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Alec Finlay / Gill Russell / Simone Kenyon / Rhynie Woman / Paul Anderson

The Hielan' Ways Symposium: Perceptions of Exploration


A symposium shaped by the ground beneath our feet; and which escaped from the boundaries of the lecture theatre.
Symposium participant
An investigation into the many perceptions of exploration

 A two day walking and talking symposium held in the remote area of Glenlivet and the town of Tomintoul, 2014.

The symposium marked the end of the Hielan' Ways project, which saw artist Simone Kenyon collaborate with celebrated fiddle player Paul Anderson, poet Alec Finlay, Aberdeenshire artist Gill Russell and historian Ron Brander. The project sought to re-engage with a remote landscape–once inhabited, once lived in–using the network of ancient drover's routes, which once extended across it, as a point of access for a further investigation into the human, cultural and environmental heritage of the area. Through the symposium we extended our investigation to encompass the wider notion of exploration: how can an investigation into the many perceptions and interpretations of exploration help us to gain a better understanding of our own relationship with the environment we find ourselves in? 



Over the two days we celebrated the many facets of the Hielan' Ways project, and extended the investigation beyond that of our small geographic area towards lesser known regions from near and far; bringing together mountaineers, artists, anthropologists, cartographers and other disciplines to discuss the many perceptions of exploration.  

On day one we walked; on day two we talked. The symposium was chaired by Prof. Tim Ingold, with keynote talks from mountaineer Doug Scott and artist Richard Long, alongside paraplegic adventurer and athlete Karen Darke, Gavin Pretor-Pinney from the Cloud Appreciation Society, Steve Brown, Forester and Vanessa Collingridge, TV presenter and researcher in the history of cartography and exploration. 

The Symposium was held in collaboration with the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust, and was supported by the Scottish Forestry Commission, Aberdeenshire University and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Creative Scotland Logo     Forestry CommissionHeritage Lottery Fund Heritage Lottery Fund

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