Ellon Academy: 2011 – 2015

Mary was lead artist for the new Ellon Academy, working with Aberdeenshire Council’s architects and local people to create a series of integrated artworks. Contributions from local people were integral to the two artworks shown here, River of Words and Hand to Hand.

Ellon Academy: River of Words - Mary Bourne with poet, Bernard Briggs, pupils from Ellon Academy, and members of the local community

River of Words 

Etch film on glass

Local people and pupils were asked to contribute text about their experiences of/feelings about the River Ythan which runs through the town and has shaped its history. Contributions, of which there were several hundred, had to be in ten words or under and in the contributor’s own handwriting. Mary then incorporated these into a River of Words which was designed to create a degree of visual separation between the school’s reception area and the adjacent swimming pool.

Lead artist: Mary Bourne
Commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council
Poetry workshops facilitated by Bernard Briggs, poet, and English Department with support for Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Programme

Ellon Academy: River of Words - Bernard Briggs running a public session at Better Read Books, Ellon
Ellon Academy: River of Words - Pupils' writing session
Ellon Academy: River of Words - Bernard Briggs working with Ellon Reminiscence Group

Hand to Hand

Mary Bourne - Ellon Academy: Hand To Hand

In this project, Mary worked closely with the Art and English Departments at the school to create an artwork that considers how memories and emotions become lodged in objects that are handed down from generation to generation. Pupils were involved in every aspect of the project, photographing objects in local collections and brought in by local people, writing interpretative texts, working with the Council’s Corporate Communications Department on press releases and acting as live guides at formal events.

A project publication was produced and distributed to project participants and local libraries. Download a copy of the pdf here

Following the project, Aberdeenshire Council developed a learning resource based on it.

Lead artist: Mary Bourne
Commissioner: Aberdeenshire Council
Supporting organisations: Aberdeenshire Council Arts Team; Aberdeenshire Museum Service; Aberdeen University Special Collections Centre; Aberdeenshire Libraries Service; Better Read Books, Elgin; Aberdeenshire Council Corporate Communications Department.