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Expert panel announced for Commemorative Plaque scheme

20 November 2012

Historic Scotland has confirmed the membership of the independent panel of experts who will choose the recipients winners of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme for 2012.

The experts will assess all the nominations submitted before the 12th October deadline and will decide on a maximum of 12 plaques which will be awarded to significant historic figures in Scotland.

The annual Scheme, launched in August by Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop will recognise the contribution of recipients to Scottish society through the erection of a plaque on their home where they lived, or the building that was particularly synonymous with their achievements.

The Scheme will have an annual theme.  This year’s theme will mark the contribution of figures from the arts and creative fields to coincide with the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

The panel’s membership represents a broad cross-section of expertise and disciplines who are well placed to decide on the worthy recipients of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme.  A new membership panel of experts will be selected each year in order to reflect the annual theme

The panel will consist of:

  • Jim Tough, Executive Director, The Saltire Society.
  • Professor Seona Reid, Director, Glasgow School of Art
  • Dr Fiona Watson, Historian/Broadcaster, Dundee University
  • Professor Graham Caie, Vice President, The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Dr Jenny Wormald, Historian, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Gary West, Historian/Musician/Broadcaster, Senior Lecturer in Scottish Ethnology and Scottish Historical Studies  

Fiona Hyslop said: “I am pleased that we have such an esteemed panel of experts to assess the applications for the Commemorative Plaque Scheme.

“The plaques will celebrate the lives of the people who have made an important contribution to Scotland’s fascinating history and heritage.  I am sure that the expert panel will have a challenging task on their hands considering Scotland has a wealth of creative talent in a wide range of disciplines.”

Nominations for the Commemorative Plaques for 2012 have closed.  

For information:

Dr Fiona Watson, Historian
An honorary research fellow in History at the University of Dundee, having been a senior lecturer in History and director of the Centre for Environmental History at the University of Stirling until 2006. She now writes, presents radio programmes and works as curator in Abbot House, a heritage centre in Dunfermline, as well as still teaching at Dundee.

Originally her work focused on the wars of independence between Scotland and England in the 13th and 14th centuries, but most recently Fiona has published a book on the real Macbeth, king of Scots between 1040 and 1058. This research forms the basis of the level 4 course which she teaches in Dundee, introducing students to the intriguing world of early medieval Scotland.

At various points over the last ten years, Dr Watson has been: managing editor of Environment and History; UK representative to the European Society for Environmental History; Member of Council, Worldwide Fund for Nature (Scotland); Organiser of the Woodland History Discussion Group; member of the Medieval or Later Rural Settlement steering group organised by Historic Scotland; member of the Historical Landscape Assessment Steering Group organised by the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland and Historic Scotland; member of the Scottish Records Advisory Council and a Director of Dunfermline Heritage Trust.

Jim Tough
Born in Glasgow and a graduate of Edinburgh University, he came to the arts via an earlier career in youth work and community learning. Working with and for the local community, he established the WHALE arts and learning project (Wester Hailes Arts for Leisure and Education) in Edinburgh. Achievements there included the development of an award winning venue during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and securing funding for a purpose built arts centre.

In 1998 he was appointed to the post of Combined Arts Director at the Scottish Arts Council, then became Director of Arts, during which time he studied for an MBA. He was appointed CEO in 2007 and supported the organisation through the changes that arrived at the formation of Creative Scotland. In 2010 he joined Arts Council England as Executive Director North and in that role and as a member of the Executive Board contributed to the most radical reconfiguration of the agency's investment in the arts since its formation. He has an strong interest in writing and has completed the Advanced Creative Writing course as part of ongoing studies for a BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University. Presently an Executive Director of the Saltire Society, he lives in the Scottish Borders.

Dr Gary West, Piper & Historian
Gary is a traditional musician, piper and broadcaster, and is currently Head of the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Dr West's research interests focus on Scotland's rural history, oral history, cultural representation and traditional music.

Dr Gary West learned his piping with the much acclaimed Vale of Atholl pipe band with whom he played for 18 years winning both the Scottish and European Championships. His teaching and research interests include issues of local and national identity; the history of Scottish music, revivals and oral history. Gary presents BBC Radio Scotland’s weekly specialist piping programme, Pipeline. He is in regular demand as a recording session player, and has performed on over 20 CDs. He is also a member of the board of Creative Scotland.

Professor Seona Reid
Director of Glasgow School of Art, a position she has held since 1999. Previously  Director of the Scottish Arts Council. In her earlier career she was Assistant Director (Strategy and Regional Development) of Greater London Arts; Director of Shape; Head of Public Relations at Ballet Rambert; Press and Publicity Officer at Northern Dance Theatre;  Business Manager, Lincoln Theatre Royal and a freelance arts consultant working with the Arts Council of Great Britain and the London Contemporary Dance Trust.

Ms Reid is a member of the Universities UK Creative Industries Project Steering Group, a member of the Universities Scotland Executive Committee and a Board member of Cove Park, an artist residency centre in Scotland. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Since April 2011 Seona has also been a Trustee for Scotland, and a Deputy Chair, of The National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Professor Graham Caie
Vice-President (arts and letters) of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland's National Academy of Science and Letters. He is currently vice-principal and clerk of senate of the University of Glasgow and deputy chair of the board of trustees of the National Library of Scotland. He also holds the chair of English language at Glasgow.

He was with the University of Copenhagen until 1990, professor and chair of English language at the University of Glasgow 1990 - (clerk of Senate and vice-princ 2008-).

Member: English Panel AHRC, Literature Committee SAC, Council Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, Boardd Scottish Language Dictionaries; panellist Research Assessment Exercise, vice-pres Scottish Text Soc, vice-chair Board and trustee Nat Library of Scotland.

Dr Jenny Wormald
A Scottish historian who studies late medieval and early modern Scotland. Jenny taught at the University of Glasgow between 1966 and 1985, and then St Hilda's College, University of Oxford, between 1985 and 2005. She has also held a variety of other posts during this time. Her most recognised  research has been on bloodfeud in early modern Scotland, but she has also produced a study of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. She is currently an Honorary Fellow in Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                               Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

Jennifer Johnston-Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956 866