About Me

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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Monday, 14 December 2009

When is a Christmas card NOT a Christmas Card?

Thoroughly enjoying the debate stirred up by Joan McAlpine in her Sunday Times column/blog and facebook page over the use of a painting by Scottish artist Gerard Burns as First Minister Alex Salmond's Christmas card image.
Joan has a definite leaning towards independence for Scotland and is very straightforward in her views. She always manages to write in a measured way about controversial subjects.
Salmond has been accused of trying to politicise Christmas by former Scottish Conservative leader, David McLetchie. Apparently we have all been sent a subliminal message by the First Minister, even if we aren't on his Christmas card list. There is talk of fascist overtones...
Gerard Burns (http://www.gerardmburns.com/) even joined in the debate on facebook, with an interesting aside about how he has been amazed in the past at how much viewers read into his work, particularly his figurative work, drawing from their own experience in the process.
Gerard is right, but I suspect he is not unaware of the instant power of an image such as this to move people in a certain direction.
Likewise, Alex Salmond, who has a neat way with a visual sound-bite is not averse to harnessing the strength of an iconic image - and provoking a heated debate along the way.


  1. Ooh, can we see a picture of the card?
    (word verification is mandio by the way...lol!)

  2. No sooner said than done Keren. You're quick off the mark!
    I put offending/uplifting (depending on your viewpoint) pic at top of blog too, but that piece of editing clearly didn't work in blogoland. Word verification? mandio? Que?

  3. Oh, an PS, here's more on the debate from Duncan MacMillan, writing in today's Scotsman:
    This is Joan's column from yesterday's Sunday Times:
    And here's a link to Gerard Burns' own website... he's started a blog on it on which he's made a comment

  4. I think it's absolutely gorgeous. I'd have it as my CHristmas card and I'm not even Scottish.I'll have to read the debate though.

    Small point, but I do find your blog a little difficult to navigate. Is there any way the new posts could appear at the top?

  5. Don't thin k the Gerard Burns link works - can you embed in the main blog post text?

  6. Keren, I've rejigged things a bit... any better?


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