‘Moray Journey’ - community engagement and creative production

Mark Sheridan, Allan Geddes

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‘Moray Journey’ - community engagement and creative production. In the summer of 2014 a small team from the UHI undertook a creative community project in the North East Scottish region of Moray. An area rich in culture and history the project invited local people to explore their culture and environment, telling their own stories through the use of poetry, stories, images and music. The project was initiated in Forres and Findhorn Bay. Creative artists, writers, musicians and photographers are inspired by the natural environment - and the Moray Firth, the sea and skyscapes, are exceptional stimuli for imaginative endeavour. The MA Music and the Environment at UHI is designed as a platform for creative musicians to explore such spaces for new opportunities for expression, creation and production – and to engage with communities in such environments. The objective was to attract a group of participants from the local community to take part in a series of workshops to conceive and develop a new creative work, a tangible manifestation of the combined artistic effort of the group involving poetry, stories, movement, images and music. Underpinned by best practice in community engagement (Stige & Aaro, 2012), creative process and problem solving (Sawyer, 2012; Sternberg, 1999) and related educational process (DeCorte, 1990; Byrne and Sheridan, 1998), the project was rooted in cultural and environmental stimulus with the intention to deliver a credible, appropriate and well prepared final performance piece or installation. This paper outlines the background, the purpose and the theoretical approach to the project – and traces the development of the production by local people to performance at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow 2015. Since its inception this new creative product has taken on a life of its own through the empowerment and the agency of the creative group. The paper will examine the delicate and skilful approaches required by the facilitators to support the emergence of a valid local creative project – and avoid contamination by the research team. References Byrne, C.G. & Sheridan, M (1998). Music: a source of deep imaginative satisfaction? British Journal of Music Education, 15, 3, 295-301. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Collins. DeCorte, E. (2003). Designing Learning Environments that foster the productive use of acquired knowledge and skills. In E. de Corte, L. Verschaffel, N. Entwistle, & J.J.G. Van Merrienboer (Eds.). Powerful Learning Environments: Unravelling basic components and dimensions (pp.21-33). Oxford: Elsevier Science Sawyer, R. (2012). Explaining Creativity – The Science of Human Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stige, B. & Aaro, L, E. (2012) Invitation to Community Music Therapy. New York: Routledge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 31 Mar 2016
EventFirths and Fjords: A Coastal History Conference - Dornoch Social Club, Dornoch, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 20162 Apr 2016


ConferenceFirths and Fjords: A Coastal History Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Community music
  • heritage
  • Creative Engagement
  • Pedagogy


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