Weaving closer ties with India

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The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs will travel to India next month to promote the world-class culture, education, tourism and business opportunities on offer in Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop announced the forthcoming trip on a visit to a cultural project in the Borders. 

ReSide is a collaboration between Scottish and Indian textile artists taking place at Heriot-Watt University’s Scottish Borders Campus, as it is part of Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures programme.

During the week-long visit to India in October, the Cabinet Secretary will attend the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in Jodhpur and undertake a number of business, cultural and diplomatic engagements in Delhi.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Scotland and India have many long and lasting links, with a rich shared culture and heritage and passion for innovation. This visit is an ideal opportunity to build on these strong ties and promote Scotland as one of the world’s most creative nations and an internationally competitive and innovative business location.

“India is one of the world’s fastest expanding economies and is an important investor in Scotland, providing approximately 5,000 Scottish jobs. Our nation’s strengths in technological innovation and cutting edge research and development mean that Scottish companies are ideally placed to take advantage of this growing market.

“There can be no doubt that cultural collaborations are helping to forge new alliances between our two countries. I am delighted to meet textile artists on exchange from India as part of the ReSide project. This is a fantastic example in our Year of Creative Scotland of how we are sharing our creative talent on a world stage.”

Creative Scotland Director of Development Venu Dhupa said:

“Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures programme is all about promoting the talent, ambition and connectivity of Scotland’s creative individuals, and international partnerships can contribute greatly to that. Murji Hamir Vankar  and Swati Unakar  have come to the Borders, the home of Scotland’s textile industries, from the leading textiles centre in India, Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

“Next month we will see Scottish textile artists Lindsay Roberts and Jeni Allison will travel back to Ahmedabad with them where they will have the opportunity to further develop their knowledge in this centre of excellence for textiles. This major exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge will benefit textile artists both here and in Ahmedabad, and contribute to the developing partnership between the two regions’ textile industries, and especially between Heriot Watt in Galashiels and the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.”

Professor Alison Harley, Head of Heriot-Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design, said he was “delighted” to be hosting the exchange project which he said has “tremendous potential benefits for both participating countries” and added:

“We are able to share working practices and cultures, and the core research project investigates the link between traditional craft skills and 21st century design thinking.

“In Scotland, contemporary crafts are very much alive but there is a burgeoning interest in traditional skills and origins of crafts, whereas in India an amazing range of traditional craft skills are not necessarily positioned well for a 21st century market.

“That’s where India’s and Scotland’s interests in the project meet. On a day-to-day basis our students are benefiting tremendously from engaging with our ReSide residents’ on different national working practices and cultures.”