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Nourishing Visions

5 May 2023

Dear Friends,

A warming welcome from me to you with an invitation to join us for a fascinating set of Journeys in Design unfolding in the months to come.

This Spring Newsletter heralds a year of increasing ambition and activity across our three core programmes, expanding our home team and developing new research and exchange opportunities for creative talent, in Scotland and beyond.

Brian Robertson

Our Spring Newsletter is dedicated to Brian Robertson, who passed away in February. Brian was the visionary lead of The Flax Mill project at Silverburn Park in Leven. He was the inspirational Chair of our Board and brought skill and commitment in spades to the many facets of this project. He coined our Silverburn tagline, 'Heart Mind and Soul', and it's by this that we all remember him with gratitude.

Concrete thinking

Concrete Designs to Thrive launches this June in Glasgow, our programme all about urban design for well-being. It is in part inspired by the work of Patrick Geddes, Scottish generalist, botanist and town planner. It is with Geddes' own quarterly Evergreen in mind that we now offer four longer Seasonal Newsletters (sign up here) supplemented with event based bulletins through our social media channels @journeysindesign and Eventbrite.

Flax chats

Flax Futures is the new exhibition and set of collaborative projects emerging from Our Linen Stories programme, celebrating the exceptional potential of Scotland's ancient fibre crop. Flax culture serves as a valid proxy for debate and activism around the key issues of our time; Flax Futures link heritage, locality and co-design to this end. We are planting #flaxScotland this month and please do follow Journeys in Design on Eventbrite to register early for our related exhibitions and events throughout the country.

Seaweed so good

Salvage Scotland launches on a second voyage this July, no longer locked down online. This time we're on the water sailing cross country from the Tay to the Summer Isles, in a variety of craft, with material focus on seaweed and plastic. Our maritime journey would have been known to Iron Age settlers and we'll check in with friends at The Scottish Crannog Centre and the Highland Folk Museum en route. Link to our inaugural sail and to all our programmes on the Journeys in Design programmes page.

There's always a link...

In tune with the seasons, winters can offer a reflective period for review and planning, to build toward the springing of a new productive year. In celebration, I'd like to link to a small number who have nourished my personal Journeys in Design, enriching the year that's been and inspiring the months to come.

zRegen meet ups
- a monthly link with like minds delving into all things regenerative
BBC Alba Fillte textiles tv
- a televisual take on some beautiful textile stories
Dovecot Studios exhibitions
- one of Scotland's foremost design hubs, always alive with new events
Bernat Klein Foundation workshops
- a great set of design and colour workshops across the country
RSA Regeneration Rising podcasts
- time well spent on the 'why and how' to make the change
YARN Scottish Textiles Journal
- a stunning evocation of Scotland's thriving textile stories

A call to arms & hands

Examining our lives today, exploring how we live for the greater well being of ourselves and those around us, it seems more clear than ever that incremental shifts designed to cause less harm are no longer enough.

Instead, we can act now to design materials, methods and holistic ways of living that actively benefit nature’s interdependent systems. Hope comes from action within local communities, and we can all take part in one way or another.

With our rolling programmes in soil, sea and streets, Journeys in Design recommits to celebrate and support community, through the shared heritage and contemporary design talent that defines localities throughout Scotland and beyond.

I hope you enjoy this Newsletter - please do forward it on to those you think might also like it - and I hope also that our paths continue to cross as the seasons unfold.

With very best wishes,


John Ennis
Curator Producer, Journeys in Design

PS Thank you!

The past year was also significant on a personal basis, 10 years since I stepped aside from medical practice to pursue a passion for design and well-being. Experience has affirmed my values and allowed my approach to evolve, with a new mantra in mind, to "make the most of what's really most important", starting with those most dear to me.

In truth, it also means a mighty sense of gratitude for all the encouragement I have received over this last decade. Thank You: without your support, our Journeys in Design together would surely have faltered.

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