Scotland says hello to the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

Scotland says hello to the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

Artist's impression of the Queensferry Crossing / Courtesy of Transport Scotland

An already packed events calendar is set to become even busier, we look at how the nation will be celebrating its creativity

When it comes to innovation, Scotland has long been punching above its weight. Cloning, radar, and synthetic insulin all first came into being in Caledonia. Edinburgh-born Alexander Graham Bell was the man who patented the telephone, John Logie Baird gave us the television, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, and it was while working in Glasgow and Edinburgh that Joseph Lister did his most important work in developing antiseptics. Without Scottish innovators, the world would be a poorer place.

In 2016, Scotland’s history of design, built heritage and innovation will be celebrated alongside groundbreaking new projects with a series of events, exhibitions, conferences and visitor experiences throughout the year, adding to Scotland’s already packed programme of events and festivals.

One of the most dramatic and exciting new developments for 2016 will be the opening of 10 new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, marking the 150th anniversary of the museum. Many of the galleries will showcase engineering, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, energy, and the sciences, with around three quarters of the exhibits being displayed for the first time in generations. Galleries will profile designers including Alexander McQueen, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Jean Muir and Eduardo Paolozzi. At the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, the redevelopment of two aircraft hangars will be completed, filled with new displays exploring civil and military aviation.

Elsewhere, the Queensferry Crossing will open in 2016, adding a third striking bridge across the Firth of Forth. When it’s unveiled, it will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and the tallest bridge in the UK. The existing Forth Road Bridge will become dedicated for use by public transport, walkers and cyclists, a huge change to the character of one of the busiest routes in Scotland.

Scotland says hello to the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

The Filmhouse in Edinburgh will host a series of architecture themed films, including Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (pictured)

There are plenty more ways to revel in Scottish building design and construction throughout the year. The development of the first V&A museum outside London, in Dundee, continues and will be a major addition to Scotland’s cultural landscape. Edinburgh's Filmhouse launches a season of architecture-themed films, combining material from their archives with new features and documentaries shown alongside special events and guest Q&As. In spring, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (celebrating its centenary in 2016) presents the Festival of Architecture, with plans for 400 events across Scotland. Edinburgh and Glasgow's science festivals are both planning bumper programmes to mark the year, while, in the autumn, the Mackintosh Festival in Glasgow will provide a series of family-friendly events to promote the art, design and architectural achievements of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Smaller makers will be a crucial part of the year too. The Graphic Design Festival Scotland takes place in Glasgow in October, showcasing the pioneering work of Scottish graphic designers and practioners of the art. And during Edinburgh’s August festivals, Edinburgh Airport will host a showcase of Scottish Design in partnership with Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee, promoting Scottish innovators from across the design spectrum.

Scotland has come a long way since the world-changing discoveries of its Victorian heroes of science and technology, but their spirit is still felt powerfully today. In everything from large-scale engineering projects to local design, these 2016 events look set to prove that the nation’s proud tradition of innovation is thriving.

Find out more at

Guide to Scotland's Festivals 2016

The Guide to Scotland's Festivals 2016

When it comes to festivals Scotland leads the way, providing an inspiring programme throughout the year, with everything from tiny one-day shindigs to massive month-long bonanzas incorporating music, art, literature, theatre, food & drink and more.