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Fervour of Scottish referendum campaigns captured in archive exhibition

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The excitement of the campaign for a Scottish Parliament in the second half of the twentieth century is captured in a new exhibition opening at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum on Friday 27 April.

Democracy for Scotland: The Referendum Experience contains an interesting collection of pieces from the collections of the Scottish Political Archive (SPA), based at the University of Stirling.

The exhibition chronicles the history behind the two devolution referendums of 1979 and 1997 and explores the nature of the Yes and No campaigns for both referendums, looking at their results and the re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament.

Democracy for Scotland features referendum campaign materials including leaflets, pamphlets, posters and badges deriving from all the major political parties and umbrella groups.  It also offers visitors the opportunity to hear the voices of politicians and campaigners discussing their experiences of the referendums of ’79 and ‘97, the intervening period and the establishment of a Scottish Parliament.

The SPA is dedicated to collecting oral and other material relating to the political history of Scotland in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

SPA Director Peter Lynch said: “This exhibition which explores the nature of the 1979 and 1997 devolution referendums could not be timelier. The issues raised at the two previous referendum campaigns have enormous contemporary significance for the proposed referendum in 2014.”

The exhibition, which will be opened by East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani on Friday 27 April, will be on display at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum until 10 June 2012.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the SPA is hosting a series of lectures at the Smith throughout May 2012.

Speakers include former MP and MSP Dennis Canavan, former Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion and author James Robertson.  For further details please visit

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