The Scottish Parliament: A Graphic History

by University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom

The Scottish Parliament: A Graphic History


raised in 398 days

+ est. £596.25 Gift Aid



Produce a graphic history of the Scottish Parliament, to be freely distributed to all secondary schools and public libraries in Scotland.

by University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom


The funds raised during this crowdfunding campaign will go towards the production of the graphic history of the Scottish Parliament, and its distribution to all secondary schools and public libraries in Scotland.   Our funding goal represents the minimum needed to ensure that our ambitious artistic vision for the book is realised, and that every high school and public library in the country receives at least one copy.

This graphic history will set out in plain and accessible language and through rich and vivid artwork, how the Scottish Parliament really works. This means retelling the story of how we got the Parliament in the first place, and some of the ideas about democracy that lay behind its design and processes. It also means exploring, in an evidenced-based and balanced manner, what has worked well for making and implementing policy in the devolved Scotland, and what unexpected consequences have arisen over time.

In 1999, after an absence of three hundred years, the Scottish Parliament was reconvened. Since then, the Scottish Parliament has been responsible for designing, deciding, and introducing laws across an ever-growing range of areas, from agriculture to welfare. These laws directly affect the lives of millions of people living in Scotland, all of whom have a stake in understanding how their representatives act on their behalf. This means getting to grips with details of how these laws come to be passed – who gets to propose them? Why these laws and not others? How do we decide to pay for certain services rather than others?

Because the story of the Scottish Parliament and how it works is as dynamic as it is fascinating, we believe it is best told using eye-catching graphic images, rather than boring old text. By drawing on the Scottish Political Archive’s extensive collection of documents and artefacts from the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly (and after), the book will open up and bring to life Scotland’s contemporary political heritage. 

(Sample artwork from proposed novel looking at the work of Democracy for Scotland and the Vigil 1992 - 1997.)

(Archive image that the artwork is based on.  Scottish Political Archive)

The book merges art and information, including reproductions of rare archive photographs and campaign materials.  We are committed to giving it the best look and feel we can and are working with Jules Scheele, a freelance illustrator, comics artist and graphic facilitator based in Glasgow.  Jules will create original artwork responding to the story of the Parliament and the visual material held in the archive.

The book weaves together three themes:

1.      The road to Holyrood: drawing on archive material and oral histories from those who took part in the campaign for a Scottish Assembly, the book will retrace how the Scottish Parliament come to be (re)established. It will introduce readers to the early hopes and expectations the people of Scotland, and their elected representatives, had for this new institution.

2.      How the Parliament works: drawing on the authors’ research expertise, the book will present an evidence-based account of how Scottish parliamentary democracy works, and how laws and policies are made in Scotland. It will introduce readers to the Parliament’s committee system, to the day-to-day life of Members of the Scottish Parliament, and to the mechanisms that citizens have at their disposal to influence their Parliament’s work. In doing so, it will present a balanced view of what has worked well and what perhaps needs to change to meet the changing needs of Scottish communities.

3.      How the Parliament has evolved: the book will present an accessible overview of parliamentary reform, by revisiting and explaining how the processes and functions of the Scottish Parliament have changed over the last decade. Featuring the voices of those who worked to reintroduce a Parliament in Scotland, as well as that of the people who have worked within it, it will invite readers to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing the Scottish Parliament going forward.

What will the money raised be spent on?

The money raised will pay for the production costs of the book.  These are illustration and design work and printing of the finished graphic novel.  Should we exceed our target we will be able to produce more books so that more copies can be distributed to schools.  We would also be able to produce a travelling exhibition of the artwork to go on display in libraries and community centres around Scotland.  We would also be able to undertake outreach work in local communities discussing the role of the Parliament.

The Team

Emily and Peter – The Writers

Emily St Denny and Peter Lynch are researchers and lecturers in politics at the University of Stirling.

Emily specialises in UK politics and policymaking, especially in devolved Scotland and Wales. She’s passionate about the Scottish Parliament – its history, its architecture, the way it functions, the people who work within it, and how it’s changed over time. She came up with the idea for the book because she was tired of only writing about the Parliament in lengthy academic tomes and wanted to share her fascination with Holyrood with non-experts in an engaging and accessible manner.

Peter specialises in Scottish and European politics and writes on devolution, political parties and referendums.

Sarah – The Archivist

Sarah is the Archivist for the Scottish Political Archive at the University of Stirling.  She helped to establish the archive in 2010 and has been collecting all manner of political ephemera ever since.  Sarah is dedicated to attracting a wide audience of people to the collections of the archive.  She was interested in this project as she has spent a large part of her working life looking through political leaflets and is interested to see graphic representations of events and political literature she has spent time cataloguing.

Jules – The Artist

Jules is a freelance illustrator, comics artist and graphic facilitator based in Glasgow. They specialise in graphic storytelling and illustrations that help translate and bring a human touch to difficult concepts. Over the last few years they have illustrated graphic history series, most notably queer: a graphic history, written by Dr. Meg-John Barker.  Jules was interested in this project as it combined interests in political history and Scotland which has recently become their home.

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