2007 - 2022


penswordA new space for your feedback, letters, lengthier responses to articles, ideas and contributions. Technical problems? Let us know here. Errors, corrections and typos (!). Let us know here. Email us marked ‘Letters & Feedback’.

Readers & Supporters Feedback
A few weeks ago we hosted an event with supporters and gathered feedback on the website. Here’s some of the responses. We asked:

What do you love about Bella?
“hope, inspiration, disagreement, connection”
“the community of Bella”
“strong immediately identifiable brand”
“great source of books, websites to follow, on all sorts of topics”
“the graphic art, the range of voices, Loki’s input, solid reputation for quality content, the breadth of scholarship, internationalism”
“I trust them”
“I love the inclusivity”
“I wouldn’t support Bella if it was about independence alone”
“The fact I hear different views, it makes me trust Bella more”
“that you are trying to encourage readers to not just be passive”
“I don’t read Bella to have my support for independence reinforced but to see people thinking deeply about how to make stuff work better”
‘No party line, keep that up”
“its fearlessness in the face of the narrow cliques that dominate Scottish journalism”
“the beauty of a space where your influence matters”
“keep up trying to engage the unengaged”

What do we need to get better at?
“sustainability, funding models”
“new prisms to see Scotland through”
“youth engagement”
“sub editing and wrong apostrophe’s”
“shorter articles – Bella articles are a big commitment”
“profiles of other websites”
“postcard blogs – short, concise, low commitment, high impact”
“more positive example sod community empowerment, less slagging”

What should we do more of?
“open contributions – lets not just talk to our ‘pals’
“get togethers like this – more live events and meetings please”
“a tour of Scotland”
“there’s nothing like face-to-face connection for solidarity and inspiration”
“more international content please”
“arts content is low”
“find the former doubters and ask them to articulate their political evolution”
“visit other bubbles”

What is the biggest challenge facing alternative media?
“reaching a wider audience among people who get their infer from tv / papers / Strictly”
“not falling into current framing of debate”
“offering something genuinely different”
“not getting bogged down in the negativity of politics today”
“credibility, coverage, funding”
“talking in  a bubble”
“keeping momentum”

Response to our new Scots & Gaelic Content

Ma delicht yesterday evenin readin Bella Caledonia’s annoocenment aboot their new project tae celebrate Scotland’s rich linguistic and cultural heritage by publishin in Scots an Gaelic (‘Culture Shift’) wis matched this morn by ma dismay an anger listenin tae BBC Radio Scotland dismiss the Scots leid as ‘slang’. Efter hearin a few Scots phrases, fir example ‘ye comin fir a wee donder?’ or ‘dinnae be daft’, Kaye Adams proceedit tae dismiss it as ‘slang’ and hoy it intae the same categorie as text speak, ironicallie aw by means o introducin a young author whae wid be oan the show later and whae thinks that ‘aw communication is guid communication’.

If the irony o this wis lost oan Kaye Adams an the BBC, it certainlie willnae be lost oan readers o Bella.

It is shamefu that oor national broadcaster appears tae be unaware o the muckle efforts underwey tae bridge the gulf atween the current misinformed perception o Scots an the reality o its status as wan o the three indigenous leids o Scotland alangside English and Gaelic. An it is even mair shamefu that it has the day publicly undermined the sense o self worth and legitimacy o aw those 1.6 million speikers o Scots across the country.

As oor national broadcaster dismisses Scots as slang, and a long-staundin national newspaper brings til an end its Gaelic pages efter 89 year, Bella Caledonia celebrates Scots and Gaelic and annoonces that regular content, as well as ither forms (featuring poetry, music and visual airt) is tae be published in baith languages.

Yince again it is clear that the people o Scotland, whitever leid they speik, can rely only on oor vibrant, grassroots media tae gie us an accurate and positive reflection o oor country, and aw the leids within it.
Aw best,
Ashley Husband Powton

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