Small pieces of Scotland? Souvenirs and the good design debate 1946-80.
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KINCHIN, J. and PEACH, A. 2002. Small pieces of Scotland? Souvenirs and the good design debate 1946-80. Journal of the Scottish Society for Art History, 7, pages 23-30.
For those agencies concerned with the promotion of design and craft in post-war Scotland, and with the development of tourism more generally, souvenirs proved a source of constant anxiety and embarrassment. There were always going to be problems in tackling an industry that embraced such a wide range of design practices and markets, from exclusive hand-crafted items at one end of the spectrum to cheap mass-produced ephemera at the other. This paper examines ways in which the Council of Industrial Design (CoID), the Scottish Crafts Centre, the Tourist Board and the National Trust for Scotland all sought to address the 'souvenir problem' in the period 1946-80. At the heart of this topic is not only the issue of national identity but the very fraught question of 'good' and 'bad' taste. It is perhaps not surprising that the various competitions and exhibitions that were organised have sunk virtually without trace. What emerges is a depressing tale of well-intentioned propagandist ambition that was doomed to failure in the face of an uncontrollable industry and the public's apparently insatiable appetite for the 'worst' type of designed and crafted artefacts.