Scottish Parliament Motion on Burns

17 January 2018

The Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow was commended in a debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament. The Motion (SM5-09328) on ‘The Economic Potential of Robert Burns’ was put forth by Joan McAlpine MSP, attracting cross-party support. Members agreed that the a new study into Burns’s value to the Scottish economy should take into account the global reach of the poet and his works. Members also agreed that we would all benefit from such a study, effectively updating the last evaluation, completed in 2003. In fact, members were so eager to report on the excellent Burns-related activities in their constituencies that the motion was extended by 30 minutes!

Highlights of the debate

Joan McAlpine commenced the discussion by reminding us that the original study in 2003 was carried out before the Homecoming Scotland (2009) events and before the opening of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway (2010). ‘Surely Burns’s capital,’ then estimated at £157m annually, ‘has increased exponentially,’ said the MSP. Attention was also paid to the teaching and wider dissemination of Robert Burns through the AHRC-funded project ‘Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century’ in the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, which continues to produce new volumes for the Oxford Edition of the Works of Robert Burns. CRBS was also commended in the motion on its community and performance events, advice to exporters, international students and donor gifts. Other members who supported the motion while adding their own thoughts on Burns activities worth accounting for were Willie Coffey (SNP – Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley); John Scott (Conservative – Ayr); Emma Harper (SNP – South Scotland); Alex Rowley (Labour – Mid Scotland and Fife); Stewart Stevenson (SNP – Banffshire and Buchan Coast); Oliver Mundell (Conservative – Dumfriesshire); Ruth Maguire (SNP – Cunninghame South); and Alasdair Allan (SNP – Na h-Eileanan an Iar).

Following the debate Professor Murray Pittock presented Joan McAlpine MSP with a copy of his recently published work on the Scots Musical Museum, being volumes 2 and 3 of the new Oxford Edition. 

Press coverage:

The Scotsman

First published: 20 January 2018

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