Looking back & looking forward 2018/ 2019

Celebrating the exciting things this we’ve been up to in 2018 helping create a more sustainable environment and a quick look forward to more in 2019.

: Our John Muir Artists in ResidenceDalziel+Scullion were visiting Dunbar and walking the John Muir Way. They worked with local people on their all day photos shoots, illustrating how to use all the senses to make more of our time in the landscape.

February: Sadly we said goodbye to our Project Assistant Felicity Bristow who did a fantastic job of research and project delivery for us and we wish her good luck in all she does.

May/June: The exhibition HOMINGby Dalziel+Scullion opened at Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery. Helped by our Project Assistant Justine Watt they installed a very special and personal exhibition which gained fantastic feedback.

Elaine Lindsay from Aberdeenshire had worked with D+S to develop a woven hand as the symbol of the vast areas of farmed landscapes that make up East Lothian – through which the John Muir Way weaves its narrow path. Elaine then came down to run a workshop with the Grammar School and also a public workshop at the Town House connecting the community to the exhibition and its environmental message.

June: The HOMING book launch and artists talk by DaLziel+Scullion at the town house was a highlight of the year. The artists had chosen to use the book format for its light touch on this already intensely managed landscape. Beautiful photography, an introduction by Euan McGregor and quotes from Nan Shepherd combined to offer a ‘kind of field guide’ to reconnecting with the natural world. The Books and the specially designed Walking Stick Badges are now available from ourselves and at John Muir’s Birthplace and other book shops along the John Muir Way such as The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh
John Muir Blog https://northlightarts.org.uk/topics/john-muir-residency-blog/

August/SeptNATURAL MAGICwas developed as a community project that connected older and younger people with their environment.

The famous environmentalist John Muir was born in Dunbar and his boyhood experiences of the surrounding hills, cliffs and sea inspired his belief that connection with the natural world is essential to our sense of well-being.

Natural Magic was devised by North Light Arts to follow his footsteps in an exploration of the natural world on our doorstep. We wanted people to see, hear, taste, touch, smell the world about them and with the help of creative artists to maybe go beyond their senses.

We spent many hours in gardens,at the Backlands and Belhaven Community Gardens: orwe brought the outside in, and went to the beach to experience the fantastic resource of our environment. And then we shared tea and cakes to bring everyone together to share their stories.

We spent many hours making things.Playfulness is at the heart of creativity and as adults we may have forgotten about this simple pleasure. With the help of our amazing workshop leaders we tasted honey; bent wire to make bees; made solar jars using plants; squeezed the juice out of flowers to make pictures and at the Belhaven Hospital Garden we brought the community together to celebrate Apple Day.

October: The one month exhibition At the Bleachingfield and Tea Party was a huge celebration with younger and older people discovering the benefits of the arts and the natural world. Carey Douglas-Carnegie showed the beautifully candid photographs she had taken as the organiser of the workshops. She also took some atmospheric film of the multi generational Apple Day – seen here on the web site https://northlightarts.org.uk/2018/11/natural-magic-videos-poems/

Hannah Lavery of CoastWord was commission to gather stories at various events in the Natural Magic programme, listening for themes to inspire her to compose a series of poems that were shown at the exhibition.


It’s a cauld day, aye.
The wind. The wind.
It gets ye. Right in

yer bones. Settles
there. Beds down to
Spring. It gets ye

and the tender plants too.
Ye need yer roots to survive it.
It’s aye, a cauld, cauld day.

A Hoolie comes fae the Forth.
Skims a stone to knock
us sideways, all ways, aye.

By Hannah Lavery


November: North Light Arts secured a grant from Tesco to build a new shed at the Rainbow in the Backlands Garden for community activity in the future. We are looking for further funding so that more volunteers can take part in the build and kick start the 2019 programme.

December: We advertised the John Muir Open  – TIDE: A Sea Change – Dialogues of Change deadline for applications 14thJanuary 2019 further info can be found on at www.northlightarts.org.uk

Warm wishes to all for an innovative and creative Year 2019 from all at North Light Arts