Deep Time

Going back in history and far into the future.

Britain viewed from the sea roads of the old north, which positions the northernmost shires of Scotland in their ancient alignment as the south land of the Scandinavian north.
Peter Davidson

It is difficult for us to imagine the far-away past and the distant future. We have little reference to this time, and commonly few emotional ties. It is Deep Time: hidden, nuanced, imaginary, yet real and always there. We can perceive it in our genes and our identity, we can see it in our landscape, in each step we walk, and in our imagination. We have few facts about the distant past and few shared ideas for the equally distant future.

Our northern landscape bears a multitude of records from the last 6000 years of human inhabitation which we commonly categorise as the Neolithic Age, the Iron Age, the Bronze Age, and the Viking Age. We want to dig in deep time and unearth what the soil reveals. We will probably never know how people perceived themselves and their surroundings then. Yet they were humans, just like us.

The earth layers resources; its scale is without comprehension. It moves and changes forcefully despite our perception of it being fixed in stone and rock. The bog preserves, birds migrate, people migrate and follow the pattern of their ancestors. We all hope for a good future, but what will that future be?

Deep Time offers familiarity, yet confronts us with a mysterious distance.

As part of our organisational development we will further our integrated approach by focusing on the use of thematic clusters, and by being more aware of the access points we create for our audience.

This programme year will therefore present a transition from our previous ways of working under Paradigm North to the implementation of a new business plan. The three thematic areas we will be Helmsdale’s Medieval Castle with a commission by Nicky Bird who is particularly interested in working with archival images of the site. Helmsdale’s Castle will also be focus of this year’s Festival of Museums in May.

The second theme is Geological Time presented through the documentation of the UK’s largest meteorite impact crater on our doorstep. We hope to be offering 10 walks over 10 months for different abilities around the circumference of the Stac Fada meteorite crater devised by Mountain Leader John King (funding permitting).

We will also be exploring Nuclear Time, an investigation on how we deal with nuclear material that has a lifespan of a greater than human scale – and how we communicate the danger of what is stored.

Some of our work will be in partnership with the Flow International Photography Festival, RSPB Forsinard and the Nuclear Archive in Wick to name a few.