The project was about raising awareness among South Asian women of and promoting key elements of Scottish Heritage.
The country’s past and present have shaped and influenced contemporary culture, and there are many everyday references to history and traditions that are unfamiliar to those from elsewhere. To fully engage with and understand the culture around them, it would help those who are not brought up in Scotland if they could get an overview of Scottish heritage and explore it for themselves; and for the NKS groups in particular, the links between Scottish and Asian heritage would be of interest. The presence of South Asians in Scotland, Scots in Asia, and the crossover of the two cultures is not just a post-war phenomenon, but dates back hundreds of years.
NKS worked in partnership with agencies which had specialist knowledge in Scottish heritage. The project partners provided specialist information on Scottish heritage divided into three areas which were – art, culture and history. Some of the themes covered here were: Scotland as a Celtic country – the Gaelic culture was explored through music, art forms and language; Rosslyn Chapel – Heritage and Culture supported in educating about Scottish history and Edinburgh – UNESCO World Heritage Site was another option that was explored. Museums such as the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Royal Museum of Scotland were visited.
The participants were divided up in to three groups with each one focussing on art, culture or history. They got together and explored various ways of learning about multicultural Scotland. They did this by doing internet research and visiting libraries, museums and castles etc. NKS also invited guest speakers to come and talk to the participants. Each group was led by a specialist in the area and coordinated by a group coordinator. Once the research was done, each group wrote a page of the leaflet that could be a guide to the trail that was the culmination of the project. A small exhibition took place at NKS for people to come and see what happened in this project.
· The primary aim of the project was to educate and raise awareness among the people of multicultural Scotland and oneness of cultures by exploring common thread that exist among all cultures in Scotland.
· Another aim was to celebrate diversity and promote equality.
· A further aim was to promote integration through information and participation.
· The project also aimed to promote Scottish heritage among the communities.
· NKS aimed to raise awareness of Scottish history and the history of the city of Edinburgh.
The idea came from members of various groups at NKS through needs assessment. The main interest shown was to gain information about various cultures in Scotland and work towards integration through confidence building via information and knowledge about the place where we live. Understanding Scottish heritage helped people to understand modern day Scotland better, and allowed them to feel more integrated. A range of options was discussed in groups – holding information days, conducting workshops and inviting guest speakers to talk about Scottish history and culture. It was agreed after consultation to focus on raising awareness of multicultural Scotland and promoting equality and diversity issues by exchanging information about different cultures in Scotland.