A photo exhibition exploring Scottish culture and legacy

September 09th, 2022
Maria Asklund, News from Berlin

For the 18th Europäische Kulturtage 2022, the photography collective Document Scotland is displaying their all-encompassing documentary photography at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen in Berlin-Zehlendorf.

In this exhibition, running from the 18th of August until the 19th of September, photographers Sophie Gerrard, Stephen McLaren, Colin McPherson and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert explore questions of belonging and history. Furthermore, the Scotland-born individuals forming the collective examine the diverse way of life in their country. Not only are their images a means to show the Scottish traditions, but also to show conflict. In this sense, the notion of identity is questioned. What is individual and what is collective?

In the light of cultural diplomacy, this is an important topic. What kind of culture do we take part in when we learn about another country’s customs and traditions? Document Scotland shows us a nuanced version of Scotland through their photos. Simultaneously, the collective doesn’t take a political stance, but still succeeds in showing us what unites Scots in modern-day Scotland while referring to political events. For example, one photograph shows a march for Scottish independency in Stirling, June 2018. As onlookers – whether British, German or non-European – we see humans in almost every photo and are thus brought closer to Scots themselves. Another photo is a more recent piece and shows a protest against the war in Ukraine in a square in Glasgow, March 2022. Gathered are protesters holding banners with slogans such as “Hands off Ukraine you bastard” and amidst the blue and yellow Ukrainian flags is a man playing a bagpipe. He too is wearing the colours of Ukraine and embodies an eclectic mixture of culture. Our conclusion from this photo; traditional Scottish culture can be Ukrainian as well.

For Berliners and foreigners who are interested in Scotland, this highly relevant exhibition offers guided tours, film screenings, lectures, workshops, music, food and drinks from the North British country. Its aim is to display a diverse image of the nation of Scotland, which is to be experienced through all senses. Being part of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the state-owned museums in Berlin, this exhibition is a great example of how a German museum displays other countries and cultures.

News from Berlin