Inaugural Kinross House Meeting
In November 2016 we celebrated the inaugural Kinross House Meeting which was attended by an international group of business leaders, policy makers and senior government representatives. As the first ever neo-classical Palladian mansion built in Scotland, Kinross House is the masterpiece of Sir William Bruce. Nothing had ever been seen like it before, all previous houses built for the nobility being deliberately of a defensive nature; castles, peel towers, fortified houses and the like. These were projections of power designed to keep people out. With Kinross House came a new form of power projection, reaching back to classical antiquity and the concept of the golden rectangle for its design and form, deliberately welcoming, sumptuous and luxurious, inviting people in rather than keeping them out.
Kinross House was in the vanguard of the Scottish Enlightenment, which, in the century and a half after Kinross House was built, was characterised by thoroughgoing empiricism and practicality, where the chief values were improvement, virtue and practical benefit both for the individual and for society as a whole. These now global values inform the objectives of the Kinross House Meetings going forward, bringing together policy makers and key influencers from all areas of human endeavor to discuss and develop the key areas of global policy that are most urgently in need of addressing: and it is Kinross House’s unique architectural stature and links to our nation state’s history that make it the perfect place for such discussion.
Kinross House was conceived and built through difficult and changing times – not long after the English civil war and during the uncertain times of Cromwell’s Commonwealth, leading to the Restoration of the monarchy and immediately before the Act of Union and the loss of Scottish independence. Sir William Bruce, the creator, lived through every one of these events and was intimately linked with the Restoration.
The theme for the inaugural Kinross House Meeting was ‘Britain’s Next Play, Your Winning Move: Negotiating the complex chessboard of international trade – and how to visualise the game’, particularly poignant after the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump. Senior representatives from several international governments provided an external perspective on future challenges and opportunities, whilst a diverse group of attendees from international business as well as international trade experts and negotiators provided unique insight, all contributing to insightful and informative debate as we face both exciting and uncertain times ahead.
Mr. Fothergill (right) with International Government Representatives
The bi-annual Kinross House Meetings will be developed with a growing group of partners. The Asia Scotland Institute and the Legatum Institute were the key partners for the inaugural meeting. Roddy Gow, Chairman of the Asia Scotland Institute, highlighted that “the combination of quite exceptional architectural surroundings, the very high quality of the invited participants and the relevance of the topic discussed, resulted in a truly unique experience. The first of the Kinross House Meetings was held in this remarkable Palladian mansion thanks to the generosity of its owner, Mr. Donald Fothergill”.
Elizabeth Linder, Founder & CEO of The Conversational Century and former Politics & Government Specialist at Facebook, moderates Kinross House Meetings. “Kinross House serves a unique niche in 21st-century thought leadership,” she said. “The physical space of Kinross House architecturally re-wrote societal norms by turning outward versus inwards to project a more welcoming vision of power. In this century, connected technology is re-writing societal norms virtually by turning outward towards a more global approach to finding solutions and building connections. It is the turning outward to analyse diverse perspectives from around the globe that will be the presiding mission of Kinross House’s unique approach towards dialogue that is useful in practice but also welcoming in spirit.