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30/12/13 09:41

Scotland's Diaspora Tapestry

Project gets ready for Homecoming 2014 exhibitions

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited Cockenzie in East Lothian to see the progress of a tapestry which is engaging Scots emigrant communities from all around the world.

Known as The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, the completed work will consist of some 150 beautifully embroidered panels.

Today, the dates on which the tapestry will go on full display across the nation have been announced. The tapestry will be displayed as part of Homecoming Scotland 2014 and exhibit in locations including Stirling, Inverness, Edinburgh and East Lothian.

The design artist Andrew Crummy is responsible for turning the stories unearthed into 500mm x 500mm panels for stitching back in the countries involved.

Andrew welcomed Ms Hyslop to his studio and said:

“We’ve now sent out individual designs for each of the panels to the groups of stitchers in all 25 other countries involved in this project, including China, India, Canada, USA, Australia, Sweden, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and France.

“It’s fantastic to now see the completed tapestry coming together as volunteers from across the Scottish diaspora send back their completed works. I can’t wait for the public to see the completed display.

”Volunteers from Prestoungrange Arts Festival have been working with at least 400 embroiderers across the world in what organisers have hailed - the biggest community arts project ever undertaken in Prestonpans.

While at the studio Ms Hyslop met Professor Geoff Palmer who is featured on one of the panels. Professor Palmer was born in Jamaica but now lives in Scotland. A descendant of slaves owned by the Lamonds of Argyll, he is Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences of Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh and the first black professor in Scotland. In August 2011 he was made a Freeman of Midlothian.

Ms Hyslop said:

“It is great to see the progress that has been made on the Diaspora Tapestry and to hear about the important connections that have been made the world over – connections which reflect Scotland’s place in the world and stories which mirror the experiences and history of Scots and people of Scots decent everywhere.

“It has been fascinating to meet Professor Palmer and to see his story feature in this work of art. Clearly a project like this is a wonderful way to celebrate Scotland’s culture, to educate people about our diaspora communities and to give visitors yet another wonderful way to experience Scotland’s rich and varied history – during Homecoming 2014 and beyond.”

Members of the public will have the chance to view the Diaspora Tapestry for free as follows:

31st May - 8th June 2014
Prestonpans - Three Harbours Arts Festival
Prestonpans Community Centre

23rd June - 23rd July 2014
Stirling - MacRobert Centre, Stirling University

6th August - 31st August 2014
Edinburgh - St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral

6th September - 22nd September 2014
Paisley - Anchor Mill

27th September - 25th October 2014
Inverness - Museum & Art Gallery & Wick - St Fergus Gallery (split exhibition)
More details are available at

Notes to editors

Scotland will welcome the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 - providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run from 31 December 2013 to 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country.

Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage.

Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland.

To find out more visit

Further details are available from Gordon Prestoungrange at / 01604 858322 / 07928 526629 or Arran Johnston on /07758 089950.