Watch Alastair Cook’s Keynote for “Film-Poetry, Hybridity and Cultural Resilience in the Scottish Highlands & Islands and Western Brittany” (An Lanntair, Stornoway).

This short keynote contains an introduction to Filmpoem and five of Alastair’s films with short discussions between each.

06’08” Filmpoem 02 Scene

09’10” Filmpoem 09 Abachan

11’30” Filmpoem 19 The Gun

16’05” Filmpoem 31 Better Days

22’55” Filmpoem 40 After the Robins

The archive of Alastair’s poetry-film is held by the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Some notes on Hands Across the Sea from the organisers –

“Hands Across The Sea – Collaboration, Innovation & Blue Humanities in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland and Western Brittany. This project aims to inject an innovative dynamic to support the endangered Celtic cultures of the Scottish Highlands & Islands and Western Brittany. ‘Hands Across the Sea’ will deliver a series of colloquia which will address the challenges faced by these cultures in a post-Brexit Europe. The relationship with the sea has nourished distinctive oral vernacular cultures in these regions and this initiative sets out to investigate ways to link this traditional culture with innovative genre-disruptive forms and new digital technologies. We know the sea as much through the humanities as through science – the creative arts are uniquely able to add a phenomenological dimension to scientific knowledge – and this collaboration between seaward-orientated cultures will address ways that the blue humanities can contribute to a blue ecology.”

Edinburgh-based artist Alastair Cook studied architecture at the Glasgow School of Art where he developed a focussed interest in video and photography. During his time in architectural practice, he developed skills in visual communication and project delivery that underpin a parallel development in his artistic practice.

Alastair has exhibited and screened internationally and has video and photographic artworks in several collections. His work in developing and sustaining relationships within tight-knit communities has elicited funding to work as artist-in-residence with organisations in Scotland, Lithuania and Norway. He is founder of Documenting Britain, a supportive platform for young photographers and now an industry established benchmark for documentary photography. He is an active workshop teacher and visiting lecturer and has extensive experience of independent working, gathering of independent funding and success in exhibiting and screening work both in collaboration and as a solo artist.

Alastair developed the artists’ moving image project Filmpoem to partner major institutions as well as independent cinemas and festivals.

“The combination of film and poetry is an attractive one. For the poet, perhaps a hope that the filmmaker will bring something to the poem: a new audience, a visual attraction, the laying of way markers; for the filmmaker, a fixed parameter to respond to, the power of a text sparking the imagination with visual connections and metaphor.” {Alastair Cook, Anon 7}

Filmpoem is an artists’ moving image project founded by artist Alastair Cook in 2010. As a collective, we deliver education and community projects, and promote the work of poets, filmmakers and composers. We collaborate with organisations such as the Southbank, The Poetry Society, Poetry International, the Scottish Poetry Library, Alchemy, Antwerpen Boekenstad, Poëziecentrum and Haus für Poesie. The full archive of Alastair Cook’s poetry-film work is held by the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, Scotland.