Dispatches from the Source: writings from improvisations

Working the Tweed

In June 2014 four of us went to look for the source of the Tweed.

Back in the studio  I was interested in exploring how we remember a place and what we remember about it through movement improvisation.

Below are a selection of short pieces of writing that came out of these improvisations.

The writings are illustrated by images made by Tim Rubidge at the source by pressing paper into the peat.

Imagine a path following along a curve.

The curve
The Tweed
And the imagining.

It was a green – veined white, its wings, tributaries of a river, flowing towards the source.


Who was the person to first put their hand into Tweed?
No, it wasn’t me.
One of the others.


And we listened
And we listened

What did you hear?


Trickling ?

Trickling underground.

You heard it even though you couldn’t see…

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Source Materials: A proposal

Working the Tweed

dispathches from the source 009

In February we welcomed Christo Wallers, a film maker based in Northumberland, to the team of artists working on the Dispatches from the Source project.

This is Christo’s proposal for a 16mm film project in response to a conversation about the ideas we have been exploring so far around source materials. I had also recently discovered that the deep groundwater that feeds the source of Tweed also feeds the sources of Annan and Clyde.

This film project plays upon the shortcomings of primary source material. As you mentioned, the source of a river’s water is impossible to isolate, due to the plurality of sources of water that feed into a spot which is in itself only labelled as the ‘source’ because of a general agreement, as opposed to an empirically provable location.  The source of the river’s water becomes a mise en abyme, as each source has its own source, in…

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A Gathering of Waters: catchment poem

Working the Tweed

A Tweed Catchment poem

Read them aloud to really taste the waters.

Tweeds Well Cor Water Smidhope Burn Glencraigie Burn Pipershole Burn Badlieu Burn Old Burn Peddrire Burn Glenwhappen Burn Fingland Burn Hawkshaw Burn Hallo Burn Rigs Burn Fruid Water Longslack Hallo Burn Gala Burn Biggar Water Holms Water Lyne Water Manor Water Ugly Grain Langhale Burn New Holm Hope Burn Dry Cleugh Kirkhope Burn Linghope Burn Horsiehope Burn Mill Burn Tower Burn Hallmanor Burn Hundleshope Burn Ternies Burn Rae Burn The Glack Belanrig Ditch Glensax Burn Stakelaw Burn Shortstrands Meldon Burn Eddleston Water  Fairy Dean Burn Longcote Burn Whitelaw Burn  Dean Burn  Wormiston Burn  Gill Burn Edderston Burn Soonhope Burn Kittlegary Burn Common Burn Haystoyn Burn  Waddenshope Burn Linn Burn Kailzie Burn Kirk Burn Dirtpot Burn Fawn Burn Kay’s Burn Quair Water Kirk Burn Banks Burn Gumscleugh Burn Peat Burn Deuchar Burn Blair Burn Weil Burn Fethan Burn Glass…

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Young Water / Old Water

Working the Tweed

We spent a sunny day last May working on the edge of the Ettrick Water at Philiphaugh, a stone’s throw from the hydro turbines. It was the first few days of a project working with dancers and movement improvisation to explore what an ecological approach to choreography might be.

Improvisations, Tim Rubidge at Ettrick Water, May 2014. Photo Claire Pencak Improvisations, Tim Rubidge at Ettrick Water, May 2014. Photo Claire Pencak

The collaborators on this were Claire Pençak, choreographer, dancers Merav Israel and Tim Rubidge and environmental artist Kate Foster.

One of the questions that emerged from this process was – How long would it take for a droplet of water to travel from the source to the mouth of Tweed?

This was the fascinating email from Professor Chris Soulsby, Chair in Hydrology, University of Aberdeen in response to our question.

‘What may seem a simple question actually has a very complex answer!

 I’ll start simple, for water molecules (water may…

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