True North Conference


True North Conference
Recording the Past, Present and Future 

5-7 March 2015, Timespan, Helmsdale, Scotland

Documenting is an activity that makes us human, that constitutes our culture in the past, the present, and the future.

The True North conference is for everyone: it is for artists, historians, academics, curators, and researchers; for those with an interest in researching their family history or who like the smell of libraries and archives; and for everyone who blogs, tweets, and shares their story on Facebook, takes photos or makes films.

On Thursday evening, 5th March, we will welcome you to Timespan and Helmsdale with an informal reception and buffet, and an opportunity to meet with all those who have joined us for the conference. On Friday and Saturday we have two full days of presentations, conversations, explorations and more.

On the conference agenda

  • Northern Frontiers, a talk by Lateral North presenting their recent publication An Atlas of Productivity, and launching their new touring project developed in collaboration with Timespan.
  • Archiving Matters a round table discussion on archiving values and practices with presentations by Lewis-based artist Jon MacLeod, Referendum Curator Amy Todman, artist Nicky Bird, and Timespan’s Archive Development Manager Jo Clemens.
  • A second round table discussion, Document People, focusing on the role of people when documenting. This session raises questions around the acts of collecting, and sharing, reminiscing and self-presentation and of documenting and of being documented. Speakers include genealogist Chris Halliday, social scientist Matt Sillars, artist Karlyn Sutherland and archaeologist Keir Strickland.
  • A series of 5 Minute Speakers with a variety of contributions chaired by Lisa Collinson that opens up a discussion around documentation in and across a variety of disciplines.
  • Presentations and Performances by Mini-Residency contributors: visual artist Hannah Imlach, journalist and arts writer Moira Jeffrey, visual artist Ruth MacLennan and Referendum Curator Amy Todman.
  • We will also offer Exploration Sessions, an opportunity to delve deeper into some of the projects at Timespan or to head out into Helmsdale and the surrounding area. Visit Timespan’s Virtual World with our partners Alan Miller and John McCaffery from St Andrews University. Learn more about our recent archive and collection development with Archive Development Manager, Jo Clements. Take a tour up the Strath of Kildonan with Heritage Officer Jacquie Aitken. Or find out about Northern Exchange, an exhibition by Roxane Permar and Susan Timmins, documenting Cold War legacies, with our Curator Frances Davis.
  • Several opportunities for networking, and evening entertainment.
  • All good things come to an end with True North Real Life, presentations by Peter Davidson, Author of the Idea of North who will remind us of the gaps in histories and the importance of missing information, and by artist Ross Sinclair, reflecting on Real Life.

See full agenda here.

Your ticket includes lunches, teas and coffees, a buffet on the Thursday evening and an evening meal on the Friday with all food provided by local caterers and Timespan’s Riverside Cafe.

How to get to Helmsdale

by train: There are regular trains going North from Inverness. On the 5th of March you can for example catch the 14.00 train from Inverness to arrive at 16.36 in Helmsdale. Enjoy stunning views on the way and Scotrail’s free WiFi service. Leave Helmsdale going South on the 7th March at 17.44 and arrive in Glasgow or Edinburgh before midnight.
by bus: Inverness – Wick/Thurso/Scrabster (Service X99 958) Operated by Citylink.
by car: follow the A9 from Inverness North towards Thurso. Helmsdale is less than 1.5 hours close.
or by plane: fly to Inverness from London, Manchester, Birmingham or Bristol, the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, Ireland and mainland Europe or to Wick airport with routes from Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Timespan is within 5 minutes walk of the bus stop and train station, and we have our own car park. We are on the John O’Groats to Lands End cycle route and are also the gateway to discovering Caithness. Make your way inland to the heart of Sutherland or explore Caithness’ stunning North coast. Why not make a weekend trip out of your conference visit!

Please let us know if you need any assistance in booking your accommodation. Most local accommodation providers will offer discounts if you mention the True North Conference.


One thought on “True North Conference

  1. Hello All,
    I’d really like to attend, but at the moment looks like i’d not get there until afternoon on Friday. Would that be an issue?

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