Scotland and the Arctic - A Conversation

Tuesday, 8th October, 2019 - Sunday, 20th October, 2019 - Various times

Various venues
Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway DG1 1EA

Various


The Scotland and the Arctic Festival


The history of Scotland's relationship to the Arctic has been one of exploration and exploitation. The undoubted heroism of early Polar explorers, such as Dumfries-born Sir John Richardson, has to be seen alongside the remorseless work of the whalers from east coast ports like Dundee and Aberdeen. Nowadays, there are concerns of fresh exploitation of natural resources, of the effects of climate change which can be 'read' in the behaviours and feeding habits of the Arctic geese who land here each autumn, and of the impact of a global culture on fragile ecologies. The time has come for Scotland to re-evaluate its connections to and relationships with the Arctic.
 
 
 
Tuesday 8th October
Festival launch. By invitation.
Moat Brae, 6.15-7.30 pm
 

Tuesday 8th October
Solway to Svalbard.
The Stove, 8-9.30 pm:
Musician Stuart Macpherson describes an on-going creative response to the spring migration of the Barnacle Geese from the wetlands of the Solway Firth in South West Scotland to the Islands of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle. The project is supported by a new initiative between the Stove and The National Theatre of Scotland. He is joined by Brian Morrell, Centre Manager of WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, who has studied the geese and visited the Arctic on several occasions.
 
 
Wednesday 9th October
Breaking the Ice + Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre
In spring this year a group of young people from Kilmarnock engaged in a 'dialogue' with their peers in Arctic Finland. Producing and sending each other a series of short films - edited together as one: Breaking the Ice - the groups learned about each other's lives, communities and concerns. Their conversation-film will be screened alongside Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (certificate 15) (as selected by Finnish participants). Schools most welcome.
 

Wednesday 9th October
Breaking the Ice – the Highlight Arts youth curated film exchange.
The Robert Burns Film Theatre, 1pm:
A ‘film dialogue’ - between youth from Scotland (Kilmarnock) and Sodankyla (Arctic Finland). Scottish pupils will present the Finnish film, Rare Export.
 

Wednesday 9th October
Geese Over The Town!
Outside The Stove, 7-8pm:
In anticipation of Wild Goose Weekend, join us at this family event to have a gander at wild pinkfooted geese as they fly over the town on their migration path to the Solway Estuary. Come and meet staff from Scotland's Natural Heritage and the Wetland Trust who will interpret the sights and sounds of the geese, part of our most distinctive natural heritage.
Hot drinks for a donation – bring your own mug!
 
 

Thursday 10th October
Walking with Common Cause
The Stove, 6pm:
A guided walk around Dumfries in the company of cultural activists from Scotland and Ireland, inspired by ‘Making Common Cause’, a collection of essays exploring the commons, published by Voluntary Arts. Topics raised will include the rights to take part in culture, community, food, language, knowledge and nature. Walking with Common Cause will lead to The Stove where the evening will continue with refreshments and a discussion inspired by the walk and led by poet Tom Pow.
 
 In collaboration with Voluntary Arts Scotland, A Year of Conversation and The Stove.
 

Thursday 10th October
Woman at War
Robert Burns Film Theatre, 7pm: 
A thriller about a 50-year-old environmental activist who crusades against the local aluminium industry in Iceland.
 

Friday 11th October
Special event: Our Future Scotland.
Easterbrook Hall, afternoon
Presented by Scotland’s Futures Forum and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
 
 
Friday 11 October
Atanjarjut, The Fast Runner.
Robert Burns Film Theatre, 7pm
The first feature film to be made in the Inuktitut language. 
 

Saturday 12 October#
Film, photography and creativity in the Arctic.
Robert Burns Film Theatre, 7.30pm
Join Colin Tennant, who has just sailed through the North West Passage, and Dr. Saskia Coulson, as they share their recent photography and film assignments, discuss the creative processes involved and the difficulties and the urgency of documenting this important but rapidly changing environment. 
 

Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th October
Wild Goose Weekend
 WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock, DG1 4RS. (01387 770200)
Open 10am-5pm, last admission 4pm

The Solway is a vital destination for thousands of wintering geese from across the Arctic. This weekend, in its second year, celebrates the return of the wild geese to the Solway and informs about their amazing migration. The weekend includes opportunities to watch thousands of geese and there will be guided walks on the reserve and fascinating talks from experts. Local author Stephen Rutt will talk about his new book ‘Wintering: A Season With Geese...’ and Dr David Borthwick from Glasgow University, is leading a Creative Writing Workshop. For families there are craft activities, games and the opportunity to listen to professional storytellers Tony Bonning (12th October) and Anne Errington (13th October) at 10.30 a.m. in the Yurt. There is also the unique opportunity to see our fantastic wild swan feeds and many other wildfowl and birds of prey on the reserve.  On Saturday 12th October, 5.30-8.30pm, SNH and WWT staff will be leading a free guided walk up Wardlaw Hill to watch the evening goose flight out to the Solway Estuary.  (Booking essential, call SNH Dumfries, 01738 458678 for further details).
 
 

Sunday 13th October
Sameblod.
Robert Burns Film Theatre, 6pm
Sameblod tells the story of 14-year-old Elle Marja, a reindeer-breeding Sámi girl. Exposed to the racism of the 1930s and eugenics experiments at her boarding school she starts dreaming of another life. To achieve this other life she has to become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture.

 
Wednesday 16th October
Geese Over The Town!
Outside The Stove, 7-8pm
A second opportunity to join us at this family event to have a gander at wild pinkfooted geese as they fly over the town on their migration path to the Solway Estuary. Come and meet staff from Scotland's Natural Heritage and the Wetland Trust Reserve who will interpret the sights and sounds of the geese, part of our most distinctive natural heritage.
Hot drinks for a donation – bring your own mug!
 

Thursday 17th October
'Dr John Richardson of Dumfries: Surgeon and Natural Historian. Discovering the Arctic.'
Gilchrist Room, Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries DG1 4ZE.
7.30-9.30
Crichton Conversation with Professor Edward Cowan.
John Richardson (1787-1865) grew up as a neighbour of the Burns family in Dumfries. He became a doctor and joined the Navy which led to an invitation to join John Franklin's expeditions to the Canadian Arctic. He suffered terribly from starvation and cold, becoming involved in at least one notorious tragedy. He edited the 4 volumes of the first Natural History of North America. An outstanding and brilliant son of Dumfries!
 

Friday 18th October
Arkhticós Doloros (The Arctic in Pain)
The Garden Room, Moat Brae.
7.30-9.30 pm
Performance by Greenland Inuit poet and artist, Jessie Kleemann, whose work explores the modern-day Inuit identity. Performance followed by poetry and conversation with Tom Pow.
 

Saturday 19th October
Tales of the North for Children and Families with storyteller, Jean Edmiston.
The Garden Room, Moat Brae, Dumfries.
11 am-12.30
 

Saturday 19th October
A Conversation about Scotland and the Arctic.
Glasgow University, Rutherford McCowan, Crichton, Dumfries DG1 4ZE
A conversation engaging with narrative, history, representation (visual and literary), environment and ecology and artistic engagement between Scotland and the Arctic. This initiative grew from the work of Highlight Arts and the Arctic Research Group. It is supported as part of Glasgow University's celebrations marking 20 years on the Crichton Campus. Participants:

Paula Williams – Curator Maps, Mountaineering and Polar Collections, the NLS

Francesco Bertoldi | Senior Policy Adviser | Department for External Affairs | Scottish Government,  leading on the development of the Arctic Policy Framework.

Jessie Kleemann -  Greenland Inuit poet and artist, whose work explores the modern-day Inuit identity.
Canadian storytellers, Dawne McFarlane, Artistic Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, an Aboriginal storyteller, cultural educator artist, writer, choreographer, and film script writer from the Northern Tutchone Nation, Athabaskan language spoken in northeastern Yukon in Canada. 

Jane Rushton – artist, Mallaig (current exhibition at Resipole Gallery: Breathing Spaces, work drawn from a variety of northern environments from Britain, Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard, reflecting on a personal relationship with landscape, and the natural processes that make our world).

Dr Lizanne Henderson (Glasgow University Dumfries) – nineteenth century Arctic explorers, wildlife, depiction of polar bears in literature, children's fiction and visual art.

Dr David Borthwick (Glasgow University Dumfries) who runs the M.Phil, 'Reading the Environment'.

Dr Natalie Welden (Glasgow University Dumfries) - expert on plastics and their impact on sea-life.
Musician, Stuart Macpherson: 'Solway to Svalbard' is a creative response to the spring migration of the Barnacle Goose from the wetlands of the Solway Firth in South West Scotland to the Islands of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle.

Brian Morrell, Centre Manager, WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre.

Yasmin Al-Hadithi and Mirja Kopenen of Highlight Arts.

Tom Pow, Creative Director, A Year of Conversation
 

Saturday 19th October
The Far North in Story and Song.
The Garden Room, Moat Brae, Dumfries
7.30-10pm
Stories from Canadians, Dawne McFarlane, Artistic Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival, widely travelled performer and educator, who has made dance an essential part of her practice, and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, an Aboriginal storyteller, writer, choreographer, and film script writer from the Northern Tutchone Nation, whose Athabaskan language is spoken in the north-eastern Yukon. With whaling songs from the winner of the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Robyn Stapleton, now a singer with a growing international reputation as an interpreter of Scottish song.
 
 

Exhibitions

Sir John Richardson (1787-1865) – Arctic Connections, Dumfries Museum

A small display of memorabilia commemorates Sir John Richardson who was born in Dumfries, the son of a local brewer. He was educated along with Robert Burns' eldest son at Dumfries Academy. John went on to become a trained doctor, a famous Arctic explorer, a pioneer of natural science and founder of the system of medical care for seamen within the Royal Navy. His work contributed to that of Charles Darwin.

 
After it’s Gone, The Stove, 7-14 October - photography exhibition showing an ongoing body of work by Dr Saskia Coulson & Colin Tennant, exploring the landscape, ecology and history of the Arctic. Created during several assignments to multiple locations within the Arctic Circle over the last two years.


 
 
 
 Presented by A YEAR OF CONVERSATION 2019 and THE SCOTTISH INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL in association with Moat Brae National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, Glasgow University School of Inter-Disciplinary Studies Dumfries, The Crichton Foundation, WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Scottish Natural Heritage, Robert Burns Film Theatre, The Stove Network, CAMPLE LINE and Highlight Arts.
 
 Arctic photo by Coulson and Tennant.
 

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