Showing posts with label aberdeen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aberdeen. Show all posts

Saturday 31 July 2021

The Oldest UK Universities

Edinburgh university founded 1583

My younger son was working down near Cambridge as an engineer, when a colleague asked him what kind of degree did he have from a mickey mouse university like Aberdeen anyway? (The cheek and ignorance!)  My English brother-in-law also used to talk of how England subsidized Scotland and that Scots were merely scroungers. I am tired of the English talking Scotland down! Why are we in such negative competition, rather than co-operating? Once Scots were leaders. 

I have visited Aberdeen campus several times and was highly impressed with the historic buildings, it was obvious Aberdeen was one of the worlds oldest universities, established 1495. So I thought I’d look at the UK’s oldest universities. 

What happened to those brave Scots who were leaders in the Empire 1700s, traders, explorers, inventers, innovators, educators, ship builders – when once we were partners? But no more. That all stopped over a century ago. When the British empire was established in the 1700s, they depended on the educated Scots as their bookkeepers, explorers, surveyors, scientists, philosophers, scholars, poets, engineers,. At this time Scotland boasted four leading universities and its population was 1m compared to England at 4m.  

Aberdeen University Kings college founded 1495

My belief is we must look at our Scots history,  which has been rigorously suppressed. Look up the oldest universities UK – (Oxford and Cambridge were initially centres of clerical teachings late 1090s); in the 1400s it was Scottish universities which were 4 leading centres of learning – St Andrews 1410, Glasgow 1451, Aberdeen 1495, Edinburgh 1583. 

It wasn’t until 400 years later, in the 1800s that England set up universities. Manchester 1824, London 1826, Durham 1832.

Surgeons Hall Edinburgh founded 1726
Edinburgh also has one of the world’s leading medical schools. In 2011 I was honoured to attend Edinburgh’s Surgeons hall where my son graduated, and was amazed to discover, not only its long history, but that the Edinburgh medical school is one of the oldest in the world (and the UK) and was established in 1726 during the Scottish enlightenment. Graduates of the medical school have founded medical schools and universities all over the world including 5 out of the 7 Ivy League medical schools Pennsylvania, Yale, Columbia and Harvard. The Scottish Enlightenment was part of a wider European movement, reaching its height in this country between 1750-1800 

Over the past decade I have been researching Scotia’s past and realised ‘Auld Scotia’ led the world with education, reform, philosophy and enlightened though. The great French philosopher and historian Voltaire (1694-1778) said 'We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation'. At this time European thinkers challenged old ideas about almost every aspect of life. They argued that the way forward was to use “reason” when seeking answers to questions. 

Scots founded Americas top universities. I heard Tom Devine discuss the profound influence of Scots on Americans universities. Scots scholars went over to America and founded several centres of learning. Scots Americans were crucially involved in setting up centres of learning and universities there and were some of American’s Founding Fathers. They were profoundly important to the American constitution – such as the Scottish Enlightenment figures and the influence of Scottish Moral Philosophy. Notably Scot John Witherspoon founded Princeton and educated future president James Madison, 28 senators, 49 congressmen and 39 judges.

*Meanwhile in Scotland, (1) St Andrews was the first university founded 1410, Ever to excel.  
 (2) University of Glasgow, founded 1451 as an addition to the city’s cathedral. It boasts numerous notable alumni - economist Adam Smith, inventor, engineer James Watt, actor Gerard Butler, author John Niven, and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.  

 (3) University of Aberdeen (1495) reaches back more than 500 years: Originally founded in 1495 as King’s College, and thus the 5th-oldest university in the UK, it merged in 1860 with Marischal College. Today, the University of Aberdeen regularly ranks among the top 200 universities in the world. Notable alumni include actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and author Ali Smith.  

 (4) University of Edinburgh founded in 1583 – famous scientists studied here: theory of evolution Charles Darwin, statistician Thomas Bayes, famous physicist James Clerk Maxwell.

It wasn’t until 400 years later in the 1800s that England developed their universities (5) University of Manchester founded 1824:   (6) University College London founded 1826 a collegiate federal university that now includes almost 20 colleges. Alumni roster Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the DNA), Ricky Gervais (actor), Coldplay, and Mahatma Gandhi.  (7) Durham University founded(1832)

***The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge had both been founded 1096 as a centres of Theology and training for clerics. University of Oxford 1096 and the University of Cambridge was founded in 1209. This changed with new colleges around the 1400s.

"Americans built their world around the principles of Adam Smith and Thomas Reid of individual interest governed by common sense and a limited need for government.'   Historian Arthur L Herman

Glasgow University founded 1451

Saturday 30 September 2017

Gerry Hassan and Michael Keating (Professor of politics Aberdeen) at EIBF 2017

Gerry Hassan and Michael Keating (Professor of politics Aberdeen) - 'THE EVOLUTION OF DEVOLUTION'
They discussed debates on how to build bridges, with many questions over frictionless borders and if this is possible to preserve communities. They felt that there was too much noise and not enough silence or consideration. Hassan criticised the SNP timidity in government, and claimed that there are no leading thinkers who identify with social democracy and its values are not nurtured. I wasn't sure I understood this comment because I read many informed and educated journalists in both the Herald and National newspapers who believe in social democracy.

They asked, how can we nurture non-party spaces? A future Scotland cannot be about certainty, or the conditional politics of independence or unionism. How do we move on from the entrenched divides, and that we require more 'open mindedness'. The voices of middle Scotland have many 'close-minded warriors' who don't want to have a debate between independence or union. There are important questions over what kind of self government is required for our economic and social project? How to find a shared destination and how do we get there?

They said there was an absence of a think tank not made up of political parties, for a new national project. They spoke of the evolution of Scottish devolution and that London’s shadow over the UK (with 40% of the UKs GDP) was similar only to Moscow’s over Russia. Other issues raised included - taxes for a fairer Scotland.; welfare powers; childcare are ways of tackling poverty; and social inclusion. 

The Westminster parliament was an empty vessel and they spoke of the hope for more self-government within an EU framework. Bulgaria has a huge amount of power and socially more equal than Scotland. Is there a contradiction between social growth and equality? Smaller countries are often more socially equal.
The constitutional questions have several levels – the nature of the state and federalism and devolution as positive forces.
The Smith commission was a political compromise. Political society asks the right questions – but the parties don’t listen - they only fight and not hearing the bigger issues. There has not been enough post mortem since Indy Ref, too much silence.

Then there was the 'British nationalism' and the talk of borderlands, such as by Rory Stewart. – perhaps we only disagree on the framework? Borders are both entrances and exit and there is the innovation of open borders and frictionless borders. They wondered about the peace process in Northern Ireland and the border there. National is both good and bad.  However Brexit has thrown all of this out of the water.

The hope to address what kind of society are we going to look like? There was far too much short termism and they felt that politics was too emotional. Politicians not offering more self government and in fact it is far from certain what they are offering? How is independence formulated are and not what people want – the question are more about the kind of self government. They felt that many have not understood what Independence means or the degree of sovereignty.
Then there is the decline in unionist Scotland – society and power changing with catalysts for further change. Political parties in pockets of money. The economy is unbalanced and the economic model is not working and the banks have not been reformed. The redistribution of money is only slightly more under Labour, Corbyn offers managed capitalism with fixed exchange rate. 

They argued for opening up politics and not having professional politicians and for Scotland cultural change and a second revolution. Civic Scotland is engaged in this debate. There was no discussion over the lack of any Scottish media. Is Scotland going to stay in Europe? The SNP have to change with the times and with the rate of change they suggested. What is the differences between Devo Max and independence  anyway – the difference is miniscule.

Monday 6 March 2017

Varsity Vocals A acapella Finals

Aberpella, Aberdeen
I recently attended such a high quality concert Varsity Vocals -  ICCA UK quarter finals at the Queens hall Edinburgh. It was clear the commitment, time and effort all the groups had put in –

Cosmopolitan (Leeds), Accidentals, Aberpella, Northern Lights, Alley Cats, Songsmiths, The Other Guys,

By chance I watched Shine’ on BBC  a show of boy bands thrown together by Gary Barlow and the standard of harmony singing, timing, rhythm, presentation, musicianship was dire by comparison.

Three the groups got through to the semi-finals at the New Wimbledon theatre London – Accidentals, St Andrews; Aberpella, Aberdeen; Northern Lights Durham.
Northern Lights (Durham)
Well done to all!

(The winner of the semi- final will attend the final in New York.)

Saturday 17 March 2012

*Emeli Sande photos 2007 to 2012

Emeli Sande Royal Albert Hall
Emeli Sande Oran Mor 2007
Emeli Sande King Tuts 2010
Emeli Sande Oran Mor 2011

I first took photos of Emeli Sande at her ep launch gig at the Oran Mor Glasgow in December 2006, where she sang her own songs and a Nina Simone song. Some of these images were later used for her promotions in press and flyers in 2007 and 2008. I saw her gig four years later at King Tuts in 2010 and also again at the Oran Mor in November 2011. She has a warm smile and loads of energy onstage, as well has having the gift of a soul voice that stirs with honey tones.  

She has had a busy time since then working with her Publishing deal in both London and America. In 2011 she had The Mobos and her debut single Heaven which reached No 2 in the UK charts. Then her debut album Our Version of Events reach No 1 UK Charts in February 2012. Her music is soul rock and sits on the edge of our joys and sorrows while they are also full of hopes and a caring voice - soul with a questioning edge. Her hair has gone from big and brown to a trendy peroxide quiff. 
Emeli spoke of how wonderful the past year has been for her and of her No 1 hit song with Professor Green titled Read all about It. I had a chat with Emeli backstage at King Tuts in December 2010 where she kindly signed prints for me and where she said her music was influenced by the likes of Portishead, Massive Attack and Joni Mitchell. Emeli supported Coldplay on their 2011 tour and she has won the Brits Critics' Choice award. 

Emeli Sande Old Fruitmarket Glasgow 2012

Emeli Sande Olympic Torch Relay Glasgow 2012

Emeli Sande BLOGS  -
*Emeli Sande Olympic Torch Relay -
 *Emeli Sande Old Fruitmarket Glasgow 2012 -
*Emeli Sande Oran Glasgow 2011 -
*Emeli Sande wins the Brits Critics' Choice award -
*Emeli Sande King Tuts 15th November 2010 -
* New Artists 2011 -

Saturday 17 December 2011

*Emeli Sande wins the Brits Critics' Choice award

I saw Emeli Sande gig at the Oran Mor Glasgow for her first EP launch in December 2006. I saw her again four years later at King Tuts in 2010. She has had a busy time since then!  In 2011 she has had The Mobos and her debut single Heaven reached No 2 in the UK charts. Her album, Our Version of Events, will be released early in 2012. Emeli spoke of how wonderful the past year has been for her and of her present number one song with Professor Green titled 'Read all about It.
Her music is rocky and the edge of our joys and sorrows - soul with a questioning edge. I had a chat with Emeli backstage at King Tuts December 2010, where she kindly sigend prints for me, and she said her music was influenced by the likes of Portishead, Massive Attack and Joni Mitchell. I am now excited for her album and I expect it to be a smash success!  Emeli attended Glasgow medical school and after obtaining a medical degree in Neuroscience, she decided to focus on her music.
Emeli is supporting Coldplay on their present tour.  NEWs Dec 2011 - Emeli Sande wins the Brits Critics' Choice award", which rewards up-and-coming talent.