The Bog Banquet
A Peatland Celebration to dine out on
Kerry Morrison, Peatland Connections Project Officer
Stuart Mugridge, Water Cycle Artist in Residence
Morag Macpherson, Peatland Eco-Textile Artist in Residence
Helen Kirkpatrick, Catstrand Head of Catering
Peatland Connections could not have evolved as it did without the generosity of our partners organisations, those who participated in events, and the artists, ecologists, and scientists we worked with.
To celebrate the wonder of peatlands, and to and thank those who shared their knowledge, creativity, and time, we created an immersive multi-sensory experience that brought together food, art, ecology, and people.
The Bog Banquet
Photography, Duncan Ireland
The table was dressed to evoke peatland connections and a four-course peat themed meal was served. Each course presented a taster of the work CCC do and the essence of what it is to be a peatland.
The fragrance of willow, birch, bog myrtle, and heather, and the earthy scent of peat pervaded the room. Ambient sound created by Stuart Mugridge during his Water Cycle Residence imbued an atmospheric quality. The table was adorned with sphagnum terrariums, sprigs of bog myrtle and heather, peaty water samples, desiccated peat, wet peat in crucibles, an adder skin, granite lumps, Upper Blackwater of Dee place names, and place mats dyed by Morag Macpherson with plants from the outskirts of bogs (which were later used, along with the table runner, to create garments in Morag’s peatland collection.
Every component of the Bog Banquet had a story to tell, introduced and told by CCC Team Peat and Stuart Mugridge whose sound work aurally connected dinners to the Upper Blackwater of Dee landscape between courses.
The Banquet began with a welcome by Emily Taylor, CCC General Manager:
… A peatland celebration and sensory experience to savour and share… a co-creation bringing together ideas, imagination, stories, and food… and a thank you to YOU for all your support and involvement with CCC and the Peatland Connections project...
The Bog Banquet was a joyous event and a rare opportunity for partner organisations to come together, socially, to share experiences of peatlands, our local habitats, and stories. It was a chance for our partners to meet and talk with artists who experience and express landscape connections in ways less familiar to those of us with more science related backgrounds and ways of knowing. And, importantly, it was an opportunity to chat with people who give our work resonance – the people who come to events and support the work we all do.
It was quite the most exceptional piece of end of project engagement I have ever encountered. The imaginative theme of the banquet, the immersive sounds, the excellent short talks by members of the team, the food and hospitality and the incredible sense of appreciation and inspiration around the table, all combined to brilliant effect. My personal thanks and congratulations to everyone involved, and indeed, who knows where things can go from here?
Our hope is that from here more environmental organisations will be inspired to create opportunities to work closely with artists, expanding how we communicate and express the challenging environmental issues we face in ways that inspire and unite us in bringing about pro-environmental change.
Making Socio-Ecological Art and Science Collaboration Work (K. Morrison et al 2022) is a guide that sets out practical steps for finding and commissioning social and ecological artists. It was written in response to the challenges and barriers faced by those not fully acquainted with the arts, or how to commission artists. It sets out, step by step, What Art, Which Artists and How to find and Commission Artists.