I am very sad to be stepping down from the job of Director of British Council Scotland, after almost five, very enjoyable years working in Edinburgh.
Looking back, I am most proud of two things: the very positive relationship and alignment of purpose we have with the Scottish Government, and the high performing team that makes up British Council Scotland, with its impressive catalogue of successful projects and initiatives. If our mission is to promote Scottish culture and learning to the rest of the world, I feel we have worked hard to make that mission a reality.
I could list many high points, among which are: the visit of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq to Scotland; the Edinburgh International Culture Summits at the Scottish Parliament in 2012 and 2014; the fourteen projects that made up our culture programme for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow; the annual programme of visits by cultural leaders to the Edinburgh Festivals; the two, innovative Future NEWS conferences for aspiring young journalists; mapping the distinctive assets of Scotland’s HE sector; the creation of the Learners International website; and the shared posts we created with Universities Scotland, Education Scotland and Creative Scotland.
In all of these initiatives we sought to promote the diversity and unique character of Scotland’s cultural and educational assets, and simultaneously to ensure that we brought the best of international education and arts to Scotland. It’s been very exciting, both in the projects we’ve done, and as a time in Scotland’s history. The world’s eyes have been on Scotland, as young people became energised and politicised by the independence referendum. That energy and belief in the nation remains today.
I would like to thank everyone I’ve worked with in Scotland, for their warmth, their positive, contemporary outlook, and for making my time as Director Scotland so enjoyable and rewarding. As I said at the beginning, I will be very sad to leave, but I know British Council Scotland will continue to go from strength to strength.
I am delighted to be handing over as Director to Jackie Killeen, who comes from the Big Lottery Fund where she has been responsible for the Fund's work in Scotland as Director, Scotland, and for leading the development of a new strategic direction for the Fund's International Funding portfolio. I wish her all the best in her new role.