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Independent Mind

Independent Mind is an exciting new project funded by Creative Scotland and hosted by the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. It provides opportunities for creative engagement with Robert Burns for people who are not already involved with the museum, particularly economically and socially marginalised groups.

Independent Mind launched in July 2012 with the production of a ground-breaking film by Ayrshire film-maker Ruth Carslaw. The film gauges attitudes towards the ‘independent mind’ theme in a creative way and features people from all walks of life including local shop workers, museum staff, well-kent writers like Janice Galloway and Alan Bissett, and Scottish lawyers Dame Eilish Angiolini and Aamer Anwar . You can watch the film here



A rebel and a free thinker, Robert Burns engaged with fundamental issues of his time – race, national identity, politics, economics, and religion. Rather than accept the status quo, Burns asks ‘Why was an independent wish e’er planted in my mind?’ – Independent Mind is a chance for people to creatively answer that question. This programme of topical discourse, community engagement and creative response will encourage people to engage with these issues - not just as part of Scotland’s history but relating them to life in Scotland today.

Iconic writers, artists, musicians and politicians, will lead a programme of debates, readings, activities, and workshops for the target groups. These will focus on developing creative responses to issues critical to Burns which are still important today: religion, Scottish independence, nationalism, racial tension, mental health, and the gap between the poor and the wealthy.

Working together with creative practitioners and target groups, RBBM provides training, support, and a platform for performance of these creative responses. Musicians, artists, and performers would work closely with community groups and museum staff to develop materials inspired by our unique collection. The project ends in July 2014 with a showcase of the work produced by participants in the programme.


Project 1: Tam o' Shanter 'The mornin eftir' a Pantomime

Project 2: HMP Kilmarnock - Independent Minds

Project 3: Viewpoint - 'The Honest Heart' a documentary

For further information on the project please email the museum or call 01292 430315.

To find out what is on at RBBM visit our events listing page