Everything you need to know about SPECTRA 2022

SPECTRA is back for 2022 with a luminescent line-up ready to light up Aberdeen’s dark winter nights. This year artists, exploring Scotland’s Year of Stories, feature stunning new commissions, collaborations and Scottish premieres.

The massive event, which in previous years has drawn huge crowds, will take place between the 10th and 13th February. The city centre venues preparing to light up your night are Marischal College, Union Street, Broad Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill, Marischal Square, Aberdeen Music Hall, and for the first time, inside Aberdeen Art Gallery.

  • Marischal College | Writ Large, Sig Frames
  • Broad Street | Pendulum Wave Machine, Hypercube, Trumpet Flowers
  • Upperkirkgate | Writ Large
  • Schoolhill | Writ Large
  • Aberdeen Music Hall | Museum of the Moon
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery | Writ Large, Gaia
  • Castlegate | Writ Large, Together


Writ Large

The SPECTRA 2022 highlight will be the world premiere of Writ Large, commissioned as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories. Created in conjunction with prize-winning arts production house Neu Reekie, Writ Large combines creative light installations with words to bring Scottish prose and poetry to life.

Comprising a series of five new commissions which explode the colourful and couthie words of contemporary Scottish poets, writers, musicians and artists onto buildings across the city centre including Aberdeen Art Gallery, Marischal College, Castlegate, Upper Kirkgate and Schoolhill.

Together by Lucid Creates | Photo credit Jody Hartley

Together

In addition to the world premiere of Writ Large, Together makes its Scottish debut at SPECTRA in 2022. This spectacular public-art installation offers audiences a unique and immersive experience generated by the written and spoken stories of local communities, artists and collaborators, and it will take over Castlegate in Aberdeen city centre.

From design and fabrication studio Lucid Creates, Together was created as a reaction to the isolation of lockdown, and this huge pavilion-like open space is designed as a place in which communities can come together to celebrate their unity and uniqueness, and this is the first time ever that it has come north of the border.

Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram

Gaia and Museum of the Moon

And in another first, Aberdeen will welcome Gaia and Museum of the Moon by artist Luke Jerram, as these awe-inspiring pieces take over two icon Aberdeen locations, accompanied by a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones.

Located in the Sculpture Court of Aberdeen Art Gallery, Gaia provides the opportunity to see our planet, floating in three dimensions, and this 7-meter diameter installation creates a sense of awe and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

Where Gaia gives viewers a perspective on earth, suspended in Aberdeen Music Hall, Museum of the Moon gives us a similarly breath-taking depiction of the Moon. Inspired by the fact that different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural, scientific and religious relationships to the Moon, and yet despite these differences, the Moon connects them all, Museum of the Moon is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound.

A safe, fun and illuminating festival suitable for all the family

Speaking about this year’s SPECTRA, Andy Brydon, Director at Curated Place, said: “We are over the moon (pun intended) to be welcoming so many amazing artists, collectives and creators to Aberdeen as part of SPECTRA, Scotland’s festival of light, this year. Thanks to the recent lifting of Covid-19 restrictions we can continue to deliver, alongside and on behalf of Aberdeen City Council, a safe, fun and illuminating festival suitable for all the family.”

Pendulum Wave Machine from Travelling Light Circus

Pendulum Wave Machine

The incredible Pendulum Wave Machine, located at Broad Street, sees shimmering silver balls hanging in the air like floating mercury, dancing their way through patterns of order and patterns of chaos and alongside it, Hypercube resembles an infinity mirror in 3 dimensions. Featuring over 2,500 high density, high intensity LEDs between 6 perfectly engineered faces of a giant cube, it is believed to be the biggest hypercube in the world. Both installations are the work of Travelling Light Circus.

People enjoying the Trumpet Flowers light installation in the Chatswood precinct during Vivid Sydney 2019.

Trumpet Flowers

Trumpet Flowers by amigo and amigo is also located on Broad Street and is one of this year’s only interactive installations and it is the first time it has ever been seen in Scotland. These super-sized structures immerse audiences in a jungle of light, colour and sound and individuals can make their own spectacular floral symphony of sound and light or catch one of the scheduled animated musicals scores throughout the evening.

Six Frames

And, last but by no means least, at Marischal Collage another world premiere will unfold as Six Frames from Illuminos takes centre stage. A playful interpretation of six stanzas from Sheena Blackhall’s poem, “On the Bus: nummer 1 route” Six Frames uses six repeating sections of the Marischal College façade alongside principles found in flick books and early animation, to take us on a journey through Aberdeen from the bus route of the poem.

Stay in touch with SPECTRA Aberdeen

Twitter: @SPECTRAaberdeen
Facebook: @Spectraaberdeen
Insta: @Spectraaberdeen
Website: spectrafestival.co.uk


Crime and cocktails: Granite Noir back for bloodcurdling festival

Aberdeen crime-writing festival, Granite Noir, will return in-person in February. Mystery, music, crime and cocktails are on the menu in the latest event. There will be a full programme of live, in-person events, workshops and performances.

In it's sixth year the festival is now a mainstay of Aberdeen's events programme. It has introduced audiences to amazing spaces around the city. This year that will include the Kirk of Saint Nicholas Uniting, the Central Library, Cowdray Hall and the Lemon Tree.



Jane Spiers, Aberdeen Performing Arts Chief Executive, is clearly thrilled about Granite Noir 2022. She told us," With true heavyweights of the genre next to the bold new voices of the future, we have a jam-packed weekend of events in store which really reflect the festival's firm North East roots, as well as attracting an international fanbase who return year after year to join us for what is a true celebration of crime fiction. Since its inception Granite Noir has really captured imaginations, and with author talks, exhibitions music and of course cocktails to enjoy, it would be a crime to miss it!"

The festival will welcome home-grown talent to the stage. This includes best-selling Scottish author Louise Welsh who introduces The Second Cut. It's the brand-new and long-awaited sequel to her award-winning The Cutting Room. Ann Cleeves, the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez, will be joined by Alex Gray and Lin Anderson in a conversation chaired by Jenny Brown. World-renowned forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black and Professor Andrew Doig come together in an exploration of The Mysteries of Life and Death.

Authors delving into the murky past of Scotland’s history include Denise Mina. She will shed light on the death of David Rizzio. Along side her, Jenni Fagan will examine the obsessive mania of a king who saw the threat of witches all around him. S W Perry looks back to the sixteenth century with The Heretic’s Mark as does The Green Lady, Sue Lawrence’s tale of abduction and political turmoil set within Aberdeenshire’s Fyvie Castle. Leonora Nattrass dives into the revolutionary intrigue of 18th century London. Furthermore, Sara Sheridan sets her mystery in and around Edinburgh’s botanical gardens in 1822.

The Grit in the Granite

This is a new exhibition from Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives. The Grit in the Granite exposes the darker side of Victorian Aberdeen. The Granite City’s population more than doubled in the 19th century when many magnificent buildings were constructed. Yet beneath the grand façade lurked grinding poverty leading to destitution, juvenile delinquency, crime and prostitution. One victim brought to life in an accompanying talk by Dr Dee Hoole, from the University of Aberdeen, and Phil Astley, City Archivist at Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives, is Grace McIntosh who made her first court appearance in 1838 aged just 11. Her repeated trials and incarceration left a remarkable historical record of a life lived in poverty and desperation.

Novelists often ensure that the scene of the crime is a character in its own right and their detectives are shaped by the cities in which their stories take place. Granite Noir Ambassador Stuart MacBride joins Alan Parks and Marion Todd in a conversation with Sally Magnusson about their detectives and their relationship with the three Scottish cities in which their books are set. Leela Soma draws masterfully on her own dual-heritage to capture Glasgow’s richly multi-cultural nature in her novel, Murder at the Mela. International voices include Norway’s Kjell Ola Dahl who paints a fascinating portrait of Oslo’s interwar years while Swedish author, and former police officer, Anders de la Motte introduces Dead of Winter which he has set in a small, remote, rural community. A new voice from the Scandi-Noir genre is Silje Ulstein whose debut Reptile Memoirs is already a bestseller in Norway.

Champions of new writing

As well as well-kent names, Granite Noir champions new writing and the 2022 Festival welcomes debut novels from American author Ryan Collett, award-winning Scottish short story writer Euan Gault and Northern Ireland’s Hannah King. Airdrie author Graeme Armstrong’s debut The Young Team takes a look at the gang culture of central Scotland from the inside while Aberdeen University graduate Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé introduces Ace of Spades, an incendiary and compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into institutionalised racism. Locals in the Limelight returns with six of Aberdeenshire’s talented new writers reading extracts from their noir fiction. For anyone who has ever dreamed about becoming a published author, award-winning literary agent Jenny Brown hosts a workshop on How To Get Published covering everything from self-publishing to how to get yourself an agent.

Dr Julia Shaw, a psychological scientist (UCL) and a science communicator, is best known for her work in the areas of memory and criminal psychology. Sofie Hagen is a London-based Danish comedian, podcaster, and activist. Together they co-host the hugely popular and award-winning Bad People Podcast. They will be sharing some gripping stories and deplorable deeds in a live recording of an episode of this true crime podcast in front of the Granite Noir audience. Dr Kathryn Harkup follows her sold out 2020 Poisoned Cocktail workshop with a look at the reality behind the silly, and not so silly, ways to die in the world of 007. Audiences can lift the lid on the science behind the world’s most popular secret agent and sample his favourite cocktails along the way.

Anne Cleaves | Granite Noir

Aberdeen-based Ten Feet Tall Theatre presents Witch Hunt, a new production specially created for Granite Noir. Delving into Aberdeen’s past the performance brings women accused of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries back to life to tell their stories in the atmospheric setting of Kirk of Saint Nicholas Uniting. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most celebrated adventure, The Hound of the Baskervilles, gets a brilliantly farcical overhaul in Lotte Wakeham’s acclaimed production at Her Majesty’s Theatre. This ingenious adaptation offers a brand-new twist on possibly the greatest detective story of all time.

Granite Noir 2022 culminates with a performance by the world-renowned BBC Big Band who return to Aberdeen with a specially curated programme of classic TV and movie sound-tracks, from Shaft, Mission Impossible, James Bond, The Pink Panther and more to classic Big Band and swing numbers inspired by all things crime.

How is Granite Noir funded?

Granite Noir 2020 is supported by Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland and EventScotland. Councillor Marie Boulton, culture spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council, said: “Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, Granite Noir has continued to grow its reputation as one of the UK’s premier literary festivals, and the 2022 edition promises to be one of the best yet. As well attracting established authors of international renown, it has over the years provided a platform for emerging talent, whilst bringing a distinctive North-east flavour to proceedings with innovative events. Granite Noir is helping mark out Aberdeen as a culture capital – and the council is proud to invest in its staging.”

Creative Scotland’s Alice Tarbuck said: “Granite Noir brilliantly links literature to the cityscape of Aberdeen, providing a rich offering of events in the North East of Scotland. A varied and inviting programme is sure to pique interest with a dazzling array of authors like Louise Welsh, Jenni Fagan and Leonora Nattrass alongside prodigious newer names like Graeme Armstrong.”

What you need to know

Tickets for all Granite Noir events are on sale to Aberdeen Performing Arts Friends on Wednesday 15 December at 10am and on general sale on Thursday 16 December at 10am. Tickets can be booked at granitenoir.com, by calling 01224 641122 and in person from the Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.


About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They therefore focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil FachieChef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.

So visit postabdn.com now to read a great selection of interviews and articles.


What legacy will BAS9 leave the people of Aberdeen?

British Art Show 9 (BAS9) finished its run at Aberdeen Art Gallery this weekend. And so, gallery staff will carefully pack up the show for now. Then soon, organisers with ship the show to Wolverhampton for its next leg. It has faced challenges over the past few months, opening during a global pandemic doesn't help. The themes of healing, care and reparative history have maybe not always been obvious to a public with Brexit and Covid-19 weighing heavily on their mind. However, the work was bold and undeniable.

We wanted to speak to a few people about BAS9. Have a think about what legacy we hope that the show will leave our city. It costs us a lot of money to put on grand shows like this in Aberdeen. I think it's reasonable for us to expect a lasting legacy. Artists, fans, local venues and the city's communities should feel we have all gained something permanent from our experience.



What legacy should BAS9 leave?

Artists and fans should feel a greater connection with Aberdeen Arts Gallery. Smaller galleries should see a surge in interest from a public keen to see more modern art, particularly from local artists. Communities should feel seen and included by the gallery. A gallery that in earlier years may have not found the need to reach out.

One of the things that we've enjoyed is being part of is the community of ambassadors for BAS9. Not everyone loved everything about the show. We loved the video and documentary work, but it's been brilliant to talk to talk to other ambassadors about their views. We've all had very different experiences of the show, and that divergence has been fascinating. It feels like the beginnings of something very exciting in the city. A group of people confident enough to say what they like about art. But perhaps more interestingly, to enjoy hearing others speak about their experience. This should not be wasted.

Reema Shoaib

First of our contributors is Reema Shoaib. Reema runs ChaiTime a Facebook community which she created to build inclusivity in arts and the creative industry between Britain and Pakistan. It was amazing to hear her experience. She was able to use the work of artists from minority communities from the show to engage with some of Aberdeen's communities.


The British Art Show 9 exhibition commenced just when Aberdeen was waking up from the hibernation of the Covid-19 pandemic. BAS9 is perhaps the biggest thing to happen in the city, since the lockdown. Aberdeen is the only Scottish location, and also the host city selected to launch the tour. The prestige of the exhibition along with the theme of contemporary art exhibits, something never before seen at this scale in Aberdeen, all garnered interest and curiosity from locals. I am truly honoured to play my part part in the Ambassador’s group. It was wonderful that Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum’s City Coordinator recruited me for the show.

ChaiTime founder and BAS9 ambassador Reema Shoaib

My list of tasks included creating a collaboration and understanding for the show within the ethnic communities and foreign nationals living in Aberdeen. A city that houses the highest number of ethnic minority communities than any other city in Scotland. I view this task as a nod to the council’s Cultural Strategy 2018-2028 of creating engagement in arts and culture that truly reflects the cultural diversity of Aberdeen.

My job was made easier by the sheer magnitude of the exhibition. Couple this with the fact that I was promoting something backed by the City Council and the Art Gallery. Furthermore, it had names attached to it like Hayward Gallery Touring. Finally the honour that we were the first city to host the exhibition. This all joined together to make a compelling case to take to Aberdeen's communities.

Sharing with all Aberdeen's communities

There were 33 artists in the show at Aberdeen, presenting a mix of film, photography, painting, sculpture and live performances. Another significant factor of BAS9 was the healthy inclusion of international work as well as artists from minority communities living in the UK. The knowledge that people can view art work from their own region or community upped the interest of our local communities. It definitely encouraged them to come and enjoy the exhibition.

The knowledge that people can view art work from their own region or community upped the interest of our local communities
Reema Shoaib

The fact that the exhibition was free to view was an essential difference. BAS9 had no tickets attached, except to check-in with the QR Code as per the safety guidelines. I feel that also helped motivate people to easily come and check it out.

BAS9 has indeed proven to be a source of inspiration for most of the city’s arts and cultural activities, now and moving forward. Already we can see the offshoot in the form of the splendid LookAgain series Beyond BAS9. This is a series of events, workshops, exhibitions, talks and tours all taking the art scene forward.

The legacy of BAS9 will and should converge into more such activities and people. Additionally, Aberdeen Art Gallery should keep in touch with the communities jolted by the show. There should be more reaching out to them through such engagements. Contemporary art shows are definitely something new to the city. However, in my opinion, the people of Aberdeen have graciously accepted this opportunity. The gallery should develop this interest further.

Rita Kermack

Next up we hear from Rita Kermack. Rita is an artist, graduate of Gray's School of Art and a member of the Aberdeen Artists Society. She thinks that the last three months have proven that Aberdeen is well able to host massive shows like the British Art Show.


One of the successes, in my opinion, was the network of support and associated events that were organised on the local level. The fact that this was possible shows that Aberdeen’s art and culture scene is alive and active. Despite this, the city is often referred to as a cultural desert by those who are not directly involved in the various initiatives. There is a lack of visibility. A lack of presence on a day-to-day basis, compared to what’s going on in Dundee for example. The engagement with BAS9 has brought the various agencies into the foreground. It has made them more visible to the general public. Hopefully, BAS9 is a catalyst for further growth in that direction.

Artist and BAS9 ambassador Rita Kermack

In terms of visibility, BAS9 has encouraged us all to come together to collaborate, support and debate. Some of that had been going on already in the background but having this common focus, maybe, added strength. A stronger network and mutual support amongst AAGM, collectives, agencies and individuals as well as Gray’s School of Art and NESCOL has been built. This could advance the creative industries in the city and shire to a level that attracts not only visitors but also sponsors.

Hosting prestigious exhibitions on a frequent basis can create a fertile environment for art education in the city and shire
Rita Kermack

Hosting prestigious exhibitions on a frequent basis can create a fertile environment for the art education in the city and shire. Collaborations with Gray’s School of Art, NESCOL and schools will help raise the profile and recognition of art and design as a valuable career path within the Northeast. This is necessary to grow the creative industries here. To provide jobs to encourage new graduates, emerging and early career artists to stay in the city.

The ambassador program

The ambassador program created many varied opportunities for community members and local artists. I was able to be involved and get to know the people behind AAGM. This experience gave me a great boost, having just graduated from Gray’s. Also, the work experiences I gained are invaluable.

Reaching out to communities in such a personal, tangible way will break barriers. It will promote the gallery as an interactive place for learning and exploring. A place for everyone.


We're adding more to this article soon

We'll be adding thoughts from more people over the next few days. Follow our social media channels for updates. If you would like to read more about British Art Show 9 and where it's going next, you could check out the exhibition website.


An athletic Ayanna Witter-Johnson on her knees like she was at the start of a race. She has her cello strapped to her back.

True North rises up

True North returns to the Granite City this weekend. The festival, presented by Aberdeen Performing Arts, promises a mix of fantastic live music and acoustic performances. As well as their headline shows, you can expect vibrant fringe events across the city. This year, True North is celebrating freedom of expression, diversity and community with their theme - Rise Up. This is especially poignant at a time when city venues are only just beginning to open up to audiences for the first time since the Covid19 emergency began.

Stick around because we're going to take a closer look at the headline events, as well as some of the exciting free fringe shows. We're sure you'll find something that makes you want to get out there and experience True North for yourself.



Peaness | Lemon Tree | Thursday

Playing on Thursday 23 September and kicking off True North 2021 will be Peaness, who will be bringing their catchy, fuzzy, harmony-driven indie-pop songs about love, friendship, frustrations, Brexit and food waste to the Lemon Tree. Formed in 2014 in Chester university digs, the trio have secured nationwide and international shows with bands such as The Beths, Kero Kero Bonito, The Cribs, We Are Scientists, The Big Moon and Dream Wife. They will be joined at the Lemon Tree by Swim School and Lavender Lane.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson | Lemon Tree | Friday

Headlining on Friday night at the Lemon Tree with a Night of New Voices is the soulful, eclectic Ayanna Witter-Johnson.  A singer, songwriter, cellist, composer, producer and arranger with phenomenal musical prowess, mesmerising vocals, uncompromising lyrics and mastery of the cello. Ayanna unapologetically imprints her unique musical signature into her music. Heir of the Cursed, Katie Mackie and DJ Rebecca Vasmant complete the line-up.

John Grant | Music Hall | Saturday

Former Czars frontman John Grant is the headline act on Saturday evening. Described as ‘the misfit’s misfit’, this singer-songwriter is too weird to be mainstream, too mainstream to be weird; too sad to be happy, too sharp not to crack a mordant joke about it. Grant's superpower is to compare his impressionistic childhood experiences against their amplified adult consequences. SUpport act for the night is acclaimed Scottish folk singer, Rachel Sermanni.

Ransom FA | Lemon Tree | Saturday

Aberdonian grime rapper Ransom FA will head up late night at the Lemon Tree on Saturday. The fast-rising artist, was a contestant on the UK TV show, The Rap Game, where he battled other budding rappers for a record deal. As well as sharing the stage with some of the words best grime artists he has also turned his hand to presenting documentary series for BBC3. He'll be joined by Sean Focus and DJ HomeAlone.

Corrine Bailey Ray | Music Hall | Sunday

Closing out True North 2021 is Sunday's headline act, Corrine Bailey Ray. She is performing a specially curated concert called "A Celebration of Stevie Wonder". The evening will see the Grammy and MOBO award winning singer joined by special guests to perform many hits from the back catalogue of the legend that is Stevie Wonder. It promises to be an extraordinary evening of music. Previous True North curated concerts have celebrated the likes of Neil Young, David Bowie and Kate Bush amongst others. They are a firm favourite with Aberdeen audiences.

Jo Gilbert | Lemon Tree | Sunday

A spoken word event specially commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts and headed up by award winning poet and three-time slam champion Jo Gilbert will explore the festival’s theme of Rise Up. Four local spoken word artists will produce new work based around this theme and showcase their work at the Lemon Tree on Sunday. The event promises to challenge and inspire in equal measure.

Fringe events

True North are holding a number of free acoustic events across the Granite City. We picked out some young Aberdeen acts you should definitely be keeping an eye out for over the weekend. Get yourself into the city centre and find your new favourite Aberdeen singer.

Rachel Jack | Spin | Friday

This Aberdeen based singer-songwriter has been turning heads in the Scottish music scene for the past 18 months. Her debut 2020 EP, The Calgary Tapes was followed up in March this year with Magazine Girls. You can check out our Temp Check interview with Rachel Jack here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhIclAdoiI4

Aiysha Russell | Spin | Saturday

This young Aberdeen singer first hit the limelight at The Voice Kids in 2019, proving to be a big hit with judges. Following that, she last year performed Sam Cooke's classic It's Been a Long Time Coming live at an Aberdeen Black Lives Matter march which was a real moment for those in attendance.

Calum Bowie | Waterstones | Saturday

With a background in busking, Aberdeenshire singer Calum Bowie has become something of a TikTok sensation, growing a fan base that's pushing him on to success. He's capitalised on that hard work with a string of single releases and surely an album on the way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da3zu_gqGVw

Olivia Thom | Union Café | Sunday

Glasgow based Aberdeen quine Olivia Thom's 2020 debut EP is lead off by her truly magnificent song Fine Wine. Her alt-folk sound mirrors her musical heroes Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. We’re very much looking forward to future releases.

Razz Mattreezy | Siberia | Sunday

Born and raised in Aberdeen Matt Reid, AKA Razz Mattreezy, spent lockdown writing and recording. His debut single only came out in March 2021, but he's already building a follow along the way. His smooth soulful vocals over smooth keyboards make for a cool chilled sound.

What the organisers say

Ben Torrie is Director of Programming and Creative Projects for Aberdeen Performing Arts. He told us, “We are thrilled to announce the lineup for True North 2021, which feels like a huge step in the return of live performance at our venues. It feels really good to be able to bring the festival to a live audience once again. It means a lot to us to be able to put this on for people in Aberdeen, and to shine a spotlight on so many talented performers and musicians is a privilege that has never been so important.

“The theme of this year’s festival is Rise Up. It’s a positive message about rising up to bring people together, marking the re-opening of our venues, and celebrating the power of music to help us stand up for the things we believe in. We could not be prouder of this festival at this time.”

What you need to know

Where: Music Hall, Lemon Tree and venues across Aberdeen
When: 23-26 September 2021
Cost: Various prices including free
More Info and tickets: Event Website
Social media: Twitter | Facebook

True North is back and rising up to mark the return of live music and standing up for what you believe in. They'll celebrate freedom of expression, diversity, community and equality with an inspirational and vibrant line up of musicians over one unforgettable weekend.


About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day.

The goal is to use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with Paralympic gold medalist, Neil FachieChef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton abut the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of WayWORD, Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as British Art Show 9. Visit postabdn.com to read a great selection of interviews and articles.


WayWORD Festival returns to Aberdeen

WayWORD is returning to Aberdeen from 19-26 September. The literary festival, which organisers first launched in 2020, will shine a spotlight on unconventional forms of expression. Online and in-person visitors can expect an especially inspiring line-up of poets, artists, writers and creators for author events, workshops, performances and discussion panels. A talented group of young people are behind the WayWORD festival, while University of Aberdeen play host.



Organisers aim to bring under-explored arts and artists in to view. This year’s line-up includes workshops in animation, Bothy ballads, and creative writing to improve mental health. Headliners include Val McDermid, Karine Polwart, Irvine Welsh, Alex Wheatle, A.L. Kennedy and Kirstin Innes. With more than 40 events covering topics such as nature, beauty, witches, poetry, music, comedy, Gaelic playwriting, dance, painting, and sound art, there is something for everyone at WayWORD’s 2021 festival and all tickets are FREE!

Our WayWORD Highlights

We've picked out a few of the events taking place throughout the week that have caught our attention. There are nearly 50 separate events over eight days, so make sure you check out the WayWORD event website to see what takes your fancy.

New York Times best-selling author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé | Sunday 19 Sep

The festival opens with an author discussion with a University of Aberdeen graduate. At just 22, Àbíké-Íyímídé is already a New York Times bestselling author for her debut novel. Ace of Spades is a high-school thriller that tackles institutionalised racism as well as homophobia in the black community.

Irvine Welsh in Conversation with Alan Warner | Wednesday 22 Sep

Irvine Welsh's debut, Trainspotting is perhaps Scotland's most well known books of the 1990's. Danny Boyle adapted the supposedly un-filmable novel into one of the greatest British movies of all time. Welsh is outspoken, forthright and a sometime pain in the arse to those in power. Alan Warner, one of Scotlands best loved literary figures, teaches at University of Aberdeen. He has penned nine novels, many winning awards along the way. His latest novel, Kitchener 434 explores delusional male behaviour. The pair, who recently collaborated on The Seal Club along with John King, will discuss life and writing and conclude with a Q&A session.

North-East Voices at The Blue Lamp | Wednesday 22 Sep

The Blue Lamp hosts an extravaganza of North-East words, music and film with writers, performers and musicians. The night will feature Shane Strachan, an Aberdeen writer and performer, North-East Makar Sheena Blackhall and also spoken word artist Noon Salah Eldin. Next up, Bothy Bass stars Affa Fine make an appearance. Twa loons fae Garioch fit like a bangin choon, ken? Finally, expect a performance from award winning Scots singer Iona Fyfe.

Producer and podcast host Dan Schreiber

Writing Comedy with QI's Dan Schreiber | Friday 24 Sep

WayWORD welcomes Dan Schreiber, QI elf and one part of popular podcast No Such Thing As A Fish. He is also a producer and writer on The Museum of Curiosity and Frank Skinner’s The Rest is History. With his long-standing role researching for QI, he'll be bringing over ten years of stories and knowledge about the industry and the art form.

Val McDermid | Saturday 25 Sep

Val McDermid is one of Scotland's best known novelists. She has sold over 17 million books around the world. Her best selling series of suspense novels, Wire in the Blood, was adapted for TV. Val joins WayWORD to introduce her latest work, 1979. The new series will follow new character Allie Burns, a journalist exposing the criminal underbelly of Scotland. The Arts Lecture Theatre at University of Aberdeen will host what will surely be one of the most popular events of the festival.

What the WayWORD organisers say

Students and young people from across the city have organised the festival with guidance and mentoring from University staff. Mabel Chambers has been part of the student committee organising this year’s programme. She said: “It has been really heartening to see such exciting events and festivals going ahead after so much disappointment last year. Despite the challenges of organising such a large festival remotely, it has been amazing to have so many creative and interesting people pull together to perform and organise this year’s program.”

Festival Director, Dr Helen Lynch added: “Last year’s festival was such a success that coming up with something to build on that was a real challenge. The young people have done an amazing job of keeping it fresh and imaginative while putting in a huge amount of practical work to bring it all together. The festival has more than twice the number of events we had in 2020 and yet the programme is coherent as well as varied. There really is something for everybody in 2021.”

What you need to know

Where: Online and at venues across Aberdeen
When: 19-26 September 2021
Cost: Free
More Info: Event Website
Social media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

WayWORD is a student and youth-led arts festival for people of all ages. WORD Centre for Creative Writing and University of Aberdeen have organised the festival. Workshops, author events, panel discussions and performance nights are all FREE and live online, with BSL interpretation.


About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day.

The goal is to use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with Paralympic gold medalist, Neil FachieChef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton abut the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9. Visit postabdn.com to read a great selection of interviews and articles.


Clan announce Light the North farewell weekend

Organisers of the Light the North Lighthouse Trail have put tickets on sale for their Farewell Weekend. Gordon Barracks in Bridge of Don will play host to the event on 29-31 October. Trail adventurers will then get one last chance to see all 50 of the lighthouses, along with the 90 little lighthouses. The lighthouses have been painted by school kids, community groups and artists. After the final event, organisers will auction the sculptures to raise money for Clan Cancer Support.



Booking Details

Bookings are available for a 90 minute slot on each day:
Friday 29 Oct 10am – 5.30pm (last admission 4pm)
Saturday 30 Oct 10am – 5.30pm (last admission 4pm)
Sunday 31 Oct 10am – 4.30pm (last admission 3pm)

Tickets are £5.00 per adult (age 18 and over) and £3.00 per child (age 17 and below) plus online booking fees. You can purchase them at www.lightthenorth.co.uk/event/farewell-weekend/

*There is a quiet hour on Sunday 31st October from 10am – 11am. Organisers will play no music throughout the event site. This will make it suitable for adults and children with specific sensory needs.

Lighthouse sculpture sitting on grass with the Aberdeen skyline and blue skies in the background. Painted on the lighthouse is a sailing ship in heavy seas.
Light the North lighthouse by Glen Brooks at Greyhope Bay | Photo by Chris Sansbury

Fiona Fernie of Clan and Light the North

Fiona Fernie is Clan's Head of Income Generation and Business Development and Project Director for Light the North. She said “We can’t quite believe we are almost at the end of the ‘Light the North’ trail which culminates in our ‘Farewell Weekend’ and then our auction. North-east people have taken the trail to their hearts and been so involved in visiting all 50 lighthouses across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. These lighthouses, designed and painted by professional, emerging and as yet undiscovered artists. They've shone their lights across the north east for 10 weeks. The have encouraged people to explore and discover the region like never before.”

Our North-east adventurers have shared their personal stories and photographs, which has been a joy to see.
Fiona Fernie

Fiona continued, "The ‘Farewell Weekend’ is a special event which makes it accessible for those who may not have had the opportunity to visit all the sculptures and gives them one last chance to be able to tick them off their list when they visit - whether that’s via the Lighthouse Trail app or in their sticker book. Each visitor will have a 90 minute slot to visit, take selfies and collect their final lighthouses."

Fiona concludes, “We want to take this opportunity to thank the amazing team at Wild in Art for partnering with us on the trail, the talented artists who created these bespoke and poignant sculptures and to our sponsors for their generosity and making this all possible. Last but not least to the people of the North-east - individuals, couples, families, businesses, schools and not forgetting the pets who have got out there, visited the trail and made a real difference.”

Charlie Langhorne from Wild in Art

Charlie Langhorne from Wild in Art also commented on Light the North. He said “Events like this can’t happen without the dedication of the local charities we partner with. Certainly not forgetting the artists who create these wonderful pieces of art as well as the generous sponsors. The success of this trail is testimony to the hard work and commitment from the team of staff and volunteers at Clan. They've battled through a pandemic to bring this amazing spectacle to the north east. Please support this wonderful local charity by attending the farewell weekend and bidding at the auction. This will help them continue to support the people in your communities who need Clan the most.”


More About Post Aberdeen

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day. Their monthly newsletter, Your Aberdeen, takes a look at what's been going on in the city from all different angles.

The goal is simple. To use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with Paralympic gold medalist, Neil Fachie; Chef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton abut the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9. Visit postabdn.com to read a great selection of interviews and articles.