videos summarizing several of the events. Our YouTube playlist can be found here.