Celebrating Murray Pittock: Scotland’s Knowledge Exchange Champion 2022

Celebrating Murray Pittock: Scotland’s Knowledge Exchange Champion 2022
Congratulations to Professor Murray Pittock! Img Source: TSPL photo

Interface Online, otherwise known as the ‘Knowledge Connection for Business’, hosts an annual Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards (SKEA) to showcase the incredible collaborations across Scotland that connect academia to industry, and community.

Yet one SKEA award, titled ‘Knowledge Exchange Champion of the Year’, celebrates an individual in academia (university, research institute or college), business, social enterprise, or support organisation who has made an outstanding contribution to Knowledge Exchange.

This year, the Interface Online Knowledge Exchange Champion is Professor Murray Pittock MAE FRSE.

For this award, University of Glasgow Pro Vice-Principal and Professor of Literature Murray Pittock was nominated by the Chair of the Culture, Tourism Europe, and External Affairs Committee Joan McAlpine.

Given the leading role he plays through his university's engagement with government and the cultural and creative industries, Pittock was nominated for numerous Knowledge Exchange projects that he either pioneered or partnered.

Three such Knowledge Exchange projects that secured his winning title are as follows:


Burns Economy Launch. Image Source: Murray Pittock

You may already be aware of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, but do you know the value that the Burns legacy brings to the Scottish economy?

In his Robert Burns and The Scottish Economy Final Report dated October 2019, Pittock assesses the value of Burns to the Scottish economy at £203M annually and his enduring brand value to the country at an additional £139.5M annually.

Pittock's incredibly insightful report, which is funded by the Economic Development Directorate of the Scottish Government, follows a debate in the Scottish Parliament on a motion put down by Joan McAlpine and gives us a measure of the embedded brand value of Burns.

Yet, what increases the impact of this Knowledge Exchange project is that once his report was publicly revealed, it helped the Department of International Trade to review the cultural and economic impact of Burns and it triggered a second parliamentary debate in Scotland on Burns as featured below:


The Kelvin Hall development is viewed as a unique partnership between Glasgow Life, the University of Glasgow and the National Library of Scotland.

The historic hall, which is located on Argyle Street in Glasgow, was transformed into an exciting centre of cultural excellence following a £35m refurbishment.

By chairing this development, Pittock has helped to fuse culture, sport, and civic engagement together into one shared space.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Murray Pittock at Kelvin Hall Opening. Img Source: M. Pittock

This is a great example of impactful Knowledge Exchange in action as Pittock helped to secure a long-standing collaboration between his university and its surrounding community.


Scotland House Launch: SHP. Image Source: Murray Pittock

Another of Pittock’s successful Knowledge Exchange projects is the Scottish Heritage Partnership on Immersive Experiences.

As stated on the University of Glasgow website, the Scottish Heritage Partnership (SHP) is a nine-month AHRC-funded initiative aiming to address the existing practice and future potential of immersive experiences and technologies in the collections and heritage industry in Scotland.

Its key research question revolves around measuring the success of approaches to immersive technologies at major heritage sites in Scotland, both in terms of outcomes against business plan expectations and in terms of visitor response, and the kinds of future development supported by the evidence.

Pittock led the team as the ‘Principal Investigator’ and also produced a report on the project findings which you can find here.


Alongside the above three Knowledge Exchange projects, Professor Murray Pittock has collaborated with a vast range of third-party partners including Barclays Bank. He is also the Chair of Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) and serves on the National Trust for Scotland Board.

Hence the University of Glasgow Pro-Vice Principal has a wealth of knowledge to exchange with our readers!

With great respect to his experience and recent title of Scotland’s Knowledge Exchange Champion 2022, we requested words of advice for academics and university staff who hope to make a lasting impact on their surrounding communities and businesses.

When starting a Knowledge Exchange project Pittock advises that, ‘’It always helps to imagine that you might have been somebody else, and therefore understand that people who are not academics have got something to teach you.

''Listen very carefully to what they say, and know what they expect and want. It’s about having the attitude of mind that is open, curious and mutually respectful.’’

And when you're sourcing a suitable project partner, Pittock reminds us that Knowledge Exchange is a two-way exchange, so we can’t always wait for a collaborative opportunity to arise.

''Don’t underestimate the power of culture. Knowledge Exchange can be a more difficult gig in some areas of universities than in others. Some people assume that the important part of the world is where they are. Yet the moment you assume that, you’ve stopped being practical.’’

If you’d like to follow up on Professor Murray Pittock’s research and his Knowledge Exchange projects, you can find his Twitter page here or view his university profile page here.

You can also find out more about the Interface Online Scottish Knowledge Exchange awards here!



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