Show recalls Scotland's links with Spanish world

​​​​​​​Interviews with Scottish men who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War will be heard in public for the first time as part of a new exhibition.

The show celebrates 100 years since the study of Spanish – now Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies – was introduced at the University of Edinburgh.

Featuring treasures from the University’s archives – including a rare artwork by Picasso, musical instruments and personal memorabilia – the exhibition explores connections between Scotland and the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds.

Conectando: Scottish Encounters with Spanish and Portuguese

The exhibition runs from 10-5pm, Monday-Saturday until 29 June 2019, at the University of Edinburgh Main Library, George Square.

It has been curated by Dr Fiona J Mackintosh and Dr Iona Macintyre.

Fascinating interviews

John Dunlop - voices from Spain
John Dunlop

The interviews with the former students, John Dunlop and George Drever, took place in the mid-1980s – more than 45 years after the Spanish Civil War ended.

The men share heart-warming and tragic stories from the war, and explain why they joined the fight.

The recordings will be accompanied by striking images of the men taken by photographer Sean Hudson, which are on loan from National Galleries Scotland.

George Drever - voices from Spain
George Drever

Eclectic showcase

Pablo Picasso’s pastel and water colour Going to the Fair is on display as part of the eclectic showcase. Created when he was 19-years-old, it is the only work on paper by Picasso held in Scottish public collections.

Galician bagpipes – a traditional Spanish and Portuguese instrument – are also on display, highlighting the musical links between Scotland and the Iberian nations.

Elsewhere, the exhibition explores University staff and students’ reaction to the 1973 military coup in Chile led by General Pinochet. The showcase features human rights protest letters from staff and materials to promote events to raise money for the anti-Pinochet cause. 

Further highlights include personal mementos from a student’s year in Spain during the 1940s, an 18th century phrasebook and a watercolour depiction of a bullfight.

Event programme

Exhibition tours will be held in English, Spanish and Portuguese. 

Film screenings, drama workshops and a talk on the Spanish Civil War will take place across the city to celebrate the anniversary, including a Spanish Sounds edition of St Cecilia’s Hall’s concert series on 4 May.

As well as celebrating our centenary, we wanted to explore Scotland’s connections with the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds. We are delighted to have been able to do this through the University's wealth of collections in this area.

Dr Fiona J MackintoshCo-curator

Related links

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies