Monday 29 June
- Introduction to visit by Professor Stephen McKinney, University of Glasgow
- Internationalization and the University of Glasgow by Dr. Alan Britton
- Addressing intercultural Issues: Portfolio of Integration and Education for Diversity by Dr. Hazel Crichton
- Children’s Literature and literacies By Dr. Evelyn Arizpe
Introduction to visit by Professor Stephen McKinney, University of Glasgow provided an overview of the five-day visit. This presentation explained the significance of the activities and their relation to acquiring a greater knowledge and understanding of intercultural education. The five-day visit was designed to provide insights into the historical, political, sociological, religious, cultural and educational dimensions of the ways in which new arrivals (or migrants) are welcomed to Scotland and aided to integrate into Scottish society and how this can inform intercultural education.
After this, a series of presentations were focused on the educational dimension. The presentations highlighted some of the intercultural work that is undertaken in the School of Education, University of Glasgow. Dr. Alan Britton, the lead of Internationalization in the School, explained the international outreach of the School and the College of Social Sciences. Dr. Hazel Crichton explained some of the Research and Knowledge exchange projects that have been pursued in the School of Education in the past few years. These included the The Portfolio of Integration which was an international project (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Scotland, Poland) that examined the ways in which the needs of migrant or new arrival children could be addressed in school education in their new context. The international dimension of the project provided a variety of situations and migrant children from different national and religious backgrounds. Picture 1 depicts the participants at this session.
Dr. Evelyn Arizpe provided an overview of the work that is undertaken in the School of Education in the Master’s programme (and doctoral research) on children’s literacies, story-books and picture books and the intercultural dimension of this in terms of the international student cohort and the use of picture books in different national and cultural contexts. The pictures below (pictures 2 and 3) are of Dr. Arizpe presenting to the participants and the participants.
This was an important overview of the five days and it provided the introduction and set a valuable tone for the visit.
The delegates had a late lunch and the first day continued with the educational dimension and then progressed to the University library where they were able to examine the extensive Soviet Studies collection (one of the leading collections in the world outside the Russian Federation). The participants greatly enjoyed this and spent some considerable time examining the books and journals on display. They were delighted to find that some of the more specialized Russian journal relevant to their academic disciplines were available in the university library.
The library staff had also arranged a private exhibition of some rare Russian books and resources held in the University Special Collection.
These included rare copies of Russian bibles from the Middle Ages and two very special documents that were of significant historical interest. The first was a letter from two Russians asking Adam Smith, the renowned economist, to accept them as doctrinal students. The second was a matriculation card for a Russian student who studied in Glasgow and was later suspected of being one of those who plotted the assassination of Rasputin. This historical dimension augmented the educational dimension and demonstrated the international reach of the University of Glasgow in the 18th to 20th centuries.
This visit was followed by a tour of the interfaith chaplaincy of the University, adding a religious dimension to the first day. The official University chaplain explained that the chaplaincy buildings were available for use by students and staff of all faiths and denominations. This respects and accommodates the great diversity of the staff and student population of the University, especially the Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jewish, Muslim and Sikhs.
Wednesday 1 July
On this day, the participants were transported to Edinburgh and taken to various venues in Edinburgh. There were two main visits on this day: first to the Scottish Parliament and secondly to the National Museum of Scotland. The day began with a tour of the Scottish Parliament, the seat of the Scottish Government that has some devolved powers for the governance of Scotland. This introduced a strong political dimension to the visit. The participants were also able to view the museum contained within the Parliament building that highlighted the history of the parliament and outlines the extent of the devolved powers. This museum also demonstrated the vision of a Scotland that is inclusive of all people. The participants were then able to access the debating chamber from the gallery and have an eye-witness view of the set up of the chamber and some idea of the scale of the Parliament. The participants found this experience fascinating and very relevant given the global coverage of the recent referendum in Scotland and the implications for the future of the country.http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/
The second visit was to the national museum of Scotland which addressed all of the dimensions of the visit: historical; political; sociological; religious; cultural and educational. The museum has many important exhibits including ones on world cultures and Scottish history and archeology. This highlighted the international outreach of Scotland and the long and varied history of the country and the variety of peoples who have inhabited the land.
After a late lunch, there were optional visits to Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Grassmarket (historical and cultural dimensions) before the return journey to Glasgow.
Thursday 2 July
The fourth day of the visit was concentrated in Glasgow and all of the dimensions were highlighted: historical; political; sociological; religious; cultural and educational. This day focused on some of the major religious groups in the Glasgow area: Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Jews and Muslims are two very important groups in Glasgow and Scotland because the vast majority belong to migrant families or are themselves new arrivals in Scotland. The day began with a visit to the oldest extant synagogue in Glasgow: Garnethill synagogue. http://garnethill.org.uk/
At this synagogue, the participants were given a guided tour and an extensive history of the Jewish community in Glasgow. The Jewish historian pointed out that a number of the early Jewish migrants in the late 19th century/early 20th century were of Russian origin. Picture 13 depicts the verification of the Russian citizenship of some Jewish settlers in Glasgow. Pictures 14- 18 depict the participants visiting the Archives
She also explained how the Jews had become established in Glasgow and had become integrated into Scottish society and culture. The lengthy tour included a visit to the Kosher kitchen, the Scottish Jewish Archives, the small museum of Jewish culture. The small museum showcased work by well known Jewish artists with a connection to Glasgow and Scotland: Benno Schotz and Hannah Frank The visit concluded with a visit to the synagogue itself – where some old versions of the Torah were on display.
The visit to the synagogue was complemented by the next visit to Glasgow Central Mosque, one of the largest custom-built mosques in Western Europe. The participants were provided with a guided tour of the building, which included the clocks for times for prayer, main prayer hall and the washing room. The tour was highly informative and the guide described the history of the Muslim community in Scotland and the integration of the Muslim community in Glasgow and Scottish society and also some of the challenges faced by the Muslim community. There was also an opportunity to meet some of the leading figures in the Mosque and engage in more informal discussions. Picture 21 depicts the participants gathered round the clocks; Picture 22 depicts the participants in the washing room of the Mosque. Picture 23 depicts the participants in the prayer hall. Picture 24 depicts professor Tatiana Tregubova engaging in informal discussion with one of the Mosque officials.
The next visit was to the People’s Palace Museum in Glasgow Green which provided a sociological, cultural and historical overview of life in Glasgow for the participants. This Museum is quite unique in that it is focused on the lives of people in Glasgow from the 18th to 29th centuries. Among the many exhibits of the aspects of the daily lives of the inhabitants of the city were examples of the impact of migration: the Irish, the Italians, the Asians. This provided concrete examples of the effects of migration e.g. the Irish involved in heavy industry and shipbuilding in the 19th and 20th centuries; the Italians involved with the catering industry (ice cream, fish and chips, restaurants and the Asians involved in transport, health work, retail and catering in the 20th century.
The final visits of the day were to St Mungo’s Cathedral and the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. The participants were divided into small groups for guided tours of the Cathedral. The Cathedral was founded in 1197 and spans the history of the medieval church, the Reformation and the contemporary scene. The Cathedral has been in constant use since its foundation and is one of the few examples of a medieval church in Scotland that is intact and still in use. The St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art is relatively new, founded in 1989, but has a very important role to play in raising public awareness of the world’s major religions and the impact of these religions in Glasgow and in Scotland. This museum charts the contemporary history of multicultural and multi-faith Scotland and Glasgow. Picture 25 depicts some of the participants at the cathedral.
Friday 3 July
The final day consisted of a half day of activities that addressed the historical, sociological, religious, cultural and educational dimensions. The first event was a talk and discussion led by Rakesh Lakhanpal who works as an interpreter in Glasgow. He can speak a number of Indian dialects and works in hospitals, medical centres, government offices and courts translating for people who do not have a sufficient grasp of the English language. He explained that new arrivals have to negotiate a new language but also a new culture and social mores and a different religious context. His talk prompted a very interesting discussion about the challenges that new arrivals face on entering a new country that has a different language, culture and religion. Picture 26 is of Rakesh and the participants.
The next part of the day was devoted to a tour of the main campus of the university which is a major international university that is part of the Russell Group. The final activity was a visit to internationally renowned Kelvingrove Art Gallery and museum. The museum has an extensive collection and includes a wide selection of art and artifacts that are representative of many parts of the world including America, Asia, South Asia and Oceania. The visit to the museum enabled the participants to acquire some insight into the history of Scotland, and in particular Glasgow which has a long history of links with other parts of the world through colonialism, through close links with the East India Trading company, through the tobacco and linen trades and heavy industry – especially ship building. Picture 27 depicts some of the participants at the main campus of the university.