As part of Andy’s plural futures film commission, he was invited to share audiovisual material from the work in progress so far, centred around a series of interviews with various people local to Skye, ranging from crofters and historians to musicians.
Plockton-based filmmaker and artist Malcolm Mackenzie also joined proceedings, and together conversations were held about how a potential imagined future for Skye might look for all involved.
Storytelling for Earthly Survival
Programmed by collaborator Isabel McLeish, we had a small film screening of Donna Haraway: Storytelling for Earthly Survival directed by Fabrizio Terranova.
The film depicts an intimate portrait of Donna Haraway in a playful and at times surreal direction. Defined by her synonymity with feminism and environmentalism, Haraway discusses a different lens through which to view the world, spanning from her personal history through to her own fabulations.
Saturday, 26th June
Poetry, and walking, with Maoilios Caimbeul
Gaelic poet Maoilios Caimbeul was invited to lead a walk in Flodigarry, Staffin, on a scenic path towards the Quirang skimming the edge of two lochs. Sites of historical importance were visited, while Maoilios fielded questions and recited poetry rooted in the landscape from which it sprang forth, in both Gaelic and English.
Discussing his own work and practice, Maoilios says ‘‘I’ve been back in Staffin, Skye, the place where I was born and to a large extent brought up, since 1992. I’d like to think that I could write poetry worthy of the place. A love of place and a rootedness in place I think is vital in today’s world, whether the place is in the city or country. I set the values of love of place, of community, over against capitalist and market values which see everything as something to be bought and sold for profit.’
At Kilmuir Village Hall, the afternoon saw a practical induction of the use of the Making Publics Press (opens in a new tab), led by the ATLAS team. We learned how to use the equipment, each binding a copy of Gàidhealtachd Futures, a series of essays that sensitively explore questions around Gaelic language and place.
The session was centred around publishing, book binding, and opened the conversation about how the group might come together to lead and co-produce a shared publication on printed matter.
Sunday, 27th June
Dig Where We Stand
Mairi McFadyen and Raghnaid Sandilands led a full day of programming and practical workshops rooted in mapping, storytelling and activism held at Broadford village hall.
Borrowing the title from Alistair McIntosh’s phrase of ‘dig(ging) where you stand’, the collaborative contribution from Mairi and Raghnaid to the School was to explore, together, the role of creative and cultural mapping in the context of activism, and the consideration of maps translating as a tool for conviviality.
Raghnaid’s approach to creative cartography is an invitation not only to observe and question the world but to take participatory, restorative action. Raghnaid introduced the idea of the cultural atlas sampler, with a workshop session sketching out its first steps.
Mairi facilitated a discussion from the perspective of global degrowth, rooted in the idea of the convivial ‘pluriverse’. Degrowth resists the socially and ecologically destructive monoculture of global capitalism, seeking alternative ways of living rooted in local topologies.
Inspiring Scotland Film Commission
Joining the School over the weekend was also filmmaker Patrick Steel, from Fat Toad Films, who had been commissioned by Inspiring Scotland to create a film about different cultural projects spanning across Scotland, working with eleven organisations in total.
Patrick says ‘the film was commissioned by Inspiring Scotland to show the impact of the Creative Communities Fund’ and how it has brought ‘opportunities to engage with culture to participants around Scotland’. Patrick was ‘interested in the reactions of the group to the workshops, and their thoughts on how these sessions have impacted their thoughts for the future’.
The School of Plural Futures
February — September 2021
The School of Plural Futures began in February 2021 and runs throughout the year. Along with artist Emmie McLuskey, eight contributors across Skye and Lochalsh are building this alternative school to speak about the reality and potential of life in Skye and Lochalsh.