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Politicians asked to think 'beyond the ballot' at Dundee culture hustings

26 April 2016

Award winning Dundee songwriter Gary Clark will appear at a unique pre-election event at Abertay University on Monday 2 May.

The event, chaired by Lesley Riddoch, will bring together the views of leading voices working in culture and media in Dundee and ask aspiring MSPs to respond with their vision of Scotland’s culture and media over the next five years.

They will be joined by Professor Gregor White, Head of the School of Arts, Media & Computer Games at Abertay University.

Ditching the standard hustings format, the event will offer a discursive approach with the aim of exploring how Scotland’s culture and media can develop over the next parliamentary term.

Candidates appearing on the panel are: Maggie Chapman (Scottish Green Party), Lauren Jones (Scottish Liberal Democrat), Jenny Marra (Scottish Labour), Nicola Ross (Scottish Conservatives) and Shona Robison (Scottish National Party).

Organiser Alison Balharry explained the significance of holding the event in Dundee:

“In the heat of election campaigns cultural policy rarely makes the headlines. Yet it is arguably one of the most significant factors in creating a nation worth living in: defining everything from the state of our cities to how we see ourselves as a nation.

“Scottish culture has the capacity to foster innovation, point out new directions and pose difficult questions about the kind of society we want to live in. We want to find out what Scotland’s competing political parties will do to foster it.

“Particular focus will be given to Dundee – a Scottish city with an international reputation for marrying cultural revival with urban regeneration. We want to investigate how the city’s example can be replicated, what the crucial ingredients for cultural revival are and how this can be built on over the coming years.”

Beyond the Ballot: Exploring Scotland’s Culture 2016-2021 will take place on Monday 2 May at 19:30, Room 2517, Kydd Building Building, Abertay University, Bell Street, Dundee DD1 1HG.

Tickets are free (booking advised) and available from Eventbrite.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron: T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

  • Gary Clark began his career as singer-songwriter-instrumentalist in late '80s band Danny Wilson. He penned the band's 1987 international hit "Mary's Prayer". Now considered classic, it still regularly re-enters the top 100 airplay charts in the UK. After the band split in 1990 he moved into the areas of songwriting and production for other artists. Clark has 3 BMI awards, has won Nordoff-Robbins/PRS songwriter of the year and has an Ivor Novello nomination for best song musically and lyrically for “Mary's Prayer”. He recently co-wrote the original songs for John Carney's new movie ‘Sing Street’.
  • Gregor White is Professor of Applied Creativity and Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, the UK Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.
  • Lesley Riddoch is an award winning journalist, commentator, broadcaster and columnist for The Scotsman and The National.
  • Beyond the Ballot: Exploring Scotland’s Culture 2016-2021 is co-produced by Thinking Media Scotland (which hosted a series of talks on media and the Iraq war last year) and journalist and author Christopher Silver, in association with Abertay University.
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