St Andrew's Day

A day of Scottish life and culture

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The speakers at the afternoon seminar. Left to right: Bill Dawson [chairman]; Dr Gary West, Professor David Purdie, Dr Rhona Brown, Dr Donald Smith, Dr John Davidson [president of Perth Burns Club].

The club's seventh annual Day of Scottish Life and Culture was held in The Soutar Theatre at the A. K. Bell Library, Perth on Saturday, November 28, 2010.

bill dawson

Bill Dawson who chaired the afternoon seminar.

Now recognised as Perth's major celebration of St Andrew's Day, the event commenced at 1pm [following a piping welcome from piper Martin Bristow] with a well-attended seminar which featured four leading Scottish academics and personalities who each presented 40-minute lectures on various aspects of the culture of Scotland.

Club president Dr John Davidson welcomed the company and introduced the chairman for the afternoon, Mr Bill Dawson, a past president of Perth Burns Club and also a past president of the Robert Burns World Federation.

Speakers and performers

dr donald smith

Dr Donald Smith

The first speaker was the acclaimed Scottish writer and social historian Dr Donald Smith, director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, with a riveting talk entitled "Spirits of Place: Scotland's Environment; Our Identity". Dr Smith's eloquent prose was interspersed with a number of ballads emphasising the importance of place in story and song.

dr gary west

Dr Gary West

He was followed by Dr Gary West, head of the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh and presenter of the BBC Radio Scotland's weekly specialist piping programme "Pipeline".

Dr West's powerpoint presentation entitled "Pipers Without Kilts: Survival and Revival in the Scottish Lowland Bagpipe Tradition" explored the recent resurgence in this understated branch of Scottish piping, and finished with a fine demonstration of the art.

dr rhona brown

Dr Rhona Brown

Following a short tea and coffee break, Dr Rhona Brown, a lecturer in the Department of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow, took a look at the Scottish 18th century poet Robert Fergusson and his relationship with the periodical press, particularly Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine where most of his poetry was first published.

Dr Brown is the author of a new book on the life and works of Fergusson, and stressed how much of an inspiration he was to Robert Burns.

prof david purdie

Prof David Purdie

The final speaker of the afternoon was Professor David W. Purdie from Edinburgh, a former consultant gynaecologist and now an internationally renowned public speaker and a speech writer to many of the UK's public and sporting figures.

He is also an honorary member of Perth Burns Club. Professor Purdie enthralled the audience with his powerpoint presentation which drew parallels between the three major Enlightenments of Athens, Florence and Edinburgh, and explained the connections between the Perthshire-born philosopher, historian and social scientist Adam Ferguson and other leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment.


Gaberlunzie in full flow at the evening concert.

The celebrations continued at the same venue at 7.30pm with a concert featuring the legendary Scottish folk duo, Gaberlunzie.

The show was a complete sell-out with a capacity audience of 125 crammed into the theatre to enjoy an evening of the finest traditional Scottish music and song.