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Major exhibition and BBC Scotland TV series to tell the story of Scottish pop music next summer

Monday 23 October, 2017

National Museums Scotland and BBC Scotland are coming together to tell the story of Scottish pop music in a major collaborative project that will explore the musical culture of a nation over more than half a century.

Rip It Up

22 June to 25 November 2018
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh


National Museums Scotland and BBC Scotland are coming together to tell the story of Scottish pop music in a major collaborative project that will explore the musical culture of a nation over more than half a century.

Spanning a period from the 1950s to the present day, Rip it Up will take in diverse movements from dancehall to the emergence of pop in an explosion of colour in the 60s, through the 70s and New Wave, exploring influential record labels like Postcard, Fast Product and Chemikal Underground, and from global stars right up to today’s outstanding newcomers.

A major exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland next summer will feature clothes, photographs, instruments, memorabilia, props, film and, of course, music as well as interviews and archive footage collated in partnership with BBC Scotland. Among the wide-ranging artists and bands to be featured in the exhibition will be Lonnie Donegan, Gerry Rafferty, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Lulu, The Rezillos, Midge Ure, Simple Minds, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand and Young Fathers. A three-part BBC TV series along with digital and radio content will bring another dimension to the story through the voices of those who made the music, those who witnessed it from behind the scenes, and the fans who lived for it. BBC Radio Scotland’s content will include a 4 part series, presented by Vic Galloway, that will complement the television series. 

Midge Ure, who is lending items to the exhibition including material related to both Live Aid and hit single ‘Vienna’, said:

“For its size, Scotland really punches above its weight in terms of the global artists it has produced. With the recent interest in museum exhibitions like the ones about David Bowie and Pink Floyd, I think it’s right that Scotland should showcase its own achievements like this. Although, I never thought I’d see that day that I’d become a museum exhibit myself.”

Shirley Manson, who is lending material including clothes, awards and magazines from her time as lead singer with both Garbage and Goodbye Mr Mackenzie said:

 “I’m exceedingly grateful to the National Museum of Scotland for envisioning the idea for “Rip it Up” and in doing so, recognising the depth and influence of Scottish artists and their music. Scotland has long deserved an examination of its rich musical heritage, the effects of which can be heard all over our globe today.
“While music is universal, and Garbage are an international band, being Scottish is a large part of who I am and has had a huge bearing on my work and our career.  I’m honoured to be included in the exhibition alongside my peers and many of the artists who influenced and moulded my own musical identity. I must admit that I’m actually very much looking forward to seeing the exhibition myself.”

Stephen Allen, Exhibition Curator said:

“Popular music is a shared experience, and a really important one in many people’s lives. Whether it’s a gig that a teenager went to a week ago or forty years ago or a song they hear for the first time, a lot of the underlying emotions and reactions are the same. We want the exhibition to capture and reflect that in the atmosphere and the experience, to look at it from both a Scottish and wider perspective and, crucially, to put the music and the people who made it centre-stage. I’m sure it’ll generate a huge amount of lively debate and discussion.”

David Harron, Commissioning Executive at BBC Scotland, said:

“This is a significant multi-platform commission for BBC Scotland and we are delighted to be working on it in partnership with National Museums Scotland. In addition to the landmark TV series of three one hour episodes we’ll also have compelling content on BBC Radio Scotland and on our digital platforms. It’ll be an exciting journey for our audiences through the fantastic story of Scottish pop, from its roots to the present day."

Alongside the exhibition and BBC Scotland’s content on television, radio and online there will be a book and a wide-ranging programme of events, including live performances, talks and discussions.

Both the exhibition and the National Museums Scotland programme of events are sponsored by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers.

Baillie Gifford Investment Managers

Further information on exhibition and images from: Bruce Blacklaw, National Museums Scotland Press Office, tel 0131 247 4165, email

Twitter: @ntlmuseumsscot
Facebook: National Museums Scotland

Further information on BBC Scotland from: Jim Gough, BBC Scotland Press Office, tel 0141 422 6376, email

Notes to editors

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.
  2. The National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside of London (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions). The National Museum of Scotland was awarded ‘Gold’ Level Green Tourism Visitor Attraction status in 2016.
  3. BBC Scotland operates from 13 staffed centres around the nation, from Orkney and Shetland in the north to Dumfries and Selkirk in the south. With its headquarters in Glasgow, it provides television, radio and online services, in English and Gaelic, to viewers and listeners across the length and breadth of Scotland’s major urban conurbations as well as its rural and island communities. In 2016/17 BBC Scotland produced over 2,500 hours of originated television content, 12,000 hours of radio and its online portfolio attracted an average of 6.8 million unique UK browsers each week.
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