Reflecting on ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld

Our weekend Festival in the New Town of Cumbernauld came to a close on Sunday with an impassioned, energetic and galvanising debate on the past, present and future of the town in which local residents had a chance to share their views with panellists Diane Watters, Kirkland Ciccone, Adam Kaasa and chairperson Richard Holloway. Topics covered ranged from the necessity for an improved Town Centre to the differing experiences of each generation living in the area, and the audience in attendance was more than willing to speak its mind.

Discussion was at the heart of ReimagiNation, with the weekend opening on Friday morning with a live BBC Radio Scotland broadcast from the town in which host Stephen Jardine spoke with ReimagiNation participants as well as local residents and those of Scotland’s other New Towns.

A series of events with authors and artists drew crowds in across the weekend to hear about everything from iconic Scottish artists to gripping crime thrillers, tours on local history and architecture to workshops in the now unused Penthouse Flats above Cumbernauld Town Centre. In each of these the passion and curiosity of local residents was clear as they asked questions of authors and speakers and continued the discussions long after events concluded. We hosted free events specifically for Cumbernauld’s school pupils too, offering them the chance to experience the magic of the Book Festival on their doorstep.

One event, titled Overspilling: Cumbernauld Stories, marked the culmination of our months-long residency programme in the town. At this session, attended by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP, a group of CACE Older People Active Lives members read samples drawn from the life stories of local pensioners shared with author Daniel Gray over a number of weeks, while kids’ author Mike Nicholson read new fictions crafted by P5/6 pupils at four local primary schools – Carbrain, Kildrum, St Mary’s and St Margaret of Scotland.

We’d like to offer our thanks to everyone who attended and participated in what was an incredible weekend of culture and creativity. The event was produced in partnership with Culture NL and counted on the support of organisations such as CACE Older People Active Lives, Waterstones East Kilbride, Cumbernauld Community Forum, Cumbernauld Shopping Centre, the Edinburgh College of Art and many more besides. As part of the Book Festival’s Booked! programme, ReimagiNation is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Our ReimagiNation tour of Scotland’s New Towns continues in August in East Kilbride and Irvine – full details will be announced in June.

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