Expressing An Island, Patrick Corbett Geology Poetry Workshop July 2023, Film Still By Glenda Rome (1)

Expressing An Island | Norman Bissell

Expressing An Island | Norman Bissell

On Luing (and neighbouring Slate islands), writer and director of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics Norman Bissell led Expressing an Island. Norman, along with Luing-based artist Lottie May and others, have delivered a series of monthly workshops in creative writing, arts, craft and geology with the aim of producing a legacy of continuing creative networks and outputs for print and exhibition. The outputs are framed around Geopoetics – in essence, about the creative expression of the Earth, relating to the unique and inspirational location of the Slate Islands.

As well as providing advice and inspiration for writers and artists/crafters on Luing, the purpose of this project is to create and strengthen networks for writers, artists and crafters on Luing and linking with Seil, Lismore and Kerrera, which will continue in the years to come.

Since the launch weekend at the Atlantic Islands Centre, Luing, on 1st and 2nd July, 9 workshops have been delivered, engaging with 78 individuals, including on neighbouring islands Seil and Lismore. An additional 15 workshops are planned before December, including on Kerrera. The launch weekend in July consisted of a writing workshop led by Norman Bissell and a Slate Geology and Poetry Workshop led by Patrick Corbett, Emeritus Professor of Geology, Heriot-Watt University. Alongside this, filmmaker Glenda Rome began shooting a documentary film, ‘Expressing the Earth’ about Geopoetics, conducting interviews and filming the workshops.  

A key aim of this project was to establish and nurture writers and art/craft networks on Luing and neighbouring islands Seil, Easdale, Lismore and Kerrera. This has already happened with a newly established group called Slate Scribblers from Seil and Luing, who will continue to meet monthly next year. The Luing Crafters group 12 Dancing Pigeons has been strengthened through the variety and consistency of Lottie’s free workshops. New crafters from other areas have also attended. Another key aim was to publish and exhibit work developed through the workshops.  Work has begun on editing and curating this work for public sharing, including in the Luing Newsletter and the Scottish Geopoetics Society journal Stravaig, which reaches an international audience.

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics is based on Luing, and membership and visibility are increasing as a direct consequence of this project. Developing a library of Geopoetics-related work and establishing a programme of potential residencies in the future are gaining ground: Crafting creativity and culture on Luing - The Oban Times.

Coastal Cultures - Islands is funded by Creative Scotland and supported by The Scottish GovernmentArgyll and Bute Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Coastal Cultures, Islands, supports the aims of the Argyll and Bute Economic Strategy, the National Plan for Scotland’s Islands and the Scottish Government's Gaelic Language Plan.