The Belfast / Good Friday Agreement of 1998 acknowledged the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, with specific reference to Ulster-Scots.
In April 2003, the joint declaration by the British and Irish governments committed the British government to take steps to encourage support to be made available to an Ulster-Scots academy.
The Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) on the Ulster-Scots academy was established in March 2011 and first met on 12 May 2011. Further details on the membership of this group can be found here.
The remit of the MAG Ulster-Scots academy is to:
- produce a holistic multi-year development and research strategy for the Ulster-Scots sector
- oversee the implementation of the strategy
- progress the Ulster-Scots academy approach
- identify and support discrete projects under three streams of activity known as work streams (language and literature; history, heritage and culture; education and research)
- advise the Minister on these matters
Following public consultation the Ministerial Advisory Group published the Ulster-Scots academy: Development and research strategy in June 2013. This strategy outlines the strategic objectives and priorities for the development of the Ulster-Scots academy approach. The full text of the strategy is available for download here.
The strategic objectives outlined in the strategy are as follows:
- contribute to building broad knowledge and understanding of Ulster-Scots traditions in Ireland, Scotland and further afield
- identify, consider and progress options for the creation of a physical Ulster-Scots academy
- promote coherence within the Ulster-Scots sector
- maximize the impact of the resources available to the Ulster-Scots academy
- secure the broadest possible support for the sector and its work across the community in Northern Ireland and for the academy
- tackle poverty and social exclusion and their causes in taking forward the academy approach
Activities and achievements
Since its establishment in 2011 the MAG Ulster-Scots Academy has undertaken a range of activities and supported a significant number of projects that contribute to building knowledge and understanding of Ulster-Scots.
In April 2015 the Department published a document summarising the achievements of the group and detailing the projects supported during the first 4 years of the MAG Ulster-Scots academy.
The full text of the Ministerial Advisory Group - Ulster-Scots Academy: Activities and achievements 2011-15 publication is available to download on the following page:
For further details on the work of this group contact the Ulster-Scots Academy: