THE FREEDOM Papers have been launched by Gutter Magazine, the Scottish literary periodical, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The supplement, which comes out this month, features commissioned writing from 51 authors from around the world.

Each explores their own interpretation of 'Freedom'.

The book festival commissioned authors from 25 countries, including 13 from Scotland, to write essays exploring ideas about freedom. The Freedom Papers cover gender, race, religion, immigration, disability, education and technology.

Eight are in languages other than English and two are illustrations – including one from Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi.

Abdollahi was refused a visa to attend the Book Festival in 2017, the decision only overturned after a campaign led by his publisher together with the EIBF.

Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “It has been a joy to forge a stronger partnership with Gutter and to support this new chapter in the magazine’s existence.

"The Gutter team has turned the Freedom Papers idea into a beautiful but urgent document, and I hope we are returning the favour by helping this vital Scottish literary magazine reach new international audiences."

Henry Bell, the editor of Gutter, said: "The Freedom Papers have been a thrilling opportunity to explore writers and ideas from around the world and bring them together with Gutter Magazine.

"Since re-launching as an independent cooperative, Gutter has been committed to publishing the best new Scottish and International writing and looking for work that bursts the boundaries of politics, style and form.

"This collaboration with the Edinburgh International Book Festival has been a wonderful vote of confidence in that vision."

The Book Festival’s celebration of the Freedom Papers will culminate on Monday 27 August with the Freedom Finale, an event featuring readings of a number of the papers.

Five of the Freedom Papers will be featured on BBC Radio 4 from 20 August.

THE National Lottery has awarded £776,000 to National Museums Scotland to fund Scotland 365, a new project to encourage young people engage with its collections.

Using visual art, animation, music and performance, the project got underway this summer with the first programme – CashBack to the Future run by Impact Arts – which is taking place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire.

The four-week long residency has young people wokring with professional artists, musicians, filmmakers and actors on youth-led creative projects, culminating in a showcase event.

Ruth Gill, director of public programmes, National Museums Scotland said: "Our Scotland 365 project will enable us to radically redevelop the way in which we engage with young people.

"We are delighted to be working with and benefitting from the expertise of our partners.

"The project opens up infinite possibilities for young people and our national collections and we look forward to working together as we develop creative responses to our heritage."

BARD in the Botanics in Glasgow registered record attendances this year, it says.

The warm weather helped attract crowds for the two main stage productions – Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, with sell out performances of Antony & Cleopatra and Edward II in the Kibble Palace.

Gordon Barr, artistic director of the shows, said: "This season has been a huge success.

"Over 8,000 people came to see the plays with Romeo and Juliet proving one of our most popular productions to date.”

"I have lost count of the number of productions that have seriously impacted by the rain over the years so this summer’s sizzling weather has been a huge bonus for our audiences.

"Unfortunately the weekend’s bad weather meant we lost the last two performances, but this has still been one of our most successful seasons."

The company is to take its production of Much Ado About Nothing on tour with director, Jennifer Dick, taking over the role of Beatrice.

The tour opens at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway on Thursday 2 August with further performances at the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, and Cawdor Castle.