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Video: Gerry Hassan on Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland

Video by Stuart Platt of Gerry Hassan’s 16th April 2014 talk at CHE in Govan on his latest book Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland

We are pleased to have Gerry Hassan joining us at the next in our series of public talks. Gerry will be sharing the ideas contained in his new book, ‘Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland’. Join us for an evening exploring Scotland’s radical stories and future.

About ‘Caledonian Dreaming: The Quest for a Different Scotland’
Caledonian Dreaming examines the state of contemporary Scotland, the context of the independence referendum, what it means and its wider consequences. It challenges some of the central assumptions of public life and politics and identifies six myths that define modern Scotland – from the notion that it is a land of egalitarianism to the idea of educational opportunity and that power is regularly held to account.

Hassan analyses the strange condition of the United Kingdom – a place of increasing inequality, right-wing politics and limited democracy – and one with a growing obsession with celebrating and manufacturing the past. He forensically examines the shortcomings of Scottish society – from the ‘missing Scotland’ of voters disconnected from public life to the collusion of Labour and SNP on most issues bar independence.

Yet while Britain’s political classes and elites are unwilling or unable to challenge the current state of the UK, Scotland has the potential to become a modern, progressive, democratic country – aided by the creative energies and passions unleashed by the independence question.

Hassan critiques many of the prevailing ways of thinking about Scotland and politics – from that of ‘official Scotland’ to the left, nationalists and ‘civic Scotland’. He concludes that the conventional ways of doing politics and social change are increasingly being challenged, and that in places, a culture of self-determination is emerging which offers the prospect of a very different Scotland.

“An intelligent, brave and much needed contribution to the debate around the referendum in Scotland” Elaine C Smith
“This is a remarkable book – balanced and brave, insightful and incisive, intelligently blending the personal and the political.” Sue Palmer, Author, Toxic Childhood

About Gerry Hassan

Gerry Hassan is a writer, commentator and thinker about Scotland, the UK, politics and ideas. Hailed by the Sunday Herald as ‘Scotland’s main public intellectual’ , Gerry has written and edited a dozen books in the last decade on Scotland and the wider world: from the setting up of the Parliament, to its record, policy, indepth studies of the Labour Party and SNP, and looking at how we imagine the future. Gerry’s activities include facilitating events, discussions and conversations which bring people together in Scotland and across the world.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/429294220506351

Beyond Post-Politics and ‘Soft’ Urban Fixes: Developing A Politics of Space- with Neil Gray

Beyond Post-Politics and ‘Soft’ Urban Fixes: Developing A Politics of Space- with Neil Gray
Wednesday 5th March 6.30pm The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Rd, Glasgow G51 3UU (near Govan underground station)
Join us for our latest ‘library chat’, an informal roundtable conversation in the convivial surroundings of our library in the Pearce Institute.
There will be space and time for general discussion and input from all participants. Light refreshments provided.Please email info@che.ac.uk to confirm attendance. RSVP essential.
Neil Gray is a writer, researcher and filmmaker based in Govan, Glasgow. His work critically analyses the mobilisation of creativity and sustainability ‘fixes’ in development strategies via a focus on the urbanization of capital and the politics of space. He is currently developing the idea of ‘territorial inquiry’ as a means of militant co-research adapted for urban life. He is contributing editor for Variant, has written regularly for Mute, and is part of The Strickland Distribution, ‘an artist-run group supporting the development of independent research in art-related and non-institutional practices’. He is currently completing a PhD at the University of Glasgow.

CHE Library Chats

Upcoming events

Wed 15th January 2014, 6.30pm: Walton Pantland – “Alternative currencies – can we create our own money to build local economies that sustain us?”

Wed 5th February 2014, 6.30pm: Mike McCarron – “Citizens’ Basic Income – time for Scotland to take a lead”


Events are free – donations are welcome – and there will be tea and coffee.

If you’re interested in attending, please register at info@che.ac.uk , thanks!

Location: CHE Library, The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Rd, G513UU



Welcome to the CHE Library Chats: Every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month, we gather in the CHE library for a range of stimulating conversations in a convivial atmosphere. Various guests have offered to share their ideas*.

Part of the Centre for Human Ecology’s contribution to Govan Folk University is to develop the CHE’s own library as a community resource. As a first step, the CHE library will open its doors for a series of events, where members of the local community in and around Govan are invited  to meet new people, browse books, and reflect on issues of our times.





*The framework for the library chats invites informal sharing to stimulate discussions; views expressed by guests are not necessarily endorsed by the CHE.

Guest post from Training for Transformation delegation


CHE graduate Dan Glass is participating in the Training for Transformation workshop in South Africa. In this personal guest post, he shares his experience and some of what’s been happening:

Dear CHE Family, thanks to all the support from you – the Training for Transformation (TfT) delegation in South Africa which we started in October 2012 is coming to completion and we are becoming more and more driven to support positive social change in our communities. The TfT programme, based on the principles of popular education, involves spending a year developing a new generation of leaders who are self-motivated and whose thinking and practice is grounded in communities’ realities. Through meeting incredible fearless community activists from across Africa and beyond, we are linking local and national initiatives to the global civic movement for international justice. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity connect with such incredible minds and souls, whom are pioneers in the field of HIV justice, women’s work, anti-Apartheid organising, alternative economics and so much more. TfT has nourished the belly of movements for justice all over the world. Starting with Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, who along with others helped start TfT to Abahlali – the South African Shack Dwellers Movement to Mamelani ‘listen up!’ in South Africa, the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) and many more know the magic of TfT.


Here are the tools for transformation that we learnt – ‘the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’


Verene Nicolas – mail@verenenicolas.org www.verenenicolas.org

Verene hopes she can continue to input on the Training for Transformation course in the future as she always finds the experience soul nourishing.

Amreeta Kaur – amreet99@hotmail.com

Thanks to TfT I am rich with knowledge and support around identifying community needs as well as theory around how to make positive social change possible. This has led me to start up a social enterprise called ‘Bridges out of Poverty and Getting Ahead’ within the Govan area of Glasgow.

Maria Latumahina – maria.latumahina@gmail.com

Over the coming year I am bringing in TfT methodology in a systematic manner to develop a strong alliance of community change agents and building community-government partnerships in Papua.

Dan Glass – alright@theglassishalffull.co.uk www.theglassishalffull.co.uk