SPECTRA 2022 - All you need to know

https://youtu.be/ZHYGVEiQlGM

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.

Plan your visit with our SPECTRA 2022 interactive map





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 also Schoolhill.

A young girl stands in the lower centre frame. It's dark with figures partially visible in the background. A huge ring of digital text is dramatically displayed high above her head.
Spectra 2022 | Together by Lucid Creates | Photo by Susan Strachan

Together

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

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

Spectra 2022 | Gaia by Luke Jerram | Photo by Susan Strachan

Gaia and Museum of the Moon

And in another first, Aberdeen will welcome Gaia and Museum of the Moon by artist Luke Jerram. These awe-inspiring pieces take over two icon Aberdeen locations. They'll also be 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.

Spectra is a fun and illuminating festival 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 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. They dance 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 also believed to be the biggest hypercube in the world. Both installations are the work of Travelling Light Circus.

Spectra 2022 | Trumpet Flowers by amigo and amigo | Photo by Susan Strachan

Trumpet Flowers

Trumpet Flowers by amigo and amigo is also located on Broad Street and is one of this year’s only interactive installations. It is also the first time it has ever been seen in Scotland. These super-sized structures immerse audiences in a jungle of light, colour and sound. Visitors can make their own spectacular floral symphony of sound and light. In addition, 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.


SPECTRA is returning to Aberdeen!

Festivals

SPECTRA is returning to Aberdeen!

By Kevin Mitchell

We are incredibly excited to share that SPECTRA will be returning to Aberdeen in 2022! Scotland’s festival of light creates a stunning lightscape across the city and brings with it four days of family-friendly fun to Aberdeenshire, taking inspiration from Scotland’s Year of Stories in 2022.

SPECTRA opens in Aberdeen from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th February and will once again light up the winter nights in Aberdeen. This festival of light encourages you to get out and experience the interactive light sculptures, architectural projections and film to create new ways of exploring the city.

They will appear in Marischal College, Union Street, Broad Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill, Marischal Square and also in Scotlands award-winning ‘Best Building‘, Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Having spent so much of our time tucked away indoors or navigating public spaces with care, SPECTRA presents itself as the perfect event suitable for friends and family alike to safely get together, and with both indoor and outdoor spaces it also sets up Aberdeen as the ideal destination for both visitors and staycationers to come join us in 2022.

SPECTRA is an event for all the family!

Free, family-friendly and interactive makes SPECTRA the perfect event for all the family. Our advice is to check the weather, dress appropriately and everyone gets ready to unlock their imagination!

Find out the latest information on the SPECTRA website.
www.spectrafestival.co.uk

We’re truly excited to welcome audiences back to the city centre …

– Cllr Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council Culture Spokesperson

Cllr Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council Culture Spokesperson said: “I can’t think of a better way to kick off Aberdeen’s 2022 cultural programme than with Spectra, Scotland’s festival of light. Cities are spaces that thrive when people are walking the streets together and enjoying events like Spectra, so we’re truly excited to welcome audiences back to the city centre after a very difficult couple of years dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

We can’t wait to attend SPECTRA, it’s up there as one of our favourite cultural events in the city and we love seeing the streets filled with people, couples, friends and families as they take it all in!

For now, check out our video from the last time SPECTRA visited us here in Aberdeen.

SPECTRA 2020 was themed around the coasts and waters of Scotland, bringing light and giant artistic wonders to the city of Aberdeen. Check out our video!

SPECTRA
Scotland's Festival of Light

SPECTRA, the festival of light is a wonderfully visual experience for all to enjoy. Check out some of the photographs from previous events!

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Take One Action is back to inspire a better world

The Take One Action film festival returns to Aberdeen on 22-24 October, hoping to inspire us to push for a fairer and more sustainable world. The Scottish charity, founded by film lovers, aim to bring audiences together through film screenings and conversations. They also hope to inspire audiences to take action for themselves.

This year they'll present challenging and urgent international cinema exploring social and environmental justice. And so, the hope is that audiences will have deeper conversations about the world we live in. Also, and perhaps more importantly, this could make people feel able take actual action to improve lives.

Belmont Cinema will play host in Aberdeen this year, and films have been made available on a pay-what-you-can basis. Organisers are keen to make the festival as accessible. Therefore all films are captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences



Tamara Van Strijthem, Take One Action's Executive Director, spoke of how pleased they were to be back presenting the festival. “After so many months apart, we are excited and grateful to be inviting audiences to celebrate the power of community and connection through world-changing cinema. COP26 in November represents such a crucial moment for our planet’s future. Subsequently, our programme offers a much-needed opportunity to pause and reflect – and to question just how we’ve arrived at the topsy-turvy reality we call our own.”

Take One Action is funded by The National Lottery and Scottish Government through Screen Scotland and also supported by Film Hub Scotland.

We're looking forward to this year's festival, so thought we'd let you know what to expect.

What films are on show for Take One Action 2021?

Living Proof

Emily Munro | UK | 2021 | 95min | English | Ages 8+ | World Premiere

Fri 22 Oct | 20:00 | Belmont Filmhouse | Tickets

A stunning new archive documentary that looks for the roots of the climate crisis in Scotland’s post-war history.

In the year that Scotland hosts COP26, the film asks was climate change inevitable? Director and curator Emily Munro searches for the roots of the climate crisis in our postwar history. In this new documentary, archive footage from the National Library of Scotland portrays a country shaped by demands for energy and economic growth. In addition, the eclectic soundtrack amplifies the voices of the past in powerful, and sometimes unsettling, ways.

150 years of moving image heritage can only offer us a glimpse of human history. However, the proliferation of video today makes the moving image a crucial way to document our impact on the planet. Are we heading into new territory, or are we caught in a cycle of familiar promises?

https://youtu.be/6J29qHOMm8k

The Ants and the Grasshopper

Raj Patel & Zak Piper | USA | 2021 | 74min | English/Tumbuka | Ages 8+ | Scottish Premiere

Thu 23 Oct | 17:30 | Belmont Filmhouse | Tickets

How do the roots of change grow?

Anita Chitaya seems unstoppable as she works tirelessly to transform farming practices in her village in Malawi and turns gender discrimination on its head. But in her battle against drought and extreme weather events, she takes on her greatest challenge yet: persuading Americans that climate change is real.

She visits rural farms and urban food cooperatives across the US, navigating deep national divisions. In addition, she appeals to those in a position of privilege to embrace change with the urgency the climate crisis demands.

The Last Forest

Luiz Bolognesi | Brazil | 2021 | 76 min | Yanomami | Ages 12+ | Scottish Premiere

Sat 23 Oct | 20:00 | Belmont Filmhouse | Tickets

A mesmerising journey into the heart of Brazil’s Amazonian forest, in the footsteps of the Yanomami.

From missionaries to gold miners, the Yanomami people have endured centuries of violence at the hands of white colonisers. Developed in collaboration with the community itself, The Last Forest blends observational footage and dreamlike staged sequences to explore the Yanomami’s creation myths, their relationship to nature, and their ongoing struggle to preserve their natural environment.

Co-scripted by Yanomami shaman Davi Kopenawa, the film unfolds in lush cinematography, multi-layered soundscapes and ethereal musical sections. The film exposed the environmental and political threats affecting Indigenous Peoples in present-day Brazil. However The Last Forest is first and foremost a homage to the strength of a community coming together. People honouring its traditions and stand up for its rights - and its future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LKBRCaUUc0

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel

Joel Bakan & Jennifer Abbott | Canada | 2021 | 106 min | English | Ages 12+ | Scottish Premiere

Sun 24 Oct | 17:30 | Belmont Filmhouse | Tickets

An urgent takedown of corporate greenwashing that pulls no punches.

Finally, the filmmakers behind 2003’s global hit “The Corporation” return after almost 20 years with their “Unfortunately Necessary Sequel”. They investigate how the corporate takeover of society is being justified by the sly rebranding of corporations as socially-conscious entities. Furthermore, The New Corporation lays bare the disturbing realities of companies’ desperation to achieve profit at any cost. From the climate crisis through to racial injustice and surging inequality.

Far from a sigh of despair, however, this punchy documentary celebrates the groundswell of movements taking to the streets in pursuit of justice and the planet’s future. It also provides a providing a rallying cry for social justice, deeper democracy, and transformative solutions.

What you need to know

Where: Belmont Filmhouse Cinema
When: 22-24 October 2021
Price: Pay what you can (£0 to £10)

Living Proof | Fri 22 Oct | 20:00
The Ant and the Grasshopper | Thu 23 Oct | 17:30
The Last Forest | Sat 23 Oct | 20:00
The New Corporation | Sun 24 Oct | 17:30


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.


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.


British Art Show 9 - Asking big questions

British Art Show 9 has been at Aberdeen Art Gallery for over a month now. Many of you will have been to visit, while many others have not. Some will love it, others may not. One thing is for sure, though. It’s undeniable. It’s asking pretty big questions of its audience on its themes of healing, care and reparative history, and it’s not afraid what we might say in reply.

So let’s have a look at the show. I really wanted to find out what BAS9 tells us about modern Britain.

Heads up here. I’m going to use the word ‘works’ here a lot when speaking about the art generally. It’s not a perfect word, but in a show that contains paintings, photographs, sculpture, video, soundscapes and many more besides, it’s as good a capture-all word for the art as any other.



https://youtu.be/bcJMh6qrkk8

The first visit

I was lucky enough to visit on opening night, but I have to admit I was left feeling a little disappointed. I felt that what I was seeing was a cut and paste. Pre made work dropped into a space that was seemingly not expecting it. I wondered if the artists hearts were really in this post Brexit, mid pandemic exhibition. What story are the artists and curators were telling me, either in individual works or the show as a whole? I left Aberdeen Art Gallery feeling a little flat.

But I saw it. I saw it with a small crowd, faces covered apart from their eyes and I realised this isn’t how I enjoy art.

Finding the right time

Like many in Aberdeen, I think my big art event every year has become Nuart Aberdeen. In normal years, when it visits the city, huge crowds fill the streets. I love those crowds. The delight on people's faces as they look at vast murals is intoxicating. I get out there with my camera and photograph their faces. Our city at its very best. But I actually see very little of the artwork on those big days. I save that for later. When everyone goes home I go back out to the empty streets and take in the work in my own time and headspace.

So I went back on my own at a quiet time of the day and was able to give it my full attention. Let’s have a look at the work that stood out for me.

Patrick Goddard – Animal Antics

Created for British Art Show 9, Patrick Goddard’s Animal Antics is a short film featuring a woman and her talking dog. As they talk and walk round a zoo it becomes apparent that the small smug white dog has a pretty oppressive view of the world.

It’s beautifully shot, but awkward to watch as the dog’s often detestable rants are played in part for comedy. The film feels a bit reminiscent of a ’70s sitcom but without the laughter track. However, as time rolls on, we start to see the uncomfortable link between the dog’s bigotry and the way we as a society treat animals.

At just under 40 minutes, it’s a long viewing time for an art exhibit, but well worth watching from start to finish.

Margaret Salmon – I You Me We Us | Photo by Chris Sansbury

Margaret Salmon – I You Me We Us

Glasgow based artist Margaret Salmon’s contribution to BAS9 is a 16 minute silent film shown on two stacked monitors which ‘talk’ to each other. We’re exploring affection here, and the small intimate touches and sounds we share with the people we love. It's very tender and gentle to watch. You can find yourself

The space on this work is perfect. The monitors stand in a corner but they capture people’s attention as they move from one space to the next. It’s great fun to watch couples walk past, then turn back to watch longer, to see more of the affectionate moments that Margaret Salmon has shared.

Hardeep Pandhal | Photo by Chris Sansbury

Hardeep Pandhal

Glasgow based Hardeep Pandhal’s installation grabbed me on my first visit and kept me coming back for more. He works with his mum on amazing knitted works, but his illustrations are what captured my attention, with the feel Robert Crumb of fantastical '60s stoner comics. 2Pac makes an appearance, and we take a look at how we have come to misuse the word ‘thug’.

Each time I visit I find something new about this to enjoy. Something that amuses or maybe I peel back another layer. Not only does it look great, but it really does reward you for repeated visits and taking a little time to look into Pandhal’s influences and previous works.

Marianna Simnett
The Needle and the Larynx (still), 2016
© the artist. Courtesy the artist and Serpentine Galleries, London

Marianna Simnett – The Needle and the Larynx

Another video production, Marianna Simnett films herself going through a medical procedure to lower the pitch of her voice. For the sake of art. The practice is sometimes used help young men who’s voice doesn’t settle after puberty.

We don’t normally see medical procedures like this, and Simnett uses slow motion and artistic editing to ensure that as an audience, we never flinch from seeing the disquieting procedure from start to finish. Matched with its hypnotic soundtrack, it’s an uncomfortable watch, but you can’t tear your eyes away. Of all the works at British Art Show 9, this was the one that stuck with me for days after.

It’s worth noting that The Needle and the Larynx might not be for you if you are particularly squeamish.

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s exterior view
Photo by Chris Sansbury

No wrong opinions

Fellow visitors to British Art Show 9 might notice that most of my favourite works use video as their medium. That, of course, is entirely down to my personal taste, and possibly where I am able to see beyond the surface. I can offer a little more than “that’s pretty” or “I don’t like that”.

There are maybe a handful of works on display at BAS9 for you too. Ones that you’ll be particularly taken by. Hopefully to even draw you back for repeated visits. Those works could well be different from the ones that excited me.

So what does BAS9 tell us about Modern Britain?

I think curators Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar have taken a deliberately hands-off approach to an overall show message. There is no message. We aren't supposed to walk away thinking our views on this strange island we all live on have been confirmed, adjusted or derided. There's definitely a conversation to be had as to whether that was a good option.

We're supposed to walk away having maybe been moved by some exciting modern art. Beyond that, we can argue which ones we like best, and why, but British Art Show 9 is not answering questions on its themes of healing, care and reparative history; it's asking them. How do YOU feel about these things? Where do YOU stand? What do YOU care about?

What do you need to know?

British Art Show 9 runs in Aberdeen until 10th October, before it moves on to Wolverhampton. As with almost everything at Aberdeen Art Gallery, its free but depending on current Covid19 restrictions, you may need to book a visit. My advice is take your time with the works on show. My first visit was 3 hours long and that was probably rushing it.

Where: Aberdeen Art Gallery
When: July 10 – October 10 2021
Opening Hours: Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday closed, Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm 
Cost: Free

Let us know what you think of the show. As with all art, there are NO WRONG ANSWERS here.

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TEDx Aberdeen – Muckle ideas ti' spread aboot *UPDATED*

It's Saturday, 27th July 2021 and even though there's a threat of rain in the sky, the sun is shining bright on a city excited to experience its inaugural TEDx conference. What may once have seemed long overdue has arguably arrived just at a perfect time for Aberdeen!

Under the banner 'New ways of seeing old things', the TEDx Aberdeen conference presented 10 speakers, videos and Q&A's in the Aberdeen Arts Center to an audience of 100 attendees for a day of connection and big ideas. Even better for us – we were invited along!



TEDx Aberdeen

As I am sure many of you are, we are massive fans of TED and have been moved, energised and inspired by many a TED talk over the years. To see an independently organised event come to Aberdeen was hugely exciting, but how do you approach the topic of our city looking forward whilst still in the middle of a global pandemic?

You get an excellent list of speakers and topics, that's what you do!

Graeme Gordon
“Let's talk about the F word”

Tim Wigham
“Moodset for Excellence”

Chris Moule
“We can all be Recombinant Innovators”

Georgios Leontidis
“Our sustainable future through the lens of Data & AI"

Lorna Dawson
“Soil as a Silent Witness”

Jonathan Christie
“This is the Cabrach’s story”

Peter Tipler
“Learning, to make a positive impact”

Youssra Bennadji
“Should animals be in charge?”

Sam Stephen
“My Beautiful Trauma”

Bethany Galley
“How would you share your life in 27 photos?”

Truly inspiring

From the get-go, I found this truly inspiring. Challenging our individual language and mental health, our life experiences and their impact on those of others, our jobs, careers, our land, our neighbours; the ideas up for discussion and those little seeds of thought that remind us - we can each make a difference be that in our own little world, our city or even the lives of others.

I know I am getting pretty deep here (shocker), so I'll temper myself and just share this important note - The videos from TEDx Aberdeen will be available for all to see soon! Be assured that we'll update this post as soon as they do!

We want more!

I dearly hope this is the first of many such events from Moray Barber, this years TEDx licensee and co-host along with the team behind it all. Check out the website, their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and lets all encourage more events like this in future!

Thank you Team TEDx Aberdeen, lets keep the whole area talking about those #ideasworthspreading!

If you are looking for more stories from here in Aberdeen, check out our blog and don't forget to signup to our very own monthly newsletter!

Update – Watch TEDx Aberdeen on YouTube

The incredible talks from TEDx Aberdeen are now all available on YouTube! Hit play below and begin or head over to TEDx Aberdeen YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cZaE4-IZF6E

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s exterior view

British Art Show 9 arrives in Aberdeen

In a major coup for the city, Aberdeen Art Gallery is the opening venue for British Art Show 9. Open from now until 10 October, the free it'll take its place in a massive summer of art and culture in the city.

The British Art Show is an ambitious touring event organised every five years to explore challenging British contemporary art. This year’s show was originally due to take place in 2020 but was delayed due to Covid-19. It's the first time the British Art Show has come to Aberdeen, and only it's second ever visit to Scotland.

https://youtu.be/edS1UodTtpQ

Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar are the curators of the show. They chose artists for each city after travelling to more than 23 locations across the UK as well as meeting over 230 practising artists.

POST will be covering the event throughout the summer; we have loads of things to say about it. In the mean time, get down to Aberdeen Art Gallery and be part of an event that manages to be both challenging and entertaining.

What are the themes of the show?

We think this show is going to be a big deal for the city. Something, like Nuart, that everyone can take part in and explore. Organisers have structured the show around three main themes as it tours the country.

  • Healing, Care and Reparative History
  • Tactics for Togetherness
  • Imagining New Futures

While these themes were agreed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020, all three have become more relevant in the present moment.

What to expect in Aberdeen

The Aberdeen leg of British Art Show 9 will display over fifteen new artworks never-before seen in the UK. Six of these are brand new commissions. Organisers have focused on the effort to develop alternative systems for ethical cohabitation in the world. Artists will explore the different forms of knowledge we can use to heal the planet. Why we should resist stripping the earth's resources. And finally, how we can develop non-exploitative ways of living with non-humans such as animals or artificial intelligence.

Some of the highlights of the show in Aberdeen include Maeve Brennan's The Goods. This is a series of films, photographs and billboards which explores the trafficking of looted art. Tai Shani will present an exhibit called Neon Hieroglyph. In this installation, fantastic objects – including a pair of floating glass eyes, a huge melting candle and Dracula’s disembodied hand – are accompanied by an otherworldly soundscape.

Perhaps most intriguing of all, Patrick Goddard presents Animal Antics. This is a beautifully shot newly commissioned film featuring a woman and her talking dog.

What you need to know

Where: Aberdeen Art Gallery
When: July 10 - October 10 2021
Opening Hours: Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday closed, Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm 
Cost: Free

POST will cover British Art Show 9 throughout the summer. We'll take a look at the art and explore the themes. We'll also look at what it means for the city now, and later, it's legacy. We want to know what you think about BAS9 and we’ll ask questions on your behalf. What is contemporary art? Why is it relevant to me? Who pays for it? Is this culture for culture's sake?

Contemporary art is meant to be challenging. Visit BAS9, soak it all in and come away feeling like the artists have asked something of you. In return, you should ask something back. Be vocal about what you saw.

If you would like to know more about British Art Show 9 right now, you can take a look at their website. You can also book your free tickets to the event at Aberdeen Art Gallery as well as check out opening times.


TEDx Aberdeen ticket lottery launched

Organisers have announced a ticket lottery for their 31 July TEDx Aberdeen event. Applications are open from now until 5 July.

What is TEDx Aberdeen?

TEDx is a programme of local, self-organized events that bring people together to discuss big ideas. Held in the spirit of ideas worth spreading.

Aberdeen Art's Centre will be the venue this year's live event. It will feature ten speakers from the city and beyond. The series of live 18-minute talks will focus on the theme, New Ways of Seeing Old Things. It is hope the talks will inspire the 100 attendees. Especially in a year where we look to our future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

From unlocking secrets with forensic science, to using artificial intelligence to improve sustainability in the agri-food sector. Tackling climate change through the power of learning and challenging our consumption of news and the perception of truth. From reinvigorating forgotten and declining communities, to mastering moodset, to the Aberdonian habit using the word ‘fine’ - TEDx Aberdeen has curated a thought provoking line up.

How to be part of the audience

Ticket applications are open now. Organisers will ask applicants to explain in a couple of sentences why they would like to attend TEDx Aberdeen. As well as the number of tickets they wish to apply for. They will then email successful applicants a link to purchase their tickets. Tickets cost £30 each. This includes access to the full day event featuring 10 speakers from across the North East community, lunch and refreshments. Tickets can be purchased individually or up to four in ‘household bubbles’.

Audience Experience Coordinator, Nicole Chidester told us a little more about the event. She explained “TEDx events are unique in the way they are organised, curated and attended. TEDx event programmes comprise speakers and video content to inspire connections, conversations and the power of ideas to spark change. People leave TEDx events feeling inspired and motivated.

“We’re really excited about our speaker line up. I know they can’t wait to share their ideas on 31 July.

“We also can’t wait to hear more about the people who want to attend TEDxAberdeen. Our audience are the final element to the success of the event. As a result of their attendance and willingness to participate, TEDxAberdeen come alive.

A COVID safe event

Nicole explained that this will be a COVID safe event, telling us, “organising a face to face to event in the middle of a global pandemic has been a learning experience! We’d like to thank prospective TEDx attendees for their patience as we navigate the constantly changing situation. We have worked closely with our host venue Aberdeen Arts Centre. Together we'll ensure we adhere to Covid-19 guidance for events and host the maximum number for our event.

“We’re also working closely with student volunteers from the North East of Scotland College events course. The pandemic has curtailed their work experience. So we're now delighted to be in a position to provide some students with a chance to manage elements of the event process.”

Find Out More

The ticket portal will close at 10pm on Monday 5 July. Then, successful applicants will be notified by 9 July and supplied with a link to purchase tickets.

For more information on the speaker line up and ticket application form, visit tedxaberdeen.com or find TEDx Aberdeen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


TEDx Aberdeen isn't the only big event happening in July. You can now take part in Nuart Aberdeen with your own paste-up artwork. You can now read all about it here.


Final artists announced for Aberdeen street art festival

Nuart Aberdeen have announced the final artists for this year's socially distanced event. The Aberdeen street art festival made its long-awaited return the city last week. Local talent Katie Guthrie, aka KMG making a welcome return to her hometown to create the first two murals of the 2021 run.

Henrik Uldalen and duo SNIK are the final artists for Nuart Aberdeen 2021. Organisers have added them to the group of already announced, Helen Burr, KMG and the pioneer of ‘balloon graff’ Fanakapan.

Henrik Uldalen

Henrik is a self-taught artist whose creative production revolves around classic figurative painting, presented in a contemporary manner. He explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. Though he's a figurative painter, his focus has always been the emotional content rather than narratives. Henrik often presents his work with a dream or limbo-like atmosphere. Using elements of surrealism and expressionism.

Internationally acclaimed artists SNIK took part in the 2018 festival. They then created one of the cities most loved murals. ‘Hold Fast Hope’ faces out to the harbour from a wall on Virginia Street. Both are delighted to be returning to Aberdeen. The city hold fond memories for them. They told us, “This is our second visit to Aberdeen and our fourth wall for Nuart. We couldn’t be happier to be painting again this year. We can’t wait to be involved again, up a lift and painting a wall for such a great city.”

SNIK

SNIK combine the creation of hand cut, multilayered stencils with haunting, ethereal portraiture, born from a male/female dual perspective. The duo’s work has been commissioned on walls the world over. Their post-industrial scenes loom large over passers-by in locations as diverse as Miami and Hong Kong.

Away from city streets, the pair have become revered by urban contemporary art collectors in recent years. This is thanks to rare releases of editions that can take up to a year to produce. The smaller scale and intricacy of layered stencil work requires incredibly precise cuts and careful compositional thought. This work has captured the attention of critics, art lovers and collectors alike.

Commenting on the announcement Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen inspired said “The focus this year has been on bringing UK based artists to the city over a period of time which helps to ensure that that we can deliver the productions as safely as possible.

“Henrik Uldalen and SNIK are talented artists who will bring interesting work to the walls of our city.  It’s particularly rewarding when artists want to return to our city as this shows the warmth of the welcome they received first time round.

Nuart Aberdeen is curated and produced by the Stavanger based arts organisation Nuart, spearheaded by Curator and Director Martyn Reed, one of the worlds most respected and critically acknowledged authorities on the culture, he added “Nuart Aberdeen captures the imagination of people in a special way and we leave it to Henrik and SNK to create their art and the hope you the viewer will see something positive in what we’re trying to do.”

A covid safe event

Nuart Aberdeen 2021 has returned as a COVID secure series of individual street art productions which will take shape on the city’s walls throughout June and July. Artists will produce work supported by a local production team during the extended festival period.

With the first two productions complete Aberdeen Inspired are confident the plans for the event ensure the safety of artists, the production team, volunteers, and the public. As a result of covid, elements which would attract large scale gatherings, like the guided tours and public launch will not take place. This is to keep the public safe. Nuart will, however, provide resources and information to allow members of the public to conduct their own self-guided tours. The public can enjoy their tour at a time that suits them. In addition, it will be in accordance with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.