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Scotland leads the way in digital diplomacy

First Minister presents Qing Tombs Scottish Ten data in Beijing.

First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday furthered Scotland’s digital diplomacy in China as he presented the first set of data from the Eastern Qing Tombs collected by digital documentation project, the Scottish Ten.

The First Minister handed over a flythrough animation and framed pictures of the Chinese landmark captured through laser technology to representatives of the Chinese State Administration for Cultural Heritage and Eastern Qing Tombs Cultural Relics Management at an event to celebrate Scotland in Beijing.

The handover brings the project to digitally scan the Qing Tombs in China full circle, after the First Minister announced the Scottish Ten project – led by Historic Scotland and the Digital Design Studio at The Glasgow School of Art – was to capture the historic buildings using laser technology during his visit to China in 2011.

Heritage experts from China and Scotland have traded knowledge and instigated closer co-operation as part of the project, with delegates from the Chinese Government visiting Scotland to learn how our technicians are leading the world in digital scanning and conservation.

Speaking from China, where he is leading a 30-company trade delegation focused on Selling Scotland’s innovation and expertise, the First Minister said:

“Scotland has a long, treasured history of innovation – from the telephone and television to animal cloning and the bionic hand. We have been sharing and exporting our innovation and skills for centuries and we continue to do so today.

“The Scottish Ten is an excellent example of digital diplomacy and cultural exchange, helping enhance the mutual understanding between Scotland and China, creating an atmosphere of respect, trust and celebration.

“As a result of a cultural memorandum of understanding I signed on behalf of the people of Scotland with China we have seen a greater number of collaborations across the arts, creative industries, heritage and national collections allowing the people of both our countries to share some unique experiences.

“It’s fantastic to be here in Beijing to personally handover the first set of Scottish Ten data to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, which is a huge step in digital diplomacy.”

Dr David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Scotland said:

“The Scottish Ten has been a truly ground breaking project which seeks to look at how we record and interpret our heritage both at home and overseas.

“It has been a great privilege as part of the project to work with the relevant authorities overseas to gain access – in some cases unprecedented – to these magnificent heritage sites in a bid to better understand, care for and enjoy these monuments.

“The Eastern Qing Tombs, is the largest project undertaken to date by the team – which included significant field work - so we are delighted to see the first results being presented by the First Minister today.”

The Digital Design Studio (DDS) is one of the leading research centres at The Glasgow School of Art. Professor Paul Anderson, Director of the DDS, said:

“The Digital Design Studio at The Glasgow School of Art is in the vanguard of 3D visualisation. The Scottish Ten has not only given the opportunity to showcase on the international stage the quality of research being undertaken in Scotland’s higher education institutions, but also to develop vital partnerships with cultural and heritage bodies across the globe.”

Notes to editors

Images are available. Please see below contact details.

Scotland has been sharing the latest laser technology to record in great detail the country’s five World Heritage Sites along with five international heritage sites, and showing how this can aid conservation and interpretation and be used as an educational tool.

The Eastern Qing Tombs (1666 to 1911) are the final resting place of some of China's best known emperors. The historic site has been digitally captured using cutting-edge technology as part of the Scottish Ten project.

This visit stemmed from the Scottish Ten’s month-long laser scanning field trip in November 2012 to record China’s Eastern Qing Tombs – the third international site to be scanned. The data from this can be used to manage the site, and provide source material for remote access and educational programmes. The trip included a visit to Scotland’s five Heritage Sites to experience how they are managed, cared for and promoted internationally.

More information is here:

Scottish and China based company Nomad Exhibitions, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and Nanjing Museum in the People’s Republic of China present A Tale of Two Cities. The exhibition uses original material and digital interpretation to explore the architectural and cultural developments of the cities of Edinburgh and Nanjing. As well as drawing extensively from the collections of RCAHMS, the exhibition includes loans of paintings from the National Gallery of Scotland and objects from Glasgow Museums and the University of Edinburgh.

The exhibition will open in Nanjing Museum on 6 November 2013, as part of the re-opening after major expansion of the whole museum on its 80th anniversary, and runs until 5 May 2014.

The meeting with the Chinese State Administration for Cultural Heritage and Eastern Qing Tombs Cultural Relics Management was part of the First Minister’s trade mission to China, with delegations from the oil and gas and construction sectors comprising 30 companies undertaking business in the country over a five-day period.

During the trip, the First Minister has announced Sino-Scottish partnerships worth more than £40 million as well as holding high-level talks with the Chinese Government. More information is here - and here:

The visit helps meet the ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s China Strategy to increase engagement with the world’s second largest economy and builds on recent business successes, including:

From 2007 to 2012 exports from Scotland to China increased by 88 per cent from £265m to £498m. Over the same period, the share of Scottish exports to China increased from 2 per cent to 3 per cent of all Scottish exports.

Far East markets accounted for around 2 per cent of fresh Scottish salmon exports in the years prior to 2011, when the Scottish Government secured a new import deal with China following discussions between the First Minister and then Vice Premier Li KeQiang. Since then, the proportion of global sales to the Far East has reached 19 per cent in the first half of 2013 with a value of £37m. China accounts for more than half of the value of total sales.

In the five years between 2007 and 2012, Scotch whisky exports to China rose by 70 per cent from £42.1 million to £71.5 million, helped by the granting of geographical indication of origin status for the product in China in 2010. This followed negotiations between the First Minister and the Chinese Government during his visits to China in 2009 and 2010.

The Scottish Government’s China Strategy can be read here:

Get news of the trade visit as it happens by following @AlexSalmond and @ScotGov on Twitter. Images will be available for use from the Scottish Government flickr channel:

When available, audio can be found at

Contact information

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