The launch this week of a major new grassroots arts initiative in Edinburgh comes at a very interesting moment. Craigmillar Now has announced a programme of local-based international arts that aims to rekindle the spirit of the old Craigmillar Festival Society. This has been brought to fruition as a labour of love by people living locally.
and internationally renowned audio visual auteurs 59 Productions, who have worked with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, team up with The Poetry Society among others
However cannily national arts institutions have to work within the prevailing political orthodoxies of the day, as long as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain tied to the UK, they are unlikely to ignore such high profile platforms as F UK* 2022. This is the case however glaring any political motivation to undermine the self determination of the devolved nations may or may not be.
It is telling too that EIF and NTS have just collaborated on last weekend’s online production of Hannah Lavery’s play, Lament for Sheku Bayoh. Lavery’s piece was inspired by 31-year-old Bayoh, who, as a child, fled the civil war in Sierra Leone, and who died in 2015 while being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy.
As far as what happens next with F UK* 2022, all of the above may turn out to be purely academic. Only one of the two Scotland teams competing directly against each other will make it through to the final. As for the rest, like an own goal in a Home International, an edition of It’s a Knockout where you’ve already played your Joker, or a Big Brother Does Bake Off Brexit Special, it’s perfectly possible that no other Scotland based organisation is left standing.
What we’ll be left with then is anybody’s guess, though at least massed choirs belting out Land of Hope and Glory on the hour every hour to define what F UK* 2022 ends up being all about will have been headed off at the pass.
Nevertheless, one suspects that some or all of the projects that don’t make the final cut of F UK 2022 may be enabled to happen anyway. This might then be an opportunity to bring other partners on board in a way that embraces those who might feel beyond F UK* 2022’s reach. There seem to be plenty of them about.
Craigmillar Now - www.craigmillarnow.com
The Venchie - www.venchie.org.uk
Festival UK* 2022 - www.festival2022.uk
Migrants in Culture - www.migrantsinculture.com
Refuweegee – www.refuweegee.co.uk
Solidarity with Displaced Humans - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1653384801546439/
Bella Caledonia, November 2020