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Expressing the Earth conference - Seil Island

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics in association with the Centre for Rural Creativity, University of the Highlands and Islands, presents 'Expressing the Earth'. A transdisciplinary conference, taking place on Seil Island, June 22nd - 25th. Full program details, and a link to booking can be found here

‘Geopoetics is concerned, fundamentally, with a relationship to the earth and the opening of a world’.The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics and the University of the Highlands and Islands will host Expressing the Earth in Argyll 2017 to bring together creative artists, musicians, poets and film makers along with academics, researchers, students and teachers to explore, create and debate the earth and the environment in this spectacular area of Scotland.

I shall be running a workshop as part of the program, in the style of my Creen Craft group work. This session will be an opportunity to explore how the landscape of this area has resonated with you, and what meaning is held within it, through art making and group conversation. I envisage this as a space in which the manner of our working can be responsive to the themes and strands emerging from the conference itself, in tandem with the wider view of what it is that brings you here, and us together as a group - without prescribing too much of what this will be in advance. The intention here is to allow space for something living, breathing and of the moment to join us, as our work is about courting the images through which the land itself may speak, rather than for us to say something 'about' it. Participants will be asked to pay close attention to the feeling senses, and to any inner images that have arisen since arrival at Seil. We will consider the art made in the group to be a form of communication with the land, via our capacity for the imaginal. In this sense we view the image as primary, the ground of certainty.

One motif that may be prominent here is that of healing. A former centre of the slate mining industry, several large lagoons developed in 1881 when quarries were breached by a fierce storm. Impossible to pump out, the water remained. An act of damage limitation, self-repair, and regeneration on the part of Earth? We will consider what impact this may have on us, perhaps in subtle ways, and how to engage with this propensity for healing which comes directly from the land.

The group will begin in the morning, where we have 30 minutes together prior to going on the field trips. I will start off by reading to you from some text, which offers a way to set the scene, and immerse into a different kind of reflective space. We will then move straight into a period of art making, for which a question will be posed, but you will be free to use the materials provided in the manner of your choosing. Following this we will gather the work that has been made and place it together, at which point participants will be free to say something of it and the experience of making. Each piece of art made by an individual in the group is also considered to have been created by and belong to 'the group' as a whole. Our conversation begins when we view all the work together, bringing the various connecting strands between the images into relation. We respond to the content and form of the pieces, but are not concerned with their perceived quality. By so doing we remember ourselves as part of a greater whole, and that both our love and concern for the Earth also stems from it. Realising this in a visual form is a potent medicine for all.

The afternoon period will follow the same format as the morning, but with an emphasis on deepening, and following common threads appearing in the work. In this way we bring the personal together with the collective, which acts as a revealing of place.

Not experience of, or proficiency in art making is required. Basic materials, predominantly pens, pencils, pastel, paint, paper will be provided.

Facilitated by Andrew Phillips Ba(Hons) Fine Art, MA Art Psychotherapy. I have been exploring a love of landscape through my art practice for over ten years, and exhibit my work regularly. I have worked with individuals and groups, in a variety of settings, including the NHS. I am registered with the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC). Throughout this website you will be able to find out more about my approach to art, and what inspires me to do this work with people. If you should have any further questions please get in touch via the contact page.

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