Using area’s heritage in drive to help shape future
Two Perthshire women are among those on a mission to shape a brighter future for their communities through the lens of the past.
Creative arts practitioner Nicky Bolland and author Taylor Waggoner are two of seven people appointed by Creative Dundee’s CULTIVATE programme.
Through workshops, activities and events with local communities - based in Alyth and Loch Tay’s Scottish Crannog Centre, respectively – over the course of six months they will create new ways to respond to local climate change and social challenges that can then be shared across Tayside.
Nicky (33) has been commissioned to work with the Cateran Ecomuseum and Alyth Development Trust, which have recently joined forces to launch Scotland’s first ‘Museum of Rapid Transition’.
The community worker, who lives in Caputh, said: “Alyth is the first community in Perthshire where I spent meaningful time.
“I think of Alyth as a place with strong community networks where interesting things happen, but I know it is also a place where the climate crisis is already felt – in the form of regular flooding, exacerbating the existing challenges that so many small rural communities face.
“There is often an active tension in rural communities between what has come before and what might lie ahead.
“I see this project as an opportunity to meaningfully address these tensions, through compassionate dialogue, taking the heritage of Alyth as the springboard for co-creating a different future.
“I can’t wait to get talking to the locals, including the younger generation, find out what they think and use the lessons from the past to shape a better and more sustainable future.”
Taylor (24), who recently graduated with a BA in contemporary performance practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, will work with the Scottish Crannog Centre, which cares for and makes accessible the finds of Crannog dwellers on Loch Tay 2500 years ago.
Having recently acquired land across the loch to expand its offering, the centre aims to become the greenest museum in Scotland, inspiring the future with minimal impact on the local environment.
Taylor, who set up The Wee Theatre Company with a friend in May 2020, said: “I have vivid memories of visiting the Crannog Centre as a young girl and clearly remember that magical feeling, walking out onto the boards of Loch Tay.
“When I read the brief, I knew this was for me.
“It really expresses the things I’m looking for and lends itself to my love of storytelling and writing.
“But it’s also about developing community ownership – I like the idea of the ancient practices the centre showcases and their relevance to the modern day, passing the torch to the younger generation.
“Heritage sites must do more to get young people involved in their longerterm aims as, one day, these places will be theirs to take over.
“As well as developing my own creative practice, I also love the idea of leaving a piece of me and a trace of my practice here in my home area.”
Both Taylor and Nicky will take up their six-month projects on August 23, alongside five other creative practitioners across the Tay region.
An additional six opportunities will be available with a new set of community partners at the end of the year.
As well as working with their specific communities on a climate justice challenge, the practitioners will all come together to exchange knowledge, develop their work and spark new collaborations and opportunities across the Tay region.
The programme is being delivered by a number of partners, including Perth and Kinross Council.