Burns and Economic Recovery

Scotland’s leading cultural historian headlines the latest Spring into Burns event to support Robert Burns Ellisland Farm next week.  

Professor Murray Pittock, Pro Vice Principal of Glasgow University, will explain how Robert Burns can help support jobs and prosperity in his online talk: “The Poet as Economic Powerhouse”. 

Proceeds from the Wednesday evening event will help support the home designed and built by Burns near Dumfries, which was recently assessed as being of “Exceptional Significance” in a Historic Environment Scotland funded survey.

Professor Pittock will show how Mozart makes £5.6 billion for the Austrian economy, compared to the £203 million Scotland generates from Burns. His research also demonstrates that literary tourism and cultural heritage can benefit society in ways we are only just beginning to understand.

The Professor is currently a front runner for a prestigious award recognising academics whose work impacts on wider society. He is shortlisted as a 2022 Interface Knowledge Exchange Champion because his work on literary tourism has helped develop visitor experiences across Scotland. He sits on the Board of the National Trust for Scotland and led the University’s role as a partner in the transformation of Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.

His research on the economic impact of the poet Robert Burns secured two Scottish Parliament debates and persuaded the Scottish Government to commission him to produce an in depth study.

The result was Robert Burns in the Scottish Economy, which found the bard generated £203 million for Scotland through tourism, hospitality and entertainment – with everyone from haggis makers to hotels benefitting. The study also showed “Burns the Brand” was an under valued global marketing tool and Dumfriesshire, where the Bard spend his final years, lags behind Ayrshire in capitalising on his worth – despite some of his best known songs being written here, including Aye Fond Kiss, Auld Lang Syne and Red, Red Rose.

Joan McAlpine, Business Development Manager of The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust said Professor Pittock’s research was inspirational.

“We are really grateful that Murray is giving up his time to help us raise awareness and funds for Ellisland – he is such a busy man. His research has already inspired our trust to be really ambitious for the site and we want more people to hear his ideas and findings first hand.
“Murray’s report shows that if a region is seen as home to unique cultural treasures – and Ellisland definitely falls into that category – more people see it as a desirable place to live, work and even start a business. Exceptional heritage can enhance our sense of wellbeing and adds value to locally made products and services.”

Professor Pittock is also Bradley Professor of Literature at The University if Glasgow and author of books on a wide variety of topics. His Culloden was named as a Book of the Year by History Today and in 2018 he published the first ever scholarly edition of Robert Burns and James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum in two volumes.

He is currently working on The Global History of Scotland for Yale and is acting as General Editor of the Edinburgh Edition of Allan Ramsay, which received a major Arts and Humanities Research Council grant for 2018-23.

Professor Pittock will answer questions at the live event next Wednesday. Tickets can be purchased for just £3.00 plus booking fee via the following link.



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