A programme of local exhibitions, events and screenings has been developed to accompany the project. Videos and images relating to each encounter can be found under each section.


Project led by playwright Martin O’Connor

What does the world of work mean to Scots today? Coinciding with the fortieth anniversary of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ Work-in of 1971-72, present-day Clydesiders were inspired by Jimmy Reid’s ideas and oratory to create a dramatic community performance next to the site of the former John Brown’s Shipyard in Clydebank.


Project led by artist Kevin Reid

Scotland changed forever after the Act of Union, or did it? Contemporary Highlanders, including students, army veterans and new recruits explored the Union’s legacy and the implications of the rebellions against it, by forging metal emblems to represent their present-day identities.


Project led by artist Catherine Weir

St. Columba’s conversion of the Picts to Christianity is one of the turning points of Scottish history. Young people on Skye investigated sites on the island associated with the Saint’s mission and assessed the nature of their own belief and the presence of faith in society today.

Civil War

Project led by artist Sarah Forrest

The religious wars of the seventeenth century were bloody affairs leaving graves and monuments scattered on the moors and hills of southwest Scotland to mark these ‘Killing Times’. We asked local young people to investigate these sites, associated with a divisive conflict that shaped our nation, to find out how these struggles related to challenges in their own lives.


Project led by musician Drew Wright aka Wounded Knee

Migrants from across the world who live in Scotland, described their experiences in this country by creating songs which fuse traditional idioms from their homelands with Scottish folk songs. Collaborating with musician and songwriter Drew Wright (aka Wounded Knee), they present a fresh perspective on Scotland’s future path and give us the gift, in Robert Burn’s words, ‘tae see oursels as ithers see us’.


Historians’ Debate

Following the exhibition opening in October 2103, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery hosted a panel debate entitled Destiny or Design: Does Scotland’s Past Determine its Future?

Chaired by journalist and broadcaster Magnus Linklater, and featuring novelist James Robertson and historians Professor Michael Lynch and Dr Catriona McDonald, this debate asked the panellists to share their views on how historical forces and events influence Scots today and how culture and heritage are instrumental in shaping society. A recording of the event can be heard below.