Creatives Live – 17 February at the Fort William Mountain Festival

On 17 February, the Scottish Mountaineering Press will be hosting its first live Creatives event at the Fort William Mountain Festival 2024. After the premier of a new short film telling the story of the project so far, our two Creatives editors will be joined by talented writers and artists to explore our relationships with the land, how it inspires us, how that inspiration is realised in creative response and why that response is important. We’d love to see you there, and you can buy tickets here.

Part 1: Creatives Panel

Creatives is a digital publication of writing and visual art that exists to showcase the breadth of experiences and perspectives inspired by Scotland’s landscapes. 

In this panel discussion chaired by Alex Marceau (Creatives Editor), artists Alison Roe, Phoebe Sleath and Ana Norrie-Toch will explore the ways in which their craft is inspired by, engages with and helps shape our experiences of Scotland’s natural landscapes. 

Alison Roe is a writer from Edinburgh who now lives in a caravan in the north-west highlands. She’s always been drawn to the sea and the north, is obsessed by light, and is currently writing a book about sailing to Arctic Norway.

Until recently, she lived aboard her partner’s sailboat, however, a head injury in late 2020 prompted her to move ashore. She’s now collating her reflections on the time afloat and the strange after-effects of bouncing one’s head off some of the oldest rock in Scotland.

Her work has appeared in Northwords Now, Stravaig, and Creatives. She has also made a website about her experiences with concussion, which includes information on resources and treatments: Concussion Recovery UK.

— Read ‘Stone’ (Nonfiction)

Phoebe Sleath is a Geology PhD student and visual artist living in Aberdeen, studying the interpretation of faults in mountains.

On breaks during fieldwork, she began to take her watercolours outside for the first time to paint the coastal landscape. Inadvertently recording the rocks and structural detail, she began to realise the scientific potential of art in both understanding and communicating geology.

Searching through archives, she noticed that before modern mainstream technology, scientists used creativity to study the landscapes and natural history of Scotland. Inspired, she began to take time in between climbing, walking and biking adventures to sit and observe the shifting views with a sketchbook and watercolour palette. 

— Read Fiacaill Ridge (Visual Art)
— Website: phoebe.sleath.co.uk

Ana Norrie-Toch is a Movement Director, Artist and Choreographer based in Edinburgh.

Integral to her creative practice is the influence of body and the journeys within Scotland’s wild landscapes. Within this inclusive space, Ana discovers and researches movement stories of the communities across Scotland – most recently in her Artist Residency: Physical Connections to Landscape through Peat Cutting on the Isle of Lewis, supported by The Work Room.

Ana also works as a Coordinator for the Volunteers and Prison Project at The Bike Station, where the impact of the bike on her life drives her to engage people to be part of the cycling and outdoors community – be that on or off the bike.

— Website: www.movementbyana.com

Part 2: Mèinn (ore, vein, seam | desire, inclination, native energy)

Thigibh nur cuideachd. Bidh fàilte romhaibh. | All are welcome. This event with be in Gaelic with headsets and live translation to English. Scroll to the bottom of the article for the English event description.

Tha a’ Ghàidhlig a tha cho mòr mar chànan na tìre ann an Alba, le iomadh sgeulachd a dhearbhas sin agus am beartas de bhriathan a bheir tomhais air eòlas nan daoine, a’ tabhann gibhtean dhan bhàrd, an sgrìobhaiche agus an neach-ealain.

Tha Raghnaid Sandilands a’ fuireach air taobh a deas Loch Nis is ag obair mar eitneòlaiche cruthachail, eadar-theangaiche is air pròiseactan mapaidh is clò-bhualaidh. S i deasiche aChlò air a’ phròiseact seo gus sgrìobhadh ùr sa Ghàidhlig fhoillseachadh; sgrìobhadh is ealain a th’air a bhrosnachadh leis an tìr, bho shealladh a’ chànain ann an leabhran fon tiotal ‘Mèinn’. Bheir an taisbeanadh is achòmhradh seo beachd air amhèinn sin a liùbhras, le cùram, beartas agus ro-shealladh air cuid de na pìosan a tha gus nochdadh ann.

Beagan mun dithis cruthachail, trang is dealasach a bhios còmhla ruinn;

Rhona Nic Dhùghail, neach-ealain a tha ag obair gu tric aig ìre coimhearsnachd is air pòiseactan co-obrachail le ùidh làidir anns na daimhean eadar sluaghan, cànain agus tìr.

S ann às an Òban a tha Rhona agus tha i air a bhith an sàs san roinn ealain amhòr-chuid de a beatha obrach, gu h-àraid aig ìre coimhearsnachd. S toil leatha dealbhan a thogail, agus pròiseactan ealain co-obrachail a thaisbeanadh. Tha ùidh mhòr aice anns an dàimh eadar sluaghan, cànain agus tìr, agus na sgeulachdan a tha sinn ag innse do chàch a chèile. Tron a cuid obrach, tha i airson àitichean a chruthachadh far am faigh daoine an cothrom a bhith cruthachail (ged nach aithnich iad iad fhèin mar luchd-ealain), ceanglaichean a dhèanamh agus ciall a lorg.

Coinneach MacFhraing, preasantair a’ phòrgam aithriseach ‘Dàna’, neach-ciùil agus iùiliche aig a bheil ùidh mhòr ann am beul-aithris, ceòl agus seanchas na Gàidhlig.

’S e preasantair T.Bh. Gàidhealach, neach-ciùil agus iùiliche air a’ bhlàr a-muigh à Loch Aillse a th’ ann an Coinneach MacFhraing. Thogadh e ann am Bada Call agus bha gràdh aige a-riamh dha a bhith a-muigh an ceàrnaidhean corrach na sgìre aige. Na làithean-sa, ’s iad ruith beinne agus sreap traidiseanta na dòighean as fheàrr leis ùine a chaitheamh sna h-àrainneachdan ud, agus tha an ùidh mhòr a ghabh e bho òige ann an dualchas agus beul-aithris Ghàidhlig taobh siar na h-Alba air an suim aige dhaibh a neartachadh agus a dhoimhneachadh. Thar nan trì bliadhna a dh’fhalbh, tha luchd-coimhid BBC Alba air fhaicinn a’ riagail beanntan, creagan agus uisgeachan na h-Alba air a’ phrògram aithriseach ‘Dàna | Scotland’s Wild Side’. Chlàr e Dàna mar iomairt chruthachail le a dhlùth charaid, an stiùiriche Hamish MacLeòid, agus iad ag obair fo sgiath Solus Productions. A thuilleadh air obair sna meadhanan, ’s e iùiliche a th’ ann an Coinneach aig a’ bhuidhinn leasachaidh ‘Spòrs Gàidhlig’, a bheir seachad cothroman don òigridh air cur-seachadan togarrach sa chànan. ’S gasta leis daoine a chuideachadh gus eòlas a chur air àiteachan agus gnìomhan ùra a bhios brìgheil dhaibh. Dar nach bi e a’ siubhail nam monaidhnean, gheibhear lorg air aig seiseanan-ciùil ionadail leis a’ ghiotàr aige, no a’ teagasg na Gàidhlig dha oileanaich Shabhail Mhòir Ostaig.

Tha Màiri NicGillìosa na neach-ealain lèirsinneach aig a bheil am beartas eòlais air a ceàird agus a bhith a’ roinn a sgilean. Tha spèis mhòr aice dhan chànan is dhan chultar a tha tric a’ spregieadh a h-obair. ‘S i a chur Reothart nan Ealain air chois, ionad ealain Gàidhlig ann an Leòdhas le prìomhachas air ealain lèirsinneach agus modhan ealain eile tradiseanta; òrain, ag aithris sgeulachdan, dannsa-ceum. Tha a h-obair air a bhrosnachadh leis an tìr, le obair clàraidh sa choimhearsnachd, seanchas às an àite agus tric ‘s i a’ Ghàidhlig fhèin an tùs-shradag a dhùisgeas a beachdan is a ghluaiseas gu obair i. Tha i cuideachd na deagh phìobaire.

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Gaelic, so often the language of the landscape in Scotland, has many detailed stories of place and a wealth of words by which the landscape is known and named; the appreciation of Gaelic offers the poet, writer and artist many gifts.

Raghnaid Sandilands is a creative ethnologist, Gaelic translator, map maker and small press publisher based in Strathnairn, on the south side of Loch Ness and editor of the Presss project to publish new Gaelic writing. The brief for Mèinn sought writing and art inspired by the land and the cultural appreciation of it. This presentation and discussion will consider this generous vein, which is to be worked with care, and profiles some of the published pieces with the creators.

A little about the busy, passionate creative people who will be with us;

Rhona Nic Dhùghail is from Oban and has been involved in the arts for much of her working life, particularly at a community level. She enjoys taking photographs and producing collaborative arts projects. She has a strong interest in the relationship between people, languages and land, and the stories that we tell each other. Through her work she aims to make spaces where people have the opportunity to be creative (whether they recognise themselves as artists or not), to make connections and to find meaning.

Coinneach MacFhraing is a Gaelic-speaking television presenter from Lochalsh on the West Coast of Scotland. He grew up in Badicaul, and has always been characterised by a love for being outside and a deep fascination with Gaelic oral-tradition, music and folklore. He is inspired to experience a more profound understanding and connection to that heritage through time spent in the historically and culturally rich landscapes around him, which he primarily does today though mountain running and adventure climbing. Over the past three years, audiences of BBC Alba have watched him climb, run and paddle his way across Scotland in the award-winning television series ‘Dàna | Scotland’s Wild Side’. The programme is produced by Solus Productions, and at its heart is a creative collaboration between Coinneach and his close friend, director Hamish MacLeòid. In addition to his media output, Coinneach is an outdoor instructor for the Gaelic development organisation Spòrs Gàidhlig, providing opportunities for young people to have positive outdoor experiences in the language. Enabling people to access places and activities that inspire them is something he finds incredibly motivating. When he isn’t out in the mountains, he can be found playing traditional music in the local sessions or teaching Gaelic for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

Mairi NicGilliosa is an experienced artist and educator with a long held love of the Gaelic language and culture. She runs Reothart nan Ealain; a Gaelic arts hub on the Isle of Lewis, with a principal focus on visual art as well as other traditional art forms; song, storytelling, step-dance. Her work is often inspired by the land, field work in community, stories of place and the Gaelic language is an expressive, rich presence in her work. She is also an excellent piper.