1 IT’S hailed as a musical cure for the wintertime blues, and this year’s Celtic Connections opens with style on Thursday with the world premiere of a new orchestral symphony inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath – as features on the front page of this section today. Composed of six brand new pieces by leading Scottish composers, it was commissioned with backing from the Scottish Government’s Festival Expo Fund to mark this year’s 700th anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Scottish independence. It is the first of over 300 events in venues across Glasgow with the festival running until February 2.

2 SATURDAY will see a 10-metre tall puppet striding through Glasgow city centre to mark the beginning of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Water. Storm has been created by Edinburgh’s Vision Mechanics, the makers of Big Man Walking, and promises to be another feat of mechanical mastery. After her appearance at Celtic Connections’ Coastal Connections Day she will visit towns and villages across the country with the help of eight puppeteers to urge care for the environment.

3 ON a similar theme the new exhibition at the V&A in Dundee is Hello Robot (pictured below right), which investigates the science and fiction of robots and looks at how they are changing the world. Posing a series of provocative questions, it explores how popular culture has shaped our perception of robots and artificial humans, the impact this technology has had on industry and the increasing blurring of the boundaries between human and machine. Curated by the Vitra Design Museum, MAK Vienna and Design Museum Gent, it is the first time it has been shown in the UK.

4 ALSO worth visiting in Dundee is a new exhibition highlighting the city’s long history of Polar exploration. On show at The McManus Art Gallery and Museum, it brings together contemporary and historic works by artists who have experienced life on the ice. Selected from Dundee’s nationally significant fine art and whaling collections, the exhibition showcases a small but growing collection of polar artworks which spans 200 years. At its heart are two major series of artworks by leading Scottish artists Frances Walker and James Morrison. Among the Polar Ice is on until March 8.

5 IF it’s pirates that rock your boat then Ayr is the place to be. Or more precisely Rozelle House, where there is an exhibition on pirates and their role in popular culture. Created by the V&A Museum of Childhood, it offers a jaunt through the world of both real life and fictional pirates, playfully presented, with Rozelle House transformed into a seaside tavern and a tropical paradise island, all centred on an almost-full-sized pirate ship – cue dressing up, stories, much ringing of the ship’s bell, and peering through a telescope. You can catch the action until April 19. Yo Ho Ho!

6 BAL Folk is the European version of ceilidh dancing and terpsichoreans can learn the steps at a workshop and social at Edinburgh’s Scottish Storytelling Centre. Led by Edinbal, it is suitable for beginners and each workshop is followed by an hour of social dancing to recorded and live music. The first is on Wednesday but if you miss that there are other dates to choose from.

7 DINOSAURS never lose their appeal and there is a chance for youngsters to have their own Jurassic experience at Rouken Glen Pavilion today and the following two Sundays. Suitable for ages three to six, the Dino Teams Dinosaur Experience is presented by the fun Dino Ranger who will show off his collection of baby dinosaurs as well as introducing a few live reptiles, the dinosaurs’ closest living relatives. Then it’s time to get armed with paint brushes and goggles to search in the Dino Dig pits for dinosaur bones, eggs, and fossils.