Morrich More is an extensive area of strand plain and dune grassland on the South shore of the Dornoch Firth. It is walking distance (at low tide) from Inver and is an area of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. It is also forms part of RAF Tain, which is the largest MOD live fire aerial weapons range in the UK.
I live in Inver and have begun a process of investigating this fascinating area by exploring it on foot, taking photographs and video, making sound recordings, researching online and talking to my neighbours. During the 1943 evacuation of Inver, the area was used as a secret practice site for the D-Day landings and remnants of anti-aircraft defences and MOD buildings from WWII can still be seen. Access to the Morrich is still restricted today as the RAF use it for manoeuvres: red flags across the area signal training days. The Morrich is both an area of natural beauty and a practice war zone. I want to reflect on my personal experience of living within walking distance of the ‘Danger Area’ – seeing, hearing and feeling the low flying Typhoons and Chinooks as they pass overhead.
With support from Dance North’s Regional Artist Support programme, I will be working with Penny Chivas in February to begin the research and development of a movement response to the Morrich. This residency will take place in the Seaboard Hall in Balintore – a local community centre near my home – and I have arranged a sharing of work in progress at the end of our week together to which I’ve invited my neighbours, my local dance community and the network of artists supported by Dance North.
I’ll be keeping a blog throughout the research which you can see here.
In collaboration with young people from SOAR Youth Projects, Julia has begun investigating ideas for an interactive performance project that will incorporate movement, creative play, dance, live music and film. It’s an experiment so who knows what we’ll end up making but we’re going to have a lot of fun along the way and hopefully learn a bit more about one another in the process. Julia is also collaborating with Quee MacArthur and Robbie Synge who are on board making music and filming the project. Through monthly workshops at Ardross Community Hall and visits to SOAR playscheme: we’ll be playing, investigating and experimenting with movement, music and film and sharing what we discover along the way. See the Interactive Experiments page for what we’ve been up to and where we’re coming from.
In November 2016, Julia was awarded an Artist bursary by Janice Parker Projects and the Saltire Society for her Interactive Experiments project to collaborate with young people from SOAR Youth Projects and create a new interactive performance. Julia will deliver the project over the course of a year, visiting SOAR playscheme in school holidays and running monthly workshops at an ‘experiment lab’ at Ardross Community Hall. As Julia has worked with SOAR before, this is a fantastic opportunity to play, create and explore ideas, whilst developing creative relationships with young people with learning disabilities. See the Interactive Experiments page for what’s happened so far.
In September Tain Youth Dance were invited to present their dance film “Sassegrass” to showcase at the Highland Youth Arts Hub Showcase in Inverness.
Well done to everyone involved in the project – is it time to make a new film?
It’s amazing what happens when you get the dressing up box out! Lots of fun and laughs at the Bradbury Centre in Bonar Bridge – we should do this every week!
Julia started leading fortnightly gentle movement classes at the centre in November 2015 as part of Eden Court Creative’s outreach team. Since then the Bradbury Centre and Keep Active Together Sutherland have continued funding the sessions, which incorporate gentle exercise, creative movement and singing.
In collaboration with Isabella Dance, Julia has been leading the Boogie in Balintore
project for older adults in the Seaboard Villages. We had a brilliant time at our first Tea Dance event – looking forward to the next one already!