Shoreline connections

Four leading UK poets come together on Saturday to connect the region, through poetry and conversation, with its neighbouring shorelines.
Brought to the 2017 Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival by InSight – a collaboration between cultural critics and arts practitioners – the event will explore the visual, natural and personal connections between four landmasses which are all visible from each other: South West Scotland, the Isle of Man, Cumbria and Northern Ireland.
Poets Stacy Astill from Isle of Man, Northern Ireland’s Paul Yates, Liz Niven of Dumfries and Galloway and Peter Rafferty, Cumbria, come together in the studio at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, at 2.30pm to perform their work and discuss it with the audience and cultural commentators representing the shorelines.
Commentators are Ruth Taillon, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies based in Armagh, Northern Ireland and Dublin, Ireland; Solwayman Dr Brian Irving from Cumbria; Dr Valentina Bold, from Dumfries and Galloway, expert in cultural traditions, particularly literature and song; and artist Julian Watson, also from Dumfries and Galloway.
This event is intended to be the first of a series of multidisciplinary events organised through InSight, which, over the coming years, will celebrate the conversations which the Shorelines can have with each other.
InSight organiser Julian Watson said: “Standing on a clear day on any prominent hill or headland in Dumfries and Galloway you can see easily, to the south, the Cumbrian Lake District and the Isle of Man. Westwards, you can see Ireland.
“Travel, commerce and exchange between these lands has been traditional to the existence of our region for thousands of years. It has often been easier to sail from one shore to the other across the sea, than to labour along hilly terrains between valleys and distant towns in the same land.
“In its way, the Northern Irish Sea can be seen as an ‘island’ of water bounded by its shorelands and hills. It never formed a country of its own, but it has structured what it is to live in this part of the world.
“Modern transport and convenience are now encouraging us to imagine our landscapes differently, but not necessarily true to the longer span of time. InSight seeks to explore, encourage and enjoy those traditional links across the northern Irish Sea. We want to find ways to foster new connections and collaborations between our four shorelines.”

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