It strikes me as odd that BBC Scotland is going through the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London to use its First World War Centenary Partnership’s partners in Scotland, when the Edinburgh-based Museums & Galleries Scotland has been working for several months on a network of organisations involved in centenary planning and is far more likely to have a more comprehensive network in place in Scotland.
For example the IWM Centenary Partnership launched its event calendar on Monday and I could find no events listed taking place in Scotland in 2014 or later.
There were no events listed for Wales, Northern Ireland or the north-east of England either.
There is an apparent lack of “sign-up” by Scottish bodies to the IWM Partnership and I think that reinforces the point made in my earlier letter that the Imperial War Museum has shown no interest in Scotland to date and in fact in any part of the UK where it does not have an existing presence.
People are shrewd enough to know why there is a sudden interest from the IWM in what the provincials are doing as the First World War centenary approaches.
It was interesting that Donalda MacKinnon chose to highlight the partnership through London with Education Scotland.
This is an organisation which, up until two weeks ago, was asserting online that the First World War Armistice with Germany took place on 1 November, 1918. This was just one of several errors on Education Scotland’s First World War pages.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) was mentioned several times in Donalda Mackinnon’s letter but, like the IWM, it is based in the south of England.
BBC Scotland will be liaising with Scottish academics and experts through organisations far removed from Scotland and with little knowledge of our country’s history. I can only hope Donalda MacKinnon’s confidence in the chosen partnerships for BBC Scotland is well-placed. I can’t share that confidence and am disappointed that her organisation doesn’t have faith in Scottish institutions to help them engage with people and organisations in Scotland and instead is going south of the Border for that assistance.