The Second Life grants scheme, supported by Creative Scotland, the Saltire Society and the Edwin Morgan Trust, provide funding for new interpretations and responses to Edwin Morgan’s life and work for #EdwinMorgan100. The grants were given in response to an open call and a peer nomination – you can read more about the process here. Funded projects are described below in alphabetical order. For further information, or screening/ talk/ exhibition requests please contact the Trust.

Sequoia Barnes – scholar/creative 
In association with The Fruitmarket, Sequoia will be developing work that expands from her research into quilting: ‘Quilts have been an interest of mine as canvases and as products of ritual-like communal practices, particularly within African-American culture.’  She will be responding to Edwin Morgan’s poem ‘A Little Catechism from the Demon’ (1999), which she has reworked. 

Clementine E Burnley – writer, performer, activist
Clementine will be talking with peers and fellow artists to develop a  multimedia piece that will ask people to reflect on the role of their  friendships within the context of Brexit and Empire 2.0 projects today.  ‘In this piece, I have chosen to look at the themes of queer relationship for Edwin Morgan’s work, and at his description of Glasgow as a “dangerous and friendly place”. My focus would be on Empire as a  location of friendship.’

Vlad Butucea  – writer
Vlad has been inspired by Edwin Morgan’s play on language, and the political act of disrupting the English language. Vlad is working with a computer algorithm to generate ‘new’ Edwin Morgan poems to ask questions such as ‘ What does this experiment say about the influence of Artificial Intelligence on poetry? What are the politics of allowing a non-human to create poetry? How can it decentre/ disturb/ enhance/ challenge human creativity and language?’

Luke Brady – musician 
Luke will create a series of musical compositions inspired by Morgan’s poems ‘The Starlings in George Square’, ‘Trio’ , ‘Strawberries’, ‘The First Men On Mercury’, ‘For The Opening of Scottish Parliament, 9 October 2004’ and ‘Spacepoem 3: Off Course’. He will then work with a group of dance advisors to choreograph a series of 6 new Scottish country dances. ‘It is a key desire of this project to introduce dances inspired by Morgan, and perhaps Morgan’s work itself to a wider worldwide audience who already have a keen interest in aspects of Scottish culture.’

Anjeli Caderamanpulle – writer
Anjeli will be using Edwin Morgan’s poems and scrapbooks as prompts for a workbook and video tutorials which will act as workshops for young and under-represented people. ‘I want to emulate Morgan’s sense of play and going against tradition in this project. I love Morgan’s poetry as the subject matter is accessible even when otherworldly … I think it’s important that I communicate the curiosity he had for the everyday … that writing and making about anything is interesting … that the participants’ perspectives are wholly unique and interesting!’

Lucy Cash – interdisciplinary maker, writer, curator & Luke Pell – maker, curator, dramaturg
Lucy and Luke will be responding to image, repetition and touch in Edwin Morgans work through their choreographic piece.
‘We are developing an audio-described moving image work to be presented online and as an installation, featuring a choreographic score performed by and across a range of bodies and generated from Morgan’s scrapbooks. The moving-image work will be accompanied by a series of scores for viewers to follow and/or consider themselves.’

Helen Charman – writer
Taking inspiration from the first lines of a letter from the poet W.S. Graham to Edwin Morgan, Helen’s project ‘It is indeed myself’ will take the form of a long poem – incorporating collaborators’ responses to lines from Edwin Morgan’s letters. Looking at Edwin Morgan’s letter-writing and relationships, Helen asks How, in lyric work like Morgan’s that defines itself both defiantly within and against the constraints of the ‘I’, can we develop a way of understanding the complexities of the public-private life?’

Ink Asher Hemp – theatre maker
Drawing on Edwin Morgan’s poetry, collages, interviews and identity, Ink will be responding/disrupting, using their own time, place and context. Their visual response will be presented in public space, along with an audio accompaniment. ‘Much of Morgan’s work came from the people and places around him, and considered the way identity determined the differing availability of public and private space, so it feels meaningful to place a response to it back out there … on public streets … albeit in a rather more explicitly queer fashion.’

Adrien Howard – artist and writer
Adrien will be generating a response to Edwin Morgan’s work that explores queer masculine sexualities and intimacy, producing written text and audio-recording. ‘The use of colour in print, for example the “Colour Poems”, and the way type is set on the page, the form or shape it takes, pages produced on a typewriter, even the use of handwritten poems of Morgan’s early manuscripts are all ways in which intimacy can be expressed through the physicality of an object.’ 

Annie MacDonald and Jenny Johnstone – writers & podcasters
Annie and Jenny will be using the Second Life funding to generate three Morgan-themed episodes for their podcast series ‘Queer as Folktales’. We will particularly draw on Morgan’s “Beasts of Scotland” series, which considers the relationship between people and nature. We want to focus on his poetry that investigates themes of myth, rurality and nature   – all central to folklore.’

Sekai Machache – visual artist and curator
Sekai is responding to Edwin Morgan’s translation work, using this invitation as an opportunity to engage with her mother tongue, Shona, and with Scots and Gaelic. ‘It is through language and culture that we are able to share our thoughts, our ideas and our visions for the future. In these times of global uncertainty and limited movement due to the devastating impact of a pandemic it feels even more important to find ways to bridge the gap, to reach across language and break down those barriers of understanding.’

Robbie MacLeod – creative and translator
The Second Life grant will fund Robbie to create a zine of Gaelic translations of Edwin Morgan’s love poems. ‘Christopher Whyte draws attention to the fact that many of Morgan’s love poems, especially before he came out, were written in a way that could be read as heterosexual; and that this is a dynamic that changed over time in his poetry. I’m keen to represent this range in my chosen translations. I am also keen that the “delicate” poems, as Whyte suggests, are balanced with some of Morgan’s later, out, sexually-explicit poetry.’

Ishbel McFarlane – writer and theatre maker
Intersecting her own experiences of love, place and language with Morgan’s personal and observational approach, Ishbel will be creating a series of three podcasts. ‘I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of the highly personal (if sometimes fictionalised or blended) and the apparently impersonal which runs through individual poems such as “The Second Life”, but which is also modelled in the collection as a whole. In comparison with other concrete poets, Morgan characterised his own concrete poetry as “warm”, and this warmth in the “objective” is something I love about his work.’

Nazia Mohammad – artist
Responding to verses from Edwin Morgan’s 1977 collection The New Divan, Nazia will create a series of collages that will be used to inform a sculptural triptych. ‘I’d like the pieces to contemplate the role of creative inspiration in our lives whilst exploring interconnectedness, individuality and the space in between. The objects and collages will be displayed in a way that creates a sort of interior landscape to be explored via an interplay between materials.’

Beldina Odenyo/Heir of The Cursed – songwriter, sound designer, theatremaker
Beginning with Edwin Morgan’s sci-fi poems, Beldina will draw on the experiences of space researchers Edward Festus Mukuka NkolosoValentina Tereshkova and David Mackay to explore sound and space travel. ‘I will create a soundscape using found sound, loops, vocally processed fragments of Edwin Morgan’s science fiction and space poems recited by myself and Russian poet Galina Rymbu.’

Andrés Ordorica – writer
Andrés will be writing a series of poems that respond to Edwin Morgan’s writing and legacy, these will be presented as a poetry film, drawing from Morgan’s scrapbook imagery. ‘I want to give a second life to this notion of queerness and explore what it might mean in relation to my experience of contemporary Scotland, and the experience of other queer people of colour. But most of all, I want to honour Morgan’s legacy and the foundations he built for queer writers of my generation.’ 

Sasha Saben Callaghan – curator and artist
Drawing on Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks, Sasha will create opportunities for people to engage in remote community scrapbooking, generating an instructional video along with a communal scrapbook project. ‘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 – animator and designer
Holly will be taking viewers on an animated journey through Edwin Morgan’s life and work. Animations will be accompanied by readings of selected Morgan poems, and arranged into thematic sections that communicate a journey of discovery and formation. Moving from personal, intimate moments to joyful and open expressions of love, the project takes inspiration from LGBTQ+ experiences and looks at the idea of breaking apart to form something new.’

Esther Swift – composer and performer
Esther will create a series of musical arrangements that respond to Edwin Morgan’s words, and also the rhythm of his readings and context of his writing. ‘Morgan exemplified versatility throughout his life, and also paved the way for joyful openness and celebration of sexuality through challenging times. I wish to do the same in my own work.’

Ray Camara Taylor – artist, curator and researcher.
Ray has been researching Edwin Morgan’s scrapbooks and the intersections between Morgan and Maud Sulter ‘Two dead queer Glasgow poets, who both wrote on love and whose life-works are remembered in part, as part of piecemeal queer histories. Legacies to build upon, loved by strangers and friends in their absence.’ Ray will produce a large-scale collage ‘in response to or thinking with Morgan and Sulter, a piece of artwork on queer loves, loss and heartbreak.’

1 comment

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: