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A walk with artist Anthony Schrag along Portobello Prom, finishing with hot chocolate on the beach around a bon fire.

Along the way we learnt about the inquisitive, surreal and political practices of walking.  We discussed the idea of drifting, of being led by the walk without a final destination.   Led by Anthony we drifted through many topics and heard a few tales.  It was March, in Scotland, by the sea, there was chittering and chattering and a warm atmosphere.

Going on a guided walk, ending at a fire with hot chocolate led to many questions about creativity and participation more generally.  We discussed the idea of drifting, not knowing, within one journey but also the creative process in general.  Alan said “wandering” is necessay, Martin its exciting.

There was also a feeling, that there is a need for structure, parameters and for some one to take the lead; other wise we would have been freezing and without hot chocolat.  There can still be choice within the structure and a project as a whole drifts with different ways to shape it at different points.

What I took from the group discusison is the process is important and lets not be too set on where we’re going or how we get there, but you need to get somewhere.  There’s a need to to get to the fire, to gather, pause and share ideas. These opportunities are important to the idea of adoption and ultimately making a wider cultural contribution.

You can hear an extract from the walk and group discussion here:

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Craft Trail

Edits from a tour of Leith led by artist Frances Priest:

developed in partnership with Craft Scotland

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architect led tour

Edits from a tour of the National Museum of Scotland led by architect and audio describer Amanda Drollinger:

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edited interview with a participant following the Old Town Poetry tour:

this led to a more general discussion about using websites with screen reading software:

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2nd August

 

A poetry trail of the Old Town starting at Scottish Poetry Library and ending at the Scottish Parliament via Canongate Kirk and Dunbar’s Close.  Ken Cockburn read poems chosen to provide a sense of each place we visited and Juliana Capes provided descriptions to orientate us as we traveleed along the Royal Mile.  A very wet day made listening and gathering as a group difficult and we hurried past one planned stop.

Poems read were:

Edinburgh Volte-Face by Christine De Luca at Scottish Poetry Libray

Auld Reekie by Robert Ferguson outside Canongate Kirk

Embro to the Ploy by Robert Garioch at Robert Ferguson’s grave

The Flower Garden by Brecht in Dunbar’s Close Garden

Untitled 45/365 by Angus Reid at Veteran’s Garden (missed this stop)

Open the Doors by Edwin Morgan at the Scottish Parliament

In most cased Juliana described the setting, Ken read the poem then Juliana provided some more information before we set off to the next stop.  In Dunbar’s Close Garden, we started with the poem:

Like many of the stops, the information presented generated a lot of interest in finding out more, especially about the history of the area.

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At the first meeting we also listened to two examples of writing by Stewart Conn from the Stories in Stone project. These were not written for visually impaired listeners although people enjoyed listening to them and enjoyed the two voices, it was felt there was not enough information.

It seems a key difference from verbal descritpion is that although Conn’s work was descriptive, it didn’t place the listener is a particular location; it wasn’t described from one view point.

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In general the descriptions of New York were enjoyed.  points rasied included: descriptions should be well read, descriptions should be succinct and clear, technical or architetural terms should be explained.  The amount of orientation that is provided and how this links with other information is a point for further exploration.

Discussion on how much information can be provided quickly led into a discussion about how the information is accessed and navigated:

A key point seems to be to allow flexibility so people can transfer the information to their own equipment and use in the way they prefer.  This may be before, during or after a visit. Not everyone has access to or knowledge of using online material, Daisy was discussed as an accessible format that allows readers to navigate the information:

An encouraging comment was that participants felt enthused by the examples we listened to. We may not be able to provide all the information people want but we can enthuse them to find out more and provide appropriate links and contacts.

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