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Saturday 4 July 

5pm Welcome gathering and Introduction to Geopoetics by Norman Bissell.
Come along to welcome our guests to Luing and hear an outline from the director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics of what geopoetics is all about. His talk will set out the need for radical cultural renewal, for a deep-going sense of world, and for its creative expression in a wide variety of different forms.

6pm Buffet Meal £10 (bring your own bottle)
Join our guests for a lovely two course buffet: catering provided by Marianne Frew. For catering purposes it is essential to phone Zoë Fleming ASAP at 01852 314367 if you want to come.

8pm Nàdair Film Argyll’s Atlantic Islands and Discussion
With its director Andy Crabb from Kerrera. Come and see this beautiful film about the people, landscapes and community projects of Lismore, Islay, Tiree, Coll, Luing and more. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to ask its director about the film, how he made it and what his experiences of making it were.

9pm Informal Ceilidh £5 for the evening (bring your own bottle)
Bring along your songs to sing, poems to read and stories to tell.

Sunday 5 July

Free morning to explore the island.

1pm - 3pm The Atlantic Islands and Geopoetics: Talk by Norman Bissell with contributors from other islands and Discussion. £2
A filmed message of support for the Festival and Summer School from Scottish Government Culture Minister Michael Russell will be shown at the start.
Come and find out how the Atlantic Ocean has played a crucial role in bringing people to the islands of the west coast of Scotland including the Celts, Christian missionaries, the Lords of the Isles and others up to the present day. An appreciation of the rich natural heritage of the Atlantic Islands and their cultural expression can unite and help to sustain our island communities, especially by establishing an Atlantic Islands Centre on the Isle of Luing. Join in the Discussion with contributors from other Argyll islands.

4.30pm – 5.30pm Jim Ferguson on Tannahill: An Introduction to the Life and Work of Paisley Poet and Songster Robert Tannahill (1774-1810). £2
This talk by poet Jim Ferguson will provide a brief outline of Tannahill's biography and discussion of a selection of his poems and songs, focussing on his reaction to the Napoleonic War, his use of imagery from the natural world to represent states of mind, and his anti-slavery lyrics. He will also read some of his own poems.

7.30pm Writers’ Night with Jan Sutch Pickard from the Ross of Mull, Graham Hardie, Jim Ferguson and others. £5 (Bring your own bottle)
Jan Sutch Pickard is a poet and storyteller living in Bunessan on the Ross of Mull who relishes the place and its contrasts and whose two collections of poems Out of Iona and Between high and low water are published by Wild Goose. Graham Hardie is a poet, editor of Osprey Journal and The Glasgow Review, and founder of Literature Scotland, whose first collection Love’s Pathos is published by Etrrick Forest Press. Jim Ferguson is a writer and poet based in Glasgow. He has been writing and publishing since 1987 and is presently a tutor with Easterhouse Writers' Group in Glasgow's East End. His collection "the art of catching a bus and other poems" is published by AK Press.

Monday 6 July

8.45am – 9.30am Tai Chi led by Anthony Sircar. Please note earlier starting time. £2
Anthony Sircar from the Isle of Seil has been teaching Tai Chi for 9 years now and has a great interest in energy work which also includes healing and Taoist philosophy. He teaches Tai Chi at The Beach health club and Atlantis Leisure in Oban and regularly runs Tai Chi courses for the Luing community. He has kindly stepped in to provide these sessions because Steve Pardue who was to have led them is unwell and unable to attend.

10am – 1pm Atlantic Islands Plant Life: A Guided Walk to Ballachuan Hazel Woods led by Seil Natural History Group. £2
Meet at South Cuan ferry at 9.40am and walk on Seil to Ballachuan. Bring walking boots and waterproofs etc.
Come along and learn about lichens, wildflowers, hazels, other trees and birds from the experts Andy Acton (lichen), Carl Farmer (plants) and Richard Wesley (birds). Ballachuan is a designated site of international importance for its lichen flora, with many species depending on the hazels. These Scottish Wildlife Trust Woods have rich ground flora and are good for breeding birds and summer migrants.

1pm Lunch

2.15pm – 3.30pm White River and Geopoetics: Talk by Jamie Whittle and Discussion. £2
Jamie Whittle is a writer, environmental lawyer, and outdoor enthusiast and instructor whose talk will look at the project he undertook between 2000 and 2007 exploring and writing about the watershed of the River Findhorn (preparation, the journey, research) and about the inspiration geopoetics and in particular writers such as Kenneth White, Gary Snyder and Sigurd Olson have had upon his writing. One subject will be the way in which geopoetics forms the primary connection between the human and non-human world in his book White River published by Sandstone Press, as well as being the bedrock upon which all the other themes in the book are built, and the practical application of geopoetics in terms of how we live in a place and time where there is an increasing focus on sustainability. The talk will then be followed by a discussion on (amongst other things) the connection between people and place that can be strengthened through writing.

3.30pm Tea/coffee break

4pm – 5pm Time Was Away: Talk by Anne Scott and Discussion. £2
As a long time member of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, Anne Scott has been involved with its work and that of the Open World Poetics group since 1989. She is a tutor in Shakespeare and in Irish Poets at Glasgow University and is a fascinating speaker. Her talk will be on "On living out of the world in 'Meeting Point' by Louis McNeice".

7.30pm Music Night with Margaret Bennett, Mark Sheridan and Hugh MacQueen. £5 (Bring your own bottle)
Margaret Bennett is one of our finest singers in Gaelic and English, a storyteller, part-time teacher at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, recipient of numerous international awards and widely regarded as ‘Scotland’s foremost folklorist’. CD collaborations with her late son, Martyn, feature in theatre and film including ‘The Black Watch’ and her concert is not to be missed.
She will be accompanied on keyboard and percussion by Mark Sheridan who is a leading composer, conductor, broadcaster and senior academic at the University of Strathclyde. His output includes symphonic works, an opera, and chamber works such as When They Lay Bare, The Curve of the Earth and The Flight of the Arctic Tern which premiered at Celtic Connections in 2009 and tours the Highlands in October 19th –24th.
Hugh MacQueen is a former Mod Gold Medallist whose beautiful singing is much loved by the people of Luing where he lives. He always has lovely songs to sing about the Hebridean islands so yet another treat in store!

Tuesday 7 July

9.00am – 9.45am Tai Chi as above. £2

10am - 11.15am The Visual Arts and Geopoetics: Illustrated Talk by Bill Taylor and Discussion. £2
Bill Taylor is an artist who specialises in photography and is principal teacher of art at Harris Academy in Dundee. His illustrated talk will survey the visual arts and how they relate to geopoetics including a close look at leading contemporary artists whose work is inspired by the natural environment.

11.15am Tea/coffee break

11.45am - 12.45pm The Poetics of Place: Talk by Norman Bissell and Discussion. £2
This talk will draw on the rich Gaelic writings of Celtic monks, Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair and Duncan Ban MacIntyre to show that geopoetics is reconnecting with a very old tradition of appreciation and expression of the natural world and is entirely appropriate for the Islands and Highlands. It will contrast the Romantic approach of James MacPherson, Walter Scott and William Wordsworth with the poetry of Norman McCaig, Sorley MacLean and Kenneth White to illustrate the kind of grounded poetics which these places deserve.
Norman Bissell writes poetry, essays and reviews which have been widely published and is an experienced teacher and lecturer. His poetry collection Slate, Sea and Sky, A Journey from Glasgow to the Isle of Luing with photographs by Oscar Marzaroli is published by Luath Press. He founded and led the Open World Poetics group in 1989, became director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics in 2002, and is a director of the Isle of Luing Community Trust and Chairman of the Luing Horticultural Society.

12.45pm Lunch

1.45pm – 3.15pm A Geotrail and Slate Sculpture Gardens in Cullipool: Talk and Walk led by Bill Taylor & Alastair Fleming. £2
This short talk will outline the idea of developing a Geotrail in the Cullipool area which would include discreet interpretation, poetry and artwork relating to its geology and the possibility of Slate Sculpture Gardens on Isle of Luing Community Trust land around the village which would be in keeping with its conservation status. We will then walk round the village to the quarries and back to the proposed site of the Atlantic Islands Centre at the Engine House to seek inspiration for this project. Participants will be asked to contribute their ideas, sketches, photographs and poems at the Geotrail and Slate Sculpture Gardens Showcase on Friday 10 July at 2.15pm.

3.15pm Tea/coffee break

3.45pm – 5pm Storytelling Workshop led by Patsy Dyer. Maximum 20 places. £2
Come along and learn from a professional storyteller how to tell a good story including its structure, its characters and how to develop these to keep your audience interested. Do you have good stories about Luing and the other Atlantic Islands? If so, bring them along and learn how to tell them even better!

6.45pm – 7.15pm Putting work on our websites: workshop with Rosy Barlow. £2
This is an opportunity to learn how to upload your photographs, artwork, poems and writing to our websites at www.atlanticislandsfestival.com and www.geopoetics.org.uk. This way your creative responses to the island and your experiences of the Festival will feature on the internet to be enjoyed by others and will be showcased at the session on Friday 10 July at 2.15pm. You can then apply these skills to developing your own presence on the web.
Rosy Barlow manages various websites for Differentia Design and with her husband Mike runs Sunnybrae Caravan Park on Luing.

7.30pm Storytelling and Music Night with Patsy Dyer, Margaret Bennett, Aidan O’Rourke and Children’s Gaelic Song performance. £5 (Bring your own bottle)
Patsy Dyer is a professional storyteller and horticultural writer who is also an avid writer of fiction, poems and plays. She has performed in Storytelling Festivals in Oxford, Isle of Skye, Glasgow and Edinburgh and has always been fascinated by tales and sagas from ‘The Northlands’. She lived for more than a year in Norway and has visited Sweden, Denmark and Russia, the cold countries from where she has been inspired to tell an array of rich, burning Northland Tales of desire, lust, ice and fear.
Aidan O’Rourke is one of Scotland’s finest traditional fiddlers and innovative composers who is a founder member of Blazin’ Fiddles and Lau, BBC Radio 2’s Folk Group of the Year in 2008 and 2009. His superb solo releases Sirius (2006) and An Tobar (2008) have been highly acclaimed and he will play a brand new set at the Festival accompanied by Marc Clement on guitar. He grew up in Oban and later on the Isle of Seil where he was taught to play the fiddle by George McHardy and Maurice Duncan whose expertise covered several Scottish playing styles. Definitely a player not to be missed!
Margaret Bennett will lead the children who took part in her Gaelic Song workshops in a performance of songs they have learnt. These workshops will provide a flying start to learning Gaelic for the children taking part since Gaelic lessons will be starting at Luing Primary school in August 2009.

Wednesday 8 July

10am – 12.30pm Atlantic Island Bird Song: Talk, Discussion and Guided Walk led by Seil Natural History Group. £2
This talk by Richard Wesley, Chairman of Seil Natural History Group, will focus on Bird Song and how we can learn how to identify different birds even if we can’t see them. Weather permitting, we will then apply what we have learned outdoors in the vicinity of Cullipool.
Richard is a former Countryside Ranger and Rights of Way Officer who is a keen ornithologist and lives at Balvicar on the Isle of Seil.. He founded the Seil Natural History Group in 2007 which now has 92 members and a great website at www.seilnature.spaces.live.com. The Group recently completed a Community Wildlife Garden at Seil Island Hall which is to be featured on the BBCTV Beechgrove Garden programme on Wednesday 8th July 2009.

12.30pm Lunch

1.30pm – 4.30pm Slate Sculpture Competition outdoors £2 entry
Assemble at Cullipool Hall for this unique event, the first ever Slate Sculpture World Championship here on Luing! Come along and build your own slate sculpture from waste slate above the shore on the way into Cullipool village. It can be any design you wish which is in keeping with the setting and should not be more than 6 feet high. Three prizes of prints by Richard Childs and three children’s prizes will be awarded by artist judges Bill and Angela Taylor. See if you can become a World Champion - you cannot win if you do not enter!

12 noon - 5pm One to One Writer Surgeries with Peter Urpeth, Hi-Arts Writing Development Coordinator. Free
This is a great chance for budding writers to have a one to one session to discuss their work with a professional writer. Please note that each session lasts for up to 1 hour in length so there are only 5 places. As well as booking using the booking form on Luing it is essential to e-mail Peter Urpeth direct ASAP at: peter@hi-arts.co.uk. Further details at www.hi-arts.co.uk/writer-surgeries.htm.

3pm – 5pm Theatre Skills: Workshop led by Marion Sheridan. £2
This is a specially devised programme by Marion Sheridan who is an actor, director, producer and lecturer in theatre studies at the University of Strathclyde who has produced and directed several acclaimed productions in recent years. It is designed to assist those interested in drama to develop their skills and talents. This session will feature developing your voice skills using particular theatre techniques and it will be of great benefit to those who wish to participate in drama on Luing or elsewhere. You can attend one or both sessions.

6.15pm – 6.45pm Putting work on our websites: workshop with Rosy Barlow as above. £2

7.30pm The Atlantic Islands Suite: A new musical and poetry composition by Mark Sheridan and Norman Bissell featuring Margaret Bennett, Aidan O’Rourke and Lori Watson followed by an informal reception. £5
Another world first for Luing!
This is the world premiere performance of a new musical composition by Mark Sheridan responding to some of the Luing poems of Norman Bissell. Their fruitful collaboration has yielded a moving evocation of life on Luing and the other Atlantic Islands. Mark Sheridan on keyboards and (slate!) percussion and Norman Bissell’s recital of his poetry will be joined by ace fiddlers Aidan O’Rourke and Lori Watson and the beautiful Gaelic voice of Margaret Bennett. It will be followed by an informal reception at which you can meet the artists and discuss their work with them. Don’t miss it!

Thursday 9 July

10am – 3.30pm Boat Trip to Eileach an Naoimh, weather permitting. Take a packed lunch. £15 for adults, £10 for children
Eileach an Naoimh (Holy Isle) is the furthest south of the Garvellach Isles and is the site of the first monastic settlement in Argyll founded by St Brendan (or Brandan) in the 5th century AD. The remains of a monastery, chapel, graveyard, well and beehive cells can be seen along with the reputed grave of St Columba’s mother Eithne. Brendan the Navigator and other monks sailed from here to Seil, the Outer Hebrides, Iceland and possibly North America in a small curragh. We will spend about 4 hours on the island so it is essential to bring warm waterproof clothing, walking boots, food and water.
Note: if weather does not permit the Boat Trip on Thursday 9 July it will take place on Saturday 11 July leaving from Cullipool at 10am and returning at 3.30pm.

3.45pm – 5.45pm Theatre Skills Workshop led by Marion Sheridan as above. Please note that this will be held in Kilchattan Church.

4pm - 5.30pm Celtic Artwork: place, language, culture: Talk and Workshop led by Cheryl Galbraith. Maximum 20 persons for the talk and 8 for the workshop. £2 This workshop will explore some of the connections between Celtic art and wider culture, language and place. From the history of the art form as it developed, as Scotland did, under the influence of Picts, Celts, Vikings and others, to the spiritual and religious beliefs which are embedded deep in Celtic culture, and which find expression in art, music, folklore and poetry. We will look at how Celtic art has developed to express modern Scottish culture and at examples of the work of today's Celtic artists. From this introduction we will move to the practical part of the workshop which will give everyone a confident start in learning to use the Celtic idiom. We will start by drawing some basic elements, and learn how these can be combined and built upon to create more complex designs. As well as their own artwork, participants will take away with them a set of workshop notes, including a bibliography, and some practical advice and exercises to help develop their work further.

6.15pm – 6.45pm Putting work on our websites: workshop with Rosy Barlow as above. £2

7.00pm My Journey to Luing: a musical presentation by Jacqui McDonald.
Jacqui spends a substantial part of each year on Luing, and has done since she first came here in the early 70's. Her musical journey began long before that with the Liverpool Spinners at first and then with Bridie as the duo Jacqui & Bridie. Their travels took them all over Britain, America and Canada. More recently Jacqui has toured folk events in New Zealand and Australia but Luing remains the 'constant' in her life and the island provides the source and inspiration for many of her songs and stories. Jacqui’s beautiful voice and fund of highly amusing tales are always popular with Luing audiences.

8.00pm Atlantic Food Showcase £5 for the whole evening, with tickets to be issued. (Bring your own bottle)
With samples of MacGillivary’s seafood, home baking from the Luing First Responders team, chocolates from the Oban Chocolate Company and whisky tasting presented by Oban Distillery, all followed by an informal ceilidh. The closest coin thrown towards a bottle of malt whisky wins it, proceeds to Luing First Responders.
Bring your wallets too, as once you’ve tasted the samples, you’ll be wishing to buy more from the delicious food presented on the stalls!

Friday 10 July

9.30am – 11am By popular demand: Celtic Artwork: place, language, culture: Talk and Workshop led by Cheryl Galbraith. £2
As above maximum 20 persons for the talk and 8 for the workshop, but please note that this will be held in Toberonochy Hall.

10am – 12pm Geology and geopoetics: Talk and Walk with Alastair and Zoë Fleming £2
The talk will assume no prior geological knowledge other than background general knowledge. If the weather is clement, at least half the session will be spent outside allowing the rocks of Luing to tell their own story. We hope this introduction may inspire the geopoeticians among the participants to weave this story into their work.
Alastair and Zoë are amateur geologists who live on Luing. They were previously teachers with a keen interest in geological education. They try to inspire others to share their enthusiasm for the stories of the Earth's history that can be read in the rocks!
Luing was not always an island …... find out more in their session.

12pm Lunch

1pm – 2.15pm The practice of geopoetics: Scottish Centre for Geopoetics contributors. £2
Jim McCarthy, the author of 8 books including Wild Scotland and An Inhabited Solitude, will speak about his writing of the biographies of explorers and botanists and how he sees it relating to geopoetics. Norman Bissell will speak about how he practises geopoetics in his poetry and in his research into cultural history and biography. There will be an open invitation to everyone to discuss how they see geopoetics relating to their interests and ongoing work.

2.15pm – 3.15pm Websites, Geotrail and Slate Sculpture Gardens Showcase. £2
This session will present the results of the work done in workshops to put photographs, artwork, poetry and other writing on to the geopoetics and Atlantic Island festival websites. It will also present ideas and work that have been developed in the course of the week by those who took part in the Geotrail and Slate Sculpture Gardens Talk and Walk. In this way many of the creative outcomes of the week will be made available for everyone.

3.15pm Tea/coffee break

3.45pm – 4.45pm Lament and Fingal’s Cave – a showing of two short films by the artist Richard Ashrowan, exploring the geopoetics of two distinct Scottish landscapes, followed by a Q&A discussion between the artist and Norman Bissell then the audience. £2
Richard Ashrowan is a moving image artist who lives in the Scottish Borders and whose work has been exhibited internationally. In these recent works he explores the Anglo/Scots borderline, and Fingal’s Cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa. In ‘Lament,’ he was invited to consider the geopoetics of the borderline by the Romanian curator Ileana Pintilie. The subsequent work took the form of a single screen moving image installation, artist monograph and still images, created at various locations on the border and first shown in Romania in 2009. In ‘Fingal’s Cave’ he created a multi-screen moving image installation following numerous visits to the remote sea cave on the island of Staffa. The resulting work was shown at the Foksal Gallery in Warsaw in Poland in summer 2008. Images and more information are available at www.ashrowan.com.

7.30pm Grand Ceilidh with Seil Ceilidh Band and Children’s Drama performance. £5 (Bring your own bottle)
Come and enjoy the last big event of the week at which the children take centre stage with their short drama performance about the Highlands and Islands Clearances directed by Zora King and Marion Sheridan and the Seil Ceilidh Band will help us dance the night away. Many of the artists who have taken part in the Festival will perform for the last time, but bring along your own songs, poems and stories to join in the fun. 

Saturday 11 July

11am – 12noon Plenary Session and Planning the next Atlantic Islands Festival and Geopoetics Summer School. Free
This is an opportunity to discuss how you feel the week has gone and how it might affect your approach to creative activity in the future. How could some of the activities during the week be continued on Luing and elsewhere in the future, for example, in the proposed Atlantic Islands Centre? Should there be another such Festival and Summer School? Should we seek to be involved in the proposed Year of Island Cultures in 2011? Discuss your answers.

12 noon Farewell till the next time.

Note: if weather does not permit the Boat Trip on Thursday 9 July it will take place on Saturday 11 July leaving from Cullipool at 10am and returning at 3.30pm.
Information and Architect’s Plans for the proposed Atlantic Islands Centre will be displayed in Cullipool Hall during the Festival.
Information about the Atlantic Islands will be available as will relevant books for sale during the Festival.


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