A celebration of life, land, and literature

How do we connect to Scotland’s stories, old and new, in our post-industrial, post-referendum, postmodern age? Are we telling our own tales of the places we love?

LandWords was a special collaboration between Edinburgh International Book Festival and Falkirk Community Trust, in which Falkirk’s Callendar House provided space and inspiration to explore questions of place, identity, history and story.

Situated in the heart of the industrial central belt, surrounded by business parks and high rise flats, with the ruins of the Antonine Wall and the John Muir Way running through its grounds, the house offered a fascinating context through which to probe the ideas at the heart of LandWords.

Over the course of a six-week residency project, twelve S3 pupils from the nearby Graeme High School worked with award-winning author Kerry Hudson and performance artist Donna Rutherford to produce their own responses to the house and the area. Through this experience they were encouraged to engage with their personal stories, and how they related – if at all – to the ‘official history’ of the area.

We hosted two LandWords festivals on weekends in April and May, bringing together artists, musicians, authors and storytellers with audiences young and old. Building on and showcasing the creative work of the residency project, the festivals opened the central questions of LandWords to a wider audience.

The video linked to below takes you in to Callendar House to meet our LandWords authors, who share their thoughts on the project, the work they were doing with us and the people of Falkirk, and the value of sharing stories with others. You can also click here to download the LandWords anthology (PDF) which gathers together the work of the Graeme High School pupils.

You can listen below to a soundpiece created by Donna and the Graeme High pupils during the project. In it they share stories gathered from memory, from friends and family, and from the discoveries they made in and around Callendar House – including a special exhibition on The History of Underwear!

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