Kirkintilloch High hosts Thomas Muir Festival Symposium


Tuesday, 14 November, 2017

This year's Thomas Muir Symposium has been hailed another sparkling success - focusing on the theme of ‘Scottish and English Radicals'.

The annual event - a popular part of the Thomas Muir Festival - was hosted by Kirkintilloch High School on 8th November.

A welcome was provided on behalf of East Dunbartonshire Council by Depute Provost Gary Pews, and another on behalf of Kirkintilloch High School by Captains Andrew Cullen and Jemma Maclachlan.

Principal speakers were Professor Gerard Carruthers (University of Glasgow), Professor Jon Mee (University of York) and Don Martin (local historian).

Professor Carruthers and Professor Mee both covered the impact of Scots on radical activity in London during the 1790s, while Prof. Carruthers also dealt with Scottish radical presence in Philadelphia and Paris.

In contrast, Don Martin described Thomas Muir’s impact at local level in Scotland, especially in Kirkintilloch.

Two Australian visitors in the audience were given time to explain how much Scottish radicalism is admired in Australia, where plans are already being laid to commemorate the bicentenary of the Scottish Insurrection of 1820.

Four pupils from Kirkintilloch High School provided a most interesting presentation that showed how the unfair conduct of Thomas Muir’s Trial, leading ultimately to farce, had parallels in the 20th-century trials of Adolf Hitler (1924) and Nelson Mandela (1964).

Presentations of relevant art projects and musical performances by pupils were scattered throughout the afternoon and culminated in a memorable rendition of ‘The Parting Glass’.

Councillor Gordan Low, Leader of the Council, thanked everyone for their attendance and participation.

Friends of Thomas Muir Organiser Jimmy Watson said: “We are delighted that this year’s symposium was such a success. It's a popular and thought-provoking fixture in the Festival calendar.

"Kirkintilloch High can be very proud of its talented pupils who helped to host this year’s event. Their contribution was the highlight of the afternoon.

"Next up is the East Dunbartonshire Schools Art Competition exhibition, which starts on the 18th November at the Thomas Muir Coffee Shop.

"Capercaillie's Karen Matheson will be performing at Cadder Parish Church on the 24th November and the Purple Poncho Parade are inviting people to join them on their fundraising walk of the Thomas Muir Heritage trail on the 25th November. All donations will go to Alzheimer’s Scotland."

Councillor Low commented, "Well done to Jimmy Watson and Don Martin for organising another excellent event. I'm pleased that East Dunbartonshire schools and young people are once again involved in celebrating Thomas Muir through a number of interesting and innovative events."

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