‘Shared Heritage, Shared Future’ Connecting Spanish and Scottish Cultures Through History and Social Innovation
The Scottish charity People Know How (PKH) is coordinating a participative project in Edinburgh to unearth the historic bonds between Scotland and Spain by interviewing Scottish holidaymakers who visited Spain from the 1950s to the 1980s. PKH runs other projects to help people fulfil their potential including integrating the large Spanish-speaking community living in Scotland. The non-governmental organisation is now recruiting volunteers to help in this investigation.
“Shared Heritage, Shared Future” is the name of a new project based on the perceptions that Scottish holidaymakers had of Spain when they first travelled as part of the package holiday, since the late 1950s to the early 1980s.
The project will be delivered with heritage organisations such as the Cockburn Association, The Living Memory Association (THELMA) and other non-governmental organisations such as St Margaret’s House and will be covered by the bilingual magazine Cosmopolita Scotland.
One of the main features of this programme is the empowerment of people to conduct it, hence the name of this social innovation organisation People Know How. The NGO is now recruiting volunteers who would like to conduct social research. They will be fully trained in the process of interviewing and documenting. Volunteers will be responsible for conducting qualitative interviews, filming, photographing, organising exhibitions, and digitalising gathered information; especially peoples’ holiday snaps.
Two Changing Worlds
“Understanding common history is crucial in fully appreciating the foundations of this cross-cultural relationship between these two communities”, Glenn Liddall, Founder of PKH says to Cosmopolita Scotland.
This period is crucial for two main reasons: firstly, in Scotland, like in many other areas of Britain, the tourism industry for the first time, made accessible holidays abroad for the middle classes, through holiday packages, secondly, in Spain during the last twenty years of Franco’s regime (ended in 1975) tourist locations experienced a dramatic change in their traditional values due to the influence of Northern and Central Europeans tourists, as many academic studies have documented.
In 1969 the acclaimed film The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie reminded the Scottish audience of the strong connections between Scotland and Spain during the Civil War. In the second half of the 1930s many Scottish volunteers joined the International Brigades to resist Franco’s coup against the Spanish Republic.
The post-World War social structure in Scotland experienced a new welfare system. Meanwhile, in Spain, Franco’s regime was shifting from the catholic-extreme right wing ideology into a more neoliberal one, particularly in big cities like Barcelona and Madrid as well as in tourist locations. How aware were Scottish tourists of these changes? This and other questions will be explored in this investigation.
People Know How uses an educational approach and aims for social change by helping and supporting people to discover and develop their strengths and assets. “People Know How believes that people know how to identify their needs and the solutions that will help them fulfil their potential and solve social issues. Often, people don’t realise that they know how and that’s where we come in – unlocking ideas for a better future, today”, Miren Ochoa, from the Basque Country in Spain, and Office Manager, Training & Volunteer Co-ordinator of the organisation says.
PKH call this process social innovation and aims to support and empower people to mobilise their assets, get organised and fulfil their potential. This project falls within their “Connecting Cultures” theme.
Note: People Know How are awaiting hearing on funding to be able to go-ahead with all their plans. As they say – watch this space!