Place of Pillars | Ruth Barker

Ruth Barker’s Place of Pillars (2016) was conceived as a lament on the crofters’ uprising and commissioned as part of a wider collaboration between ATLAS Arts and the Staffin Community Trust to create a memorial to the uprising through local stories and shared memories.

Composed as a spoken word performance, and performed live in both Skye and in Edinburgh as part of the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival, the work is available to listen to and download online here. A poetic monologue, Ruth describes the artwork as: ‘a slip shod stretch in unsuitable shoes, it is a meandering and unreliable ramble across the peat landscape of Skye’s Trotternish peninsula, from the township of Flodigarry (“the floating enclosure”), to the river Lealt (“the half stream”). It is a circuitous loop through the Staffin crofters’ uprising, past handmade dinosaurs, via biro marks on a folded map. It is a route of thought – not so much a train as a sheep track bumping its way between the lochans.’

With sparks of humour, familiar landmarks, and an idiosyncratic eye for detail, Ruth’s writing has a firm rooting in the day to day of contemporary Scotland.