Postcard from The Edge: Message from Family MacBough

We are a collective based in the far north of the Scottish mainland. For many years we have worked with the two elders and tradition bearers from the Stewart and Williamson traveller families in north west Sutherland. As a result we are the only team in the byways with which we are familiar, who are able to build a bough tent. Our practice is all about stories, movement and conversation. Our venue is The Bough Tent. The Bough Tent stove, traditionally made from a 5 gallon oil drum, is the heart of our gatherings. Since 2007 we have created and hosted a myriad of micro-events, in fields, crofts, shorelines and straths,across the Scottish Highlands. The Bough Tent is a special space which draws in the oldest and the youngest in every locality, embracing folk who would never, ever go to a big festival - but we have also provided several 'command performances' at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, over the years. The Bough Tent, as space and practice, has brought about new compositions in the form of words, songs, poems, tunes, video and photography -and more - from the likes of Gaelic bard Angus MacNicol, Caithness writer, George Gunn; paper artist, Johann B Kaar; digital artist, Gavin Lockhart; geographer/artist, Issie MacPhail; textile artist, Rachel Skene; musician, Iain Copeland; tinsmith, Arthur Dutch; environmental artist, Ruth Macdougall; piper, Carol Anne MacKay; Gaelic singer and intsrumentist, Catriona MacLeod and famed storyteller, Essie Stewart. All such work is interwoven with the thoughts, words and presence of the people and environments of those straths, crofts and shores. My academic, artistic and curatorial practice is characterised by a commitment to honouring and expressing distributed authorship and co-creation. We only just learned all these artistic and academic words about ourselves, and what we do, and how we do it, the other day. What we call what we do is happenings created through 'travelling and camping and chatting'. What we call ourselves is just Family MacBough, but we did always know that how we do this is influenced by The Situationists. And audio recording in fields is part of our 'normal'. We would be delighted to be included in this conversation, and that which may flow from it.


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  • commented 2016-06-12 23:09:29 +0100
    Enjoyed reading this – do you ever get as far south as Yorkshire?
  • published this page in Tell Us What You Want 2016-06-12 13:31:49 +0100