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In August next year, Broken Sleep Books are publishing a unique book with the working title of Orasaigh.

The book is a collaboration between myself and the award winning poet and academic Steve Ely. The writing and the photographs are centred on the small island of Orasaigh which lies off the Atlantic coast of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

This project has been in the planning stages for some time but with an exhibition and associated events planned for August and the rest of the year it really is time to tell everyone about it. Exciting and busy times are ahead, all involved in the project are looking ahead to producing what promises to be a productive and enjoyable few months.

Steve's poem, whilst always remaining anchored in the island, explores a range of themes related to Uist and the wider world – sea level rise, the crisis of the ‘sixth extinction’, history, culture, politics, conflict and class.

My photography, producing recognisably traditional but also modern prints, capture the spirit of the text and place to create an independent while complementary subjectivity.

"From halfway across the machair — between the abandoned burial ground and the gutted net station — the island rises"

Our collaboration interacts to produce a uniquely evocative response to a rich and resonant Uist landscape in a work that affirms the vitality and resilience of the human spirit, with the island itself becoming a dual symbol of precarity and hope in the crisis of the Anthropocene.

Prior to the publication of the book there is an exhibition at Gàidhlig cultural centre Cnoc Soilleir in August to share and celebrate the images and words. This will be followed by a larger exhibition at the North Uist Arts Centre Taigh Chearsabhagh from November 2023 with further activity planned for 2024.

Further to this activity we are working with Psychoacoustic Engineers Hyunkook Lee and Juraj Fajnor from the University of Huddersfield along with the Composer and Musician in residence at Taigh Chearsabhagh, Duncan MacLeod to produce 3D recordings, geo-located soundscapes, recordings and more. Further details will follow.

Around the 12th to the 15th of August, Cnoc Soilleir will be hosting Creative Writing workshops (for all ages and abilities) lead by Steve Ely. If the weather permits these workshops will take place on Orasaigh itself. Event dates and booking details will also follow, but you can contact me in advance if you would like more information.

Over the coming weeks I will share more about the project, the exhibitions, the photography, the poetry, the collaborators while I will be also be having guest posts on these pages from Steve Ely and hopefully others alongside previously unseen photographs

The Burial Ground


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