Stonehaven, 13th November 2016

Scottish Book Trust Live Literature workshop

at Stonehaven Community Centre, Stonehaven AB39 2DH.   10am until 4pm.

Morning: Prose writing.  Tutor : Dr Wayne Price, University of Aberdeen.

Afternoon : Poetry writing.  Tutor : Lesley Harrison.

For places and prices, contact Alistair Lawrie at

The Living Field


Many thanks indeed to The Living Field for including a profile of my work on their page.

The Living Field is run by staff at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee, UK. Outreach and education is their main aim, promoting the understanding of crops and wild plants and the need for sustainable production of food and other agricultural products.  Among its current projects are the establishment of a garden with a variety of native plants used locally for medicinal and other purposes for over 5000 years.

Check its website for information about its many and various interests, both local and international, including science/art collaborations, here.

Drift – Vision Mechanics installation at St Cyrus

A fabulous … thing … on St Cyrus beach at the weekend.  Drift is inspired by the story of Betty Mouat, the 61-year-old Shetland crofter who drifted to Norway in a small boat.  The whole ‘set’ (it is a bit like a theatre set that has been washed up on the beach) was really curious and inventive.  It was created by the very clever Vision Mechanics and the fabby Nordland Visual Theatre.  Unfortunately they had to take the whole lot down early on Sunday because of a Force 6 coming in.  Am very glad I caught a wee bit of it – I think me and the dog will go to the Isle of Eigg to see it again next week.

Some very good pictures here.

Galleri Svalbard artist-in-residence, July 2015

A great stay in Spitzbergen – glaciers, reindeer, ice fogs, defunct coal mines, fossils, birds, more glaciers, more ice …..  Also a trip to Barentzburg, one of the Russian mining settlements.  The exterior of their school had been entirely decorated with scenes from Russian, European and Norwegian folklore.  Really amazing – and entirely deserted.

Mine no. 1, Longyearbyen  Barentzburg school playground

The museum in Longyearbyen also has some relics from the Safe House on Nova Zembla were William Barentz and his crew overwintered on their third voyage to find a north-east passage to Cathay.  (Other items are on display at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, along with some of Sian Bowen’s fabulous Nova Zembla drawings.)

Further North. 4-5 September 2014, University of Northumbria

Further North was a two day conference that builds upon discussion of recent and contemporary experience and representations of so-called ‘marginal’ or ‘at edge’ locations in the north of England and Scotland.  This was the closing event of the two-year Northern Peripheries Network.

In my presentation I discussed how the north-east of Scotland is located at the southern edge of a much larger, northern world, and how this affects or defines our sense of place. I also discussed language and dialect in context, and the implicit and explicit presence of the north in documents such as whaling journals and ships’ logs. And read some poems.

Speakers included Tim Ingold and others, on how we might define “the north”, and Sian Bowen on her residency at the Rijksmuseum and her Nova Zembla drawings.

Middle Ice


All birds are scarce

the few retreating southward.


A raven was shot today   two eagles

at Bellot, a brace of willow grouse


our little auks the only birds remaining

in twos and ones       obscure, barely visible


I was fortunate to shoot a snowy owl

the flesh is tender white, but tasteless.


from ‘Middle Ice’, a poem sequence from The journal of the Arctic Fox. Captain Francis L. McClintock, 1857-59