Background to the project

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The Scottish Government has declared 2013 the ‘Year of Natural Scotland’ led by Scottish Natural Heritage. Creative Scotland is supporting the year along with several other public agencies including Event Scotland and Visit Scotland.

One of Creative Scotland’s key contributions to the year’s activities will be Imagining Natural Scotland. A partnership project between Creative Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the University of St Andrews, it will explore how ‘Natural Scotland’ has been represented, misrepresented, imagined and re-imagined in literature, visual arts, architecture, film, TV, photography, music, theatre, design, advertising and popular culture – and how these representations inform and shape our understanding of and relationship to the natural world.

“Imagining Natural Scotland is an important contribution to the Year of Natural Scotland for Creative Scotland. Our perceptions of the natural world are highly coloured by the arts, popular culture and media. Scotland’s natural environment looms large in much of its celebrated fiction and poetry, visual arts and music, it features in extremely popular movies – think ‘Brave’, ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Skyfall’ – and images of lochs and glens have launched a thousand calendars and a million tourist brochures. Artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and others continue to explore the natural world in their work, often in response to current concerns about the global environment.

“This project will look a little more closely at ‘Natural Scotland’ across the arts and popular culture, and at how these cultural representations and imagined landscapes shape the ways we think about and respond to Scotland’s environment. One of the most exciting aspects of the project is the collaboration and insight which scientists, geographers and environmental historians are bringing to ‘Imagining Natural Scotland’: this interdisciplinary approach is essential to the creative works and critical explorations to be produced, and we are delighted and grateful to have such strong support and participation from experts in Scottish Natural Heritage, the University of St Andrews, and other leading scientific and cultural institutions across Scotland.”

                                                         Scott Donaldson, Portfolio Manager, Creative Scotland.

“Scottish Natural Heritage is supporting the Imagining Natural Scotland project as part of Year of Natural Scotland 2013.  Our distinct and diverse natural heritage is outstanding, shaping the lives and culture Scotland’s people, who in turn have shaped much of Scotland’s nature.  Exploring the important linkages to be found between nature and culture, this project brings a new examination and fresh perspective to Scotland’s natural heritage that will provoke debate about how we can best tackle the environmental challenges facing Scotland today.  The outcome will be improved understanding of Scotland’s nature and landscapes that will encourage more people to explore and celebrate this amazing asset.”

                                                          Scottish Natural Heritage

“In the year of its 600th anniversary, the University of St Andrews is pleased to support Imagining Natural Scotland. This project promises new artistic insights. Through a series of exciting collaborations across the arts and sciences, real and imagined relationships between the people, landscapes, and environments of Scotland will be interrogated and explored. If you scratch history hard enough, you realize that each age surveys its past through the lens of its present.  The Year of Natural Scotland marks an appropriate time in which to consider Scotland’s past, present, and future places in a world which encompasses the complexities of nature and culture.”

                                                          Dr John Clark, University of St Andrews


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Copyright David Griffith 2013

Copyright David Griffith 2013

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