Thank you to those of you who participated in the voting period for our Place of the Year 2015 longlist. The top five contenders have moved on to the next round into our shortlist, and we need your help again. If you’re interested about each place and why each has been nominated for Place of the Year 2015, read back on our previous blog post. Vote for your pick in this year’s shortlist by 30 November. The Place of the Year 2015 will be announced 3 December.
Last year in 2014, Ukraine made its way into our Place of the Year shortlist, garnering 19.86% of votes. Though Scotland beat out Ukraine for the top spot (with its impressive 37.98% of votes out of five on the shortlist), that by no means undermines everything this Eastern European country has gone through. Serhy Yekelchyk, author of The Conflict in Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know, reflects on how Ukraine has transformed in recent years.
You don’t need to follow the news too closely to know that 2015 has been a roller coaster of a year. Last week we announced our longlist for Place of the Year 2015, but since then some of you have been asking, “why is x included?”, or “why is y worth our attention?”
Today we officially launch our efforts to discover what should be the Place of the Year 2015, coinciding with the publication of the Atlas of the World, 22nd edition–the only atlas that’s updated annually to reflect current events and politics.
Scotland has remained in the media spotlight throughout 2014 for one reason: the referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. This was the most significant event to have taken place in Scotland since the creation of the Union in 1707.
Scotland has of course dominated the television and newsprint headlines over the last year, and has now emerged as the Oxford Atlas Place of the Year for 2014. This accolade is a fair reflection of the immense volume of recent discussion about Scotland’s constitutional future, and that of the United Kingdom.
The light in the Orkneys is so clear, so bright, so lucid, it feels like you are on top of the world looking though thin clouds into heaven. It doesn’t even feel part of the UK: when you sail off the edge of Scotland by the Scrabster to Stromness ferry, you feel you are departing the real world to land in a magical realm.
With the announcement of Scotland as Place of the Year 2014, we asked a few of our staff members who hail from Scotland to share their thoughts about home. They responded with heartfelt opinions, patriotism, nostalgia, and a little homesickness. Here’s their reasons why Scotland is their Place of the Year.
When one thinks of traditional Scottish music, one instrument usually comes to mind: the bagpipe. Although bagpipes are prominent in traditional music from Scotland, Scottish music branches far out beyond that. In light of Scotland receiving the title of Place of the Year for 2014, we’ve put together a brief playlist of music from Scotland, from chamber music to modern classical.
What are the implications of the past for Scotland’s future? First, Scots retain a deeply embedded sense of history, albeit a selective one. Like others in the Anglo-Saxon world, they understandably seek identity, empathy, and meaning for their private present by researching family or local history and they want to know about wars and history’s celebrities.
One of the ironies of the Scottish independence referendum is that Scotland is widely recognised to be a changed place despite the majority voting in favour of the union. It became clear during the course of 2014 that something significant was happening.
With the announcement of Scotland as Place of the Year for 2014, we’re looking back at some of the key events that put Scotland in the news this year. News of the Scottish Independence Referendum dominated the headlines, and politicians, economists, and analysts discussed and debated Scotland’s role both in Europe and on the global market.
As voting for the shortlist came to a close, Scotland took home the title of Oxford’s Place of the Year 2014. This region of the United Kingdom came into spotlight when nearly half its citizens fought to pass the Scottish independence referendum, which would have allowed Scotland to declare itself as an independent country.
With only one more week left in the Place of the Year 2014 contest, we’d like to spotlight another one of the places on our shortlist – Ukraine. The country entered the news early in 2014 when a referendum held in Crimea resulted in the peninsula uniting with Russia.
Standing underneath the monstrous Soviet statue of “Motherland Calls” looking out over the mighty Volga River, I could understand why the city should have been renamed, rather unimaginatively, Volgograd “City on the Volga”. Between 1925 and 1961 it had been called Stalingrad, and was site of one of the most ferocious battles in the Second World War.
As voting on the Place of the Year shortlist continues, we’d like to spotlight a second contender in the race – Scotland. Scotland drew the world’s attention this year as a referendum was held for the country’s independence in September 2014.