To view our interview with senior committee member and accessibility coordinator of WayWord, Beatrix Livesey-Stephens, click here.
Boasting a considerably more extensive programme of events now that they’re in their second year of running, WayWord festival is jointly hosted by the University of Aberdeen and the WORD Centre for Creative Writing and brings together a vast selection of cross-arts workshops, talks, and showcases.
Organised largely by students of Aberdeen University, the festival will include events focused on both new creative voices and established artists. The majority will take place online, with BSL interpretation throughout, and every event is free to access and can be pre-booked directly on their website. The online features will be navigable by screen-readers for visually impaired participants.
There will be online workshops focusing on world-building, sound art, life-writing, sea shanties and more, all hosted by experts and creatives with experience in these art forms. One workshop hosted by Jane Hughes will provide advice on using creative expression to navigate one’s own mental health.
Overall, there will be 100 performers, 47 different events, and representatives of 15 countries and 13 languages and dialects – an embodiment of the festival’s commitment to diverse and inclusive forms of art. There will also be a strong focus on Scottish arts, particularly from the North-East. Bothy Ballads and Dràma na Gàidhlig (Gaelic Drama) will be on display alongside a number of presentations from Scottish artists and poets.
There will be five in-person events. The first will be the Love Wall, an online and physical art installation celebrating “the multi-faceted forms love can take”. Audiences will be able to add to the wall virtually or physically from 19 September onwards. A sound art workshop in Cruickshank Botanic Gardens will follow on the day after, with the next in-person event occurring 22 September in The Blue Lamp and featuring a selection of spoken word performances by North-East artists. The penultimate day of the festival will contain the final two in-person additions to the programme, an animation workshop at the university campus, and a talk by Val McDermid on her latest book 1979.
The award-winning author will not be the only big name to participate in the festival. Other Scottish authors include Trainspotting’s Irvine Welsh, and Saltire Award winners A.L Kennedy and Alan Warner.
We will be reviewing several of the online events during the coming days. A full programme can be found on the WayWord website.