Responding to Convocation, Glasgow, October 2013

So it takes me a bit of time to formulate my thoughts following the exhibition and discussion event in CCA Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art, but here’s a start at a response.

And, yes, indeed you certainly convocated (my spell-check doesn’t like that verb and keeps correcting it to ‘convicted’—a good sign, I think). The show is terrific and I wish I had time to look again so I’m eager to see the documentation on flickr.

Augustus: wisdom is in and out of the box, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about revelations (revelatio!), confessions and curtains since we spoke and I do look forward to seeing the full piece, even as the house of light reflects and resonates with the other pieces in the exhibit as well as with Colm Cille himself, the meaning of his book, and his own light-shows—those tremendous columns of white light with which he is associated by Adomnan.

Caroline: the puns are natural (in nature) as well as in the ‘I’, Iona, and islands, and Colm Cille, aren’ they? And the ‘offering’ of the work is well taken. I’m still thinking about how you distributed the work across the space of the exhibition and what this says about any ‘ego’, about how peat carries time with, or is it in, it, and the  book as object and relic. You distilled something in this.

Edwin: ah, maps of gold: you put us on the map, rhymed your map with early maps, and so illumined our convocation at Raasay. It’s a great response to ideas about place that the larger project of Colm Cille’s Spiral is trying to articulate. Of course, there are no maps of the period of Colm Cille (mapping was […]

Talking Books: Lindisfarne, Bamburgh and Bradwell-on-Sea

In the space of five days last week, I visited first – and alone – the poetry installation of ‘Antiphonal’ by Tom Schofield, sound and interaction artist, in the crypt of St Aidan’s Church, Bamburgh, on a Sunday afternoon, next, on the Monday – and in the company of Linda Anderson of Newcastle University – the complementary installation of ‘Antiphonal’ in the Lookout Tower on Lindisfarne, and finally, on the Thursday – in the company of assorted medievalists, artists, curators and Difference Exchangers – I travelled on to the Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea to engage in the unfolding of new ways to know the past in London and Essex. That’s two knots in Colm Cille’s Spiral: The Word (Newcastle, Lindisfarne and Bamburgh); and Ethical Knowledge (London and Essex). And a journey of my own making to listen to poetry, in place, and to think about we can know of the past from the ways in which we respond to it in the present.
 ‘Antiphonal’ is an installation in two parts, in two places, drawing on the multiple voices of the poems commissioned for The Word by Sean O’Brien, Colette Bryce, Alistair Elliot, Cynthia Fuller, Peter Armstrong, Pippa Little, Bill Herbert, Peter Bennet, Christy Ducker, Gillian Allnut, Linda France, and Linda Anderson. The poems are also brilliantly edited by Colette Bryce as Shadow Script: Twelve Poems for Lindisfarne and Bamburgh, which has just been published by the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, and is on sale from there as well as on site. (

I have been carrying this book around with me for a while now and, having heard ‘Antiphonal’, I know that I will return to it and to these poems […]