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The Division of Communications, Media and Culture, University of Stirling organised a European Awareness Day (EAD), which took place from Tuesday 13 – Wednesday 14 June 2017. We have organised two showings of the music recital ‘Europe: What a Passion!’ at the Albert Halls, Stirling. The recital, narrating the history of the European Union since World War II to current crisis and unpredictable future, was followed by a roundtable discussion between esteemed experts and the audience.

evento Stirling videoclip

The first performance on Tuesday 13 June at 7.30pm was aimed at the general public and took place with a welcome speech by Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe.

The roundtable speakers included:

  1. - Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe;
  2. - Prof. Andrew Scott, Professor of European Union Studies and Dean International (Europe), University of Edinburgh and Member of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe;
  3. - Francesco Pigozzo, Director of Education and Communication, CesUE, Italy;
  4. - Dr. Alenka Jelen-Sanchez, AwarEU Coordinator, University of Stirling.

 

The second recital on Wednesday 14 June at 10.00am was aimed at university and college staff and students from both higher and further education institutions, journalists, representatives of the European institutions, trade unions and other interested stakeholders and citizens. It was opened by Prof Richard Oram, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling.

The roundtable speakers included:

  1. - Graham Blythe, Head of Office of the European Commission Office in Scotland;
  2. - Anthony Salamone, Research Fellow and Strategic Advisor, Scottish Centre on European Relations;
  3. - Francesco Pigozzo, Director of Education and Communication, CesUE, Italy;
  4. - Dr. Alenka Jelen-Sanchez, AwarEU Coordinator, University of Stirling.

 

Both events provided a great opportunity to promote the Virtual Learning Environment on contemporary European issues.

The University of Stirling’s production team recorded the events.

Promotion and invitations

The event was widely promoted on key websites and platforms in central Scotland and European websites, including:

  1. - Albert Halls website
  2. - University of Stirling’s weekly newsletter and website
  3. - Communications, Media and Culture Division at the University of Stirling blog
  4. - Facebook pages (University of Stirling, Albert Halls and EAD profiles)
  5. - Scotland Europa website
  6. - Stirling Council website
  7. - what’s on Stirling website
  8. - What’s on Glasgow website

 

Email invitations (with subsequent reminder before the event) were sent to:

  1. - Universities in the Central Belt of Scotland (University of Stirling, University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Strathclyde, The Glasgow School of Art, Heriot-Watt University, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Edinburgh, University of Dundee, Abertay University)
  2. - Colleges (Forth Valley College, Perth College and colleges in Glasgow)
  3. - High schools in Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire and Lothian regions
  4. - All the consulates and embassies in Scotland
  5. - European institutions (European Commission and European Parliament representatives in Scotland)
  6. - MEPs offices
  7. - Teacher and University & College trade unions in Scotland
  8. - Stirling Council (provost and individual councillors)
  9. - Scottish Government (Michael Russell’s, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe)
  10. - Creative Scotland
  11. - Scotland Europa
  12. - European Movement in Scotland and Young European Movement in Scotland
  13. - Civil initiatives and movements (including Yes Stirling, Women for Independence, EU citizens for independent Scotland)
  14. - Local branches of all political parties (SNP, Labour, Conservative)
  15. - Scottish Centre on European Relations
  16. - The Educational Institute of Scotland
  17. - Local and national print, broadcast and online media (Scotsman, The Herald, Evening Times, BBC Scotland, STV, The National, Daily Record, The Guardian, The Times, The Scottish Sun, Stirling Observer, Alloa Advertiser, Edinburgh Evening News, Wings Over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, The Conversation). The media was also invited to the event by Michel Russell’s MSP Office.

 

The invitation to attend the European Awareness Day was further circulated through Scottish Centre on European Relations, the Educational Institute of Scotland, Scotland Europa and European Movement in Scotland mailing lists.

Audience feedback

We have received a fantastic audience feedback. In general, they have found the musical excellent, enjoyable, entertaining, energising, evocative and a very innovative way to inform people of the history of the EU and raise awareness of the EU, particularly in the UK. The event was seen as very timely and relevant to recent political events. Several participants expressed a regret that these kind of initiatives did not take place before the Brexit vote and left an event with a feeling of impending loss brought by the Brexit vote.

The choice of the songs was excellent and most people enjoyed the discussion after the music recital. They also thought the discussion could have left more opportunity for questions and could perhaps be shorter. Some participants felt that the music recital could perhaps be better adapted to a Scottish/UK audience that is less likely to be enthusiastic about the EU.

Here are some of the testimonials from the audience:

We were mesmerised. They loved the topics discussed and they said that Europe needs more people like you. So, thank you for this great opportunity.

Great performance, amazing singer, nice link of history and performance, actually managed to convey historical information in addition to the songs. I particularly liked the mix of education and music, how it managed to playfully teach EU history.

I really liked it. I think it was a quite innovative way to weave together such a complex story that is the creation of the EU. I would say that having the roundtable was a great way to conclude the recital.

Well crafted recital. Very creative and musical, yet easy to understand. It was nice to see that some important issues are being debated, by people that know the reality of what is happening in the EU today. The music selected was very good. Well done. The roundtable was very very interesting, given its focus on current events. Very interesting and current given what is happening in the EU today.

Overall great in raising awareness and how it was structured with two diverse activities. I would recommend to anyone that has an active interest in current affairs and politics.

I thought that this event was very interesting and thought provoking at points, the performances were very well executed and took you on a journey of how Europe has evolved and changed throughout the years. I have just turned 18 and found it very educational. I wasn't old enough to vote in Brexit and wasn't fully aware as to what it was, however this has gave me a stronger understanding of the topic and I have as result been able to participate in debates between my friends and family, which has since opened me up to having so many questions and feeling keen to learn more about politics.

Stakeholder meeting

Stakeholder meeting that followed the music recital on 14 June at the University of Stirling was very well attended by the key players in the EU affairs in Scotland very well and received. It brought together the following stakeholders:

  1. 1. Alenka Jelen-Sanchez, AwarEU Coordinator, University of Stirling
  2. 2. Francesco Pigozzo, CesUE
  3. 3. Daniela Martinelli, CesUE
  4. 4. Paolo Barillari, CesUE Teatro
  5. 5. Michela Ciusani, CesUE Teatro
  6. 6. Graham Blythe, Head of the European Commission, Office in Scotland
  7. 7. Ines Ezzeddine, European Commission, Office in Scotland
  8. 8. Richard Buxbaum, Europa Senior Executive, Scotland Europa
  9. 9. Anthony Salamone, Scottish Centre on European Relations
  10. 10. Bill Rodger, Treasurer of European Movement in Scotland
  11. 11. Timothy-John Marsden, Young European Movement Edinburgh
  12. 12. Bisse Anderson, EUCIS Media Director (EU citizens for independent Scotland)
  13. 13. Irene Reid, University of Stirling
  14. 14. Derek Hodge, UCU representative, University of Stirling

 

The participants discussed feedback on the European Awareness Day, experiences and challenges with communicating EU in Scotland, particularly after the Brexit vote, implications of the vote for Scotland and UK in general, ideas for future educational and awareness projects and ideas for future collaborations as well as the Virtual Learning Environment.

The participants found the meeting very useful in terms of networking, future collaborations, debating the issue of Scotland post-Brexit and discussing ways to raise cultural awareness of the EU in Scotland.

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