The Edwin Morgan Trust is thrilled to announce the stage two recipients of the centenary artist grant scheme for #EdwinMorgan100. These artists will receive £750 each to respond to Edwin Morgan’s life and work through The Second Life grants (the title taken from Morgan’s breakthrough 1968 collection), supported by Creative Scotland and The Edwin Morgan Trust.
The twelve projects have been selected from a pool of over 100 applications, with some very exciting, timely and engaged proposals. Thank you to all of the creatives who applied.
A cultural advisory panel including included Hannah Lavery (Scottish Poetry Library, poet and playwright), Iain Morrison (Fruitmarket Gallery, poet), Robert Softley Gale and Mairi Taylor (Birds of Paradise Theatre), Eoin Dara (DCA), and Seona McClintock (Producer, Gaelic and Traditional Arts Eden Court) selected the final 12 awardees. All were impressed with the quality, reach and range of perspectives that creatives brought to the life and work of Edwin Morgan.
Stage two of The Second Life artists grants have been awarded to:
Luke Brady, who will work with dancers to choreograph a series of Scottish dances and accompanying music in response to Edwin Morgan poems.
“Edwin Morgan’s poetry is intensely interesting from a traditional music and dance perspective. His images and representations of Scotland show the best of our culture, history and sensibility. This is also true for Scotland’s music and dance. I am honoured to have the opportunity to marry the three together in a new collection of Country Dances with music, inspired by his work.”
“Scottish Country Dance is a worldwide hobby with large representations in the UK, EU, USA, Canada and Japan. Publication of material such as this would give Morgan’s poetry an audience around the world that is already interested in Scottish culture the opportunity to be exposed to his work.”
Anjeli Caderamanpulle, who has proposed a series of scrapbook workshops focusing on young and under represented writers.
“During lockdown I have spent time making collages inspired by Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks. It has become an enriching of my practice whilst also being a way to feel close to loved ones through sending them collages in the post.”
“Leading workshops with underrepresented and vulnerable voices is a part of my writing journey that I have found incredibly valuable. Finding writing as an outlet has contributed to healing my own confidence issues. I have witnessed writing helping others in the same way in workshops I have conducted at the Inverclyde Homeless Centre and groups of my peers”.
Lucy Cash & Luke Pell, who will be creating a mixed-media visual-poem in celebration of Morgan’s favourite colour – yellow.
“Morgan was a phenomenal sculptor of language and someone who gave form to themes and ideas just out of reach. It’s such an honour to explore the potential of his legacy to inform choreographic thinking – in words not as separate cerebral things but deeply embodied things. In his scrapbooks, his collages so often evoke a sense of touch alongside his diagramming of the personal-political and the playfulness that comes through juxtaposition: moving bodies, precarious bodies, bodies of myriad matter, bodies that matter, bodies read ‘at risk’. “
Helen Charman will be looking to correspondence between Edwin Morgan and W.S. Graham to ” use lines and moments from Morgan’s correspondence to find catalysts for communication.”
“Reading across the vast body of Morgan’s published work and the archive material held in Scotland—I am especially interested in his scrapbooks and his correspondence with W.S. Graham, another exceptional lyric fraudster—there are traces of evidence of the multiplicity of voices Morgan spoke in: I am interested in thinking about what happens to those voices, to that variety, when the pressures of legacy, biography, fame and memorialisation threaten to solidify a poet’s identity.”
Adrien Howard, who has proposed a new written and oral work responding to intimacy and queer masculinity.
“In response to the work of Edwin Morgan, I would like to develop a new written and oral work which explores the theme of intimacy through the lens of queer masculine sexualities. What does it mean to be close? Intimacy in the written word, intimacy in the voice, the intimacy of the performing body. I consider this process of working to be a type of collage and I am interested in how a process of collage can result in non-normative narrative structures through fragmented form as an exploration of queerness.”
Ann MacDonald and Jenny Johnstone, who will be creating a podcast titled Queer as Folktales.
“For generations, Scottish myths have been retold and reshaped to bring new perspectives to light, to show the values of the communities who share them. Edwin Morgan plays creatively with ideas of myths and heritage in his work and we will use this as a foundation to explore aspects of queer identity from a Highland perspective.”
Robbie MacLeod, who will be translating several Edwin Morgan poems into Gaelic.
“Morgan described not learning Gaelic as “one of the great regrets in my life.” (The Scotsman, 2008) This is an opportunity to breathe a second life into Morgan’s work, and reach out to Gaelic speakers and poetry readers with one of Scotland’s national bards. It would also make another LGBTQ+ poetic voice available in the language.”
Beldina Odenyo, who will be creating an audio work responding to Edwin Morgan’s poems A Home in Space and The First Men on Mercury through the eyes of Edward Festus Mukuka Nkoloso, Valentina Tereshkova and David Mackay.
“This will be a triptych of recorded audio transmissions that posit the idea that their three individual space missions were successful in that they made it into space but overshot by a massive distance to have individually landed on planets they must then try to live their remaining years on. These transmissions are fragments of an archive of their experience and what remains of the data they sent out towards our Galaxy.”
Andrés Ordorica, who will be creating a poetry film, to be screened online during LGBT History Month 2021.
“Morgan’s writing style was visual, absurd and – although he might not have used this world himself – queer in its exploration of identity, desire, and loss. As a queer writer and poet living in Scotland, I want my writing to continue this legacy.”
“My response poems will speak to queerness in both its modern context and the period within which Morgan wrote, to explore the progress we have made and the work still to be done. I want my responses to acknowledge my own intersections as a gay immigrant and person of colour living in 21st century Scotland. To ensure identities like mine take up space in the Scottish poetry world.”
Sasha Saben Callaghan , who plans to facilitate and exhibit collage responses to Edwin Morgan’s work.
“Just as it is possible to make connections between Edwin Morgan’s poetry and his collages, my proposal is to facilitate the creation of collages (including mixed media/decoupage/photomontage) inspired by his work and curate the results. This would be via an open call to Scottish artists at any level of experience who define as disabled, D/deaf, chronically ill, neurodiverse, mad, sick, spoonie or otherwise. The aim of the project is to bring Edwin Morgan’s work to life for people who may know little about him and to encourage the participation of artists who are often marginalised and isolated.”
Holly Summerson, who has proposed creating an interactive video landscapes that draw from Morgan’s poems.
“Rather than directly illustrate the words, these would explore their themes through swirling, semi-abstract visuals inspired by his scrap-books. They would be aimed at varied audiences, but I particularly hope to appeal to younger LGBTQ+ viewers looking for positive representations of themselves. The overall tone would therefore celebrate joy, openness and love in Morgan’s poems, with a narrative referencing ‘coming out’; the interactive ‘journey’ would first explore private, intimate moments in an indoor setting, then move to more proud and celebratory poems in an outdoor Scottish landscape.”
Esther Swift will be setting two visual poems by Edwin Morgan to music, using harp, electronic and voice.
“Edwin Morgan accesses the necessity for lightness in a world where big opinions and seriousness can easily dominate our everyday lives. His more structurally accessible poems contain a yearning, lustful, yet forbidden undertone, which is something I channel in my own works, while his concrete poems and performance poetry offer a chance to enjoy and play with the sounds of words and delivery. As a harpist I am often boxed into a demure, “angelic” version of myself. Edwin Morgans work demonstrates how artists can represent a rich, full spectrum of emotions and expressions, showing that one thing does not negate another. “
We can’t wait to share the outcomes with you digitally and (hopefully!) in the flesh in 2021!
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. http://www.creativescotland.com