Cateran’s Common Wealth

April 2, 2015 by Perthshire Creates

Cateran’s Common Wealth is an ambitious new project that will take place around the Cateran Trail; with a whole series of arts and cultural activities and events are currently in development, scheduled to start happening from 2015.

The programme is being designed to inspire us all to think about and celebrate the idea of ‘common wealth’, Clare Cooper, one of the programme producers explains more about this concept, what the project aims to do and what activities and events are being planned:

‘The original phrase “the common-wealth” or “the common weal” dates from the 15th century and comes from the old meaning of “wealth,” which is “well-being”.

Today it defines the things that belong to all of us: the biosphere on which we all depend; our cultural heritage and history; public infrastructure like the judicial system and the internet. Some are bestowed to us by nature; others are the product of co-operative human creativity, some are entirely new – think of Wikipedia, others are centuries old – like our language, our skills in managing the land, our myths and our musical traditions.

rolling_mist_crop

All these and more are examples of assets we hold ‘in common’. Each forms part of a dynamic combination of laws, relationships, values, cultures, and commitments – interdependencies that are present in all our communities, which enable us to live and work.’

The Cateran Trail itself exemplifies this common wealth and the people who live and work around the Trail and the many visitors who spend time in this beautiful part of Scotland enjoy its abundance. Cateran’s Common Wealth aims to celebrate these valuable assets through a two year programme of arts and cultural activities and events.

By harnessing the Cateran Trail, together with the ancient metaphorical power inherent in pathwalking and path making, this new project will act as a catalyst to involve, engage and inspire residents and visitors alike in revaluing this shared inheritance and find new ways to sustain it for future generations.

First and foremost, they’re aiming to work with the many cultural and creative practitioners who live and work around the Trail to amplify what they already do and see what we might do together especially for this project. They have already started to map who’s who and have found over 120 people already!

In addition they’ve started planning and fundraising for a diverse programme of new projects, some of which are already beginning to take shape:

Creative Scotland have awarded them early stage development funding to plan a public art programme around the Trail which will engage local communities and visitors in reflecting on how our natural world is a key part of our common wealth.

The local wind farm has supported the early development of two projects that draw on their History and Cultural Heritage to illuminate the concept of common wealth, including:

A Story of the Cateran Trail in 100 Objects: inspired by Neil McGregor’s masterpiece which drew on objects held by The British Museum – but for the Cateran Trail – with objects proposed by the people who live and work around the Trail, documented via the project website and re-produced through 3D printing technologies.

The Sounding Box: a community time travel audio artwork which will capture aural histories and make them available via a red phone box ‘time machine’ in Alyth Town Square another.

The third project to receive early stage development funding from Drumderg is Invitation to an Alternative Future, a set of stories told through film and photography about the increasing number of people operating environmentally and socially sustainable livelihoods around the Trail today.

The Foyle Foundation has also awarded them early stage development funding to make a community opera about the Vanora legend which centres around the Pictish Fort of Barry Hill next door to Alyth and Meigle where her grave is said to lie along with the great Vanora Stone in the Pictish Stone Museum there.

Work is already underway on a number of projects, as Clare explains:

‘A further 8 or so project ideas involving different kinds of music and song making, artist led walks, horticultural design, a major public art commission, textiles and crafts, local history, archaeology and heritage are all being actively progressed.

There is a huge amount of work in addition to raising the money to make all these amazing projects happen, but the interest, energy and ideas that so many people locally, nationally and internationally have offered during these early stages is very motivating!’

You can find out more about the project, get in touch with the organisers and sign up to receive news bulletins at: www.commonculture.org.uk