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Tuesday 7 July

The Visual Arts and Geopoetics: Illustrated Talk by Bill Taylor and Discussion.
Bill Taylor is an artist who specialises in photography and is principal teacher of art at Harris Academy in Dundee. His illustrated talk presented a wide-ranging survey of 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.

Cullipool - Early Morning

Two buzzards work their way along
Surveying the ground,
Spreading fear across the hillside
Like larva flow.
Sparks snake through the bracken,
And birds’ cries flare up beneath them,
Going quiet as their shadows pass.
Giant pieces of slate stand on the
Black beach in a row,
Worn, like sharks’ fins.
The earth rises gouged by man,
White heat driving him,
And Pollock says “I am nature”.

By Ian Prior

The Poetics of Place: Talk by Norman Bissell and Discussion.
This talk drew 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 contrasted 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.

A Geotrail and Slate Sculpture Gardens in Cullipool: Talk and Walk led by Bill Taylor & Alastair Fleming.
This short talk outlined 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 then walked 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 were asked to contribute their ideas, sketches, photographs and poems at the Geotrail and Slate Sculpture Gardens Showcase on Friday 10 July at 2.15pm.

Storytelling Workshop led by Patsy Dyer. Maximum 20 places.
This workshop attracted a large group of people to 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. Those attending were asked to tell their own stories and shown how to tell them even better.

Storytelling and Music Night with Patsy Dyer, Margaret Bennett and Aidan O’Rourke.
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 played 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. He was also joined by Lori Watson who sang some beautiful Scots songs and Margaret Bennett who sang some lovely Gaelic songs.

This was another great night of imaginative storytelling and virtuoso traditional fiddle, guitar and song. 


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