Immersive Tour: The Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament (English)

Immersive Tour: The Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament (English)


Welcome to the debating chamber, the design is very specific it’s called an ellipse and it was designed to promote conversation. I’m standing in what we call the “Well” of the chamber in front of the desk of the Presiding Officer, the Presiding Officer is the one who chairs the debates. On the wall behind this desk there are six cameras that record the debates as they happen. Down here in the glass box is the parliaments mace. This is the symbol of the parliaments authority over the devolved matters. It’s made of silver and gold and embedded in the face are the words there shall be a Scottish Parliament, the opening line of the Scotland Act 1998 that brought the Scottish Parliament into existence. Along the wall here on the left are a series of small rooms for a variety of purposes some are used to maintain the broadcast in the chamber and others are used by interpreters. All but one of the rooms has a glass window. The room without glass is used by the writers of the Official Report which is the written account of the debate in the chamber. On the chamber floor there is a seat for every member and here front and centre we usually find the First Minister, leader of the Scottish Government surrounded by the cabinet secretaries and ministers. Above is our public gallery with 225 seats so people can come and see debates as they happen. For those who can’t come here to see the debates though we still record and broadcast it and there are a further two cameras in the public gallery that face the desk of the Presiding Officer. If you have a look over here in the window you’ll see a rather unusual shape and this same shape is repeated above the public gallery. The lead architect Enric Miralles created this abstract shape as a representation of the people of Scotland. Miralles never wanted the chamber to be empty, there was always to be a place for the people here and we’ve used that shape in our lights as well. If you look up you can see the shape repeated in each one of these sails, 129 times, the same number as members’ in this Parliament and a reminder that the members are themselves people of Scotland.

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