This year we are holding a series of Dark Mountain workshops centred around the eight fires of the ancestral solar year, beginning at winter solstice. Following Kinship with the Beasts (Imbolc) and Walking into the Wind (Spring Equinox), Plant Dialogues (May Day and Summer Solstice), our next gathering, Honouring the Ancestors, will be centred around Samhain.
The workshops aim to forge a collective practice amongst writers, artists, and creative practitioners; and to host a culture that can both weather the storm and lay the tracks for a more ‘biospheric’ relationship with ourselves and the more-than-human world. Each of the fires will explore different themes and approaches to this practice, from storytelling to plant medicine to performance – but all aim to foster resilience and radical kinship, and to strengthen our creative voices within an ensemble. Together we’ll ‘walk through the fire’, letting go of what no longer serves, and discovering what might bring repair and regeneration to a world, and a culture, in crisis.
Our first fire gathering will be focused around the Halcyon Days, the fourteen days that surround the winter solstice, when it was once believed that the mythic Alcyone, transformed into a kingfisher, would nest by the shore in peace because her father, the god of the winds, had calmed the waves. This workshop will be an invitation to pause at the turning of the year, to enter the contemplative space of the Halcyon Days, and to create a piece of work from within that space.
The sessions will be led by Charlotte Du Cann and Dougie Strang who have created many immersive, dramaturgical events and teachings for Dark Mountain, based on reconnection with deep time and the mythology of place.
The course comprises two x 2 hour group Zoom sessions, with time for a solo walk/encounter and a creative task during the week in between. It will include exercises and discussion and provide opportunities for:
- Working within a Dark Mountain frame
- In-depth conversation with fellow writers and artists
- Creative feedback on work
- Deepening your practice
- Exploring relationship with the living world
When: Saturday 11th and Wednesday 29th December 6-8pm GMT. Note all time zones are welcome to participate.
Group size: 16 people maximum
How to apply: As the course has limited space and we are looking for a diverse group of participants, please could you let us know a bit about yourself: where you are writing from, your current practice and why you would like to take part in the course. A few sentences are fine! Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
PLEASE NOTE: We will be announcing details for the year’s fire workshops via social media and our monthly newsletter. Following Kinship with the Beasts (Imbolc) and Walking into the Wind (Spring Equinox), our next gathering, Plant Dialogues, will be centred around May Day. Do join our mailing list if you would like to receive any updates.
Charlotte Du Cann is a writer, editor and co-director of the Dark Mountain Project. She has taught creative non-fiction and reconnection with the wild in many places, including Schumacher College, Arvon, School of the Wild, Sweden’s Riksteatern, and Natural Beekeeping Trust. She has been the co- producer of recent Dark Mountain art and writing workshops, Finding the Words When the Story is Over and When the Mountain Speaks with Us.
Dougie Strang is a writer, performer, and member of Dark Mountain’s organising collective. His work is often inspired by Scotland’s wild places, and he collaborates with various organisations to facilitate wholehearted encounters with those places, most recently as dramaturg and performer on Ùrlar, a site-specific theatre and dance production, commissioned by the National Trust and staged on the slopes of Ben Lomond.
Charlotte and Dougie have worked together on numerous Dark Mountain events, creating workshops and performances including A Dance Down the Dark Mountain, at Unfix in Glasgow and at Winterwerft Festival in Frankfurt, Conversations in the Dark at the big room in Macclesfield, The Night Breathes Us In in Reading, Base Camp in Devon, and Carrying the Fire on Rannoch Moor.