Local artists set to work the Tweed in the Year of Natural Scotland

BORDERS creatives and environmentalists are set to celebrate the River Tweed, thanks to public funding, writes Sally Gillespie.

Four artists will collaborate on a project on the famous salmon river this year, designated Year of Natural Scotland.

Creative Scotland has awarded £37,100 to visual artist Kate Foster, writer Jules Horne, choreographer Claire Pençak and composer James Wyness, as long as they find additional cash from partner organisations.

The artists will work with local environmental organisations Tweed Forum and Southern Uplands Partnership (SUP) on Working the Tweed, one of 14 projects across the country being awarded Year of Natural Scotland funding.

The work will cover the Tweed from source to mouth, and focus particularly on the people who work on and around the river.

Creative director Claire Pençak said: ‘We’re excited to have the chance to work closely with environmentalists, scientists and other experts from around the Borders, as well as with each other.

“We all come from different disciplines and art forms, and we’re looking forward to inspiring each other and rediscovering the Tweed from new angles.

“It’s particularly great that Creative Scotland has chosen a Borders-based collaboration to be part of this national project.”

SUP’s Pip Tabor said: “We are really pleased that this project will be celebrating the Tweed – a wonderful part of natural Scotland. We look forward to working with local artists and communities to mark 2013 and to encourage more people to visit, understand and enjoy the Borders.”

Tweed Forum manager Luke Comins said: “The Tweed has inspired artists and writers for generations, and we are delighted that this hugely important and iconic asset will be celebrated as part of the Year of Natural Scotland.”

Ms Pençak said she hoped Working the Tweed would generate new artistic collaborations and work by the four lead artists and offer opportunities to people in the Borders to participate in several events.

“There will be a series of riverside meetings between artists and those working the Tweed to inspire ideas for further artistic collaborations amongst the professional arts community and in local schools and colleges,” she said, adding that there would also be research into the traditional song and tunes inspired by the River Tweed, and a series of music sessions along the river throughout the coming year.

In October, Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre near Ancrum will host an exhibition by the lead artist where local people and visitors will be able to see some of the ideas that have come out of this project.

Ms Pençak added that although Working the Tweed is a Year of Natural Scotland 2013 event, the ambition is to generate new work and events for the Year of Homecoming in 2014.

She said: “It also hopes to inspire other individuals and organisations to develop their own activities and projects around the theme so that it creates its own tributaries.”

For more information, contact Ms Pençak, creative director of Tabula Rasa, the Borders-based arts organisation which is managing Working the Tweed, at tabularasadance@btinternet.com and visit www.workingthetweed.co.uk