Poetics of Science: Through Itself

Friday, 23rd June, 2017 18:00
Sunday, 25th June, 2017 16:30


'Through Itself' is the second in a series of 3 weekend seminars

The compelling idea that inspires The Poetics of Science seminars is inspiration itself. Inspiration is an inexhaustible source through which the human reality can be directly known, be it through the science of the physical universe explored as an object, or through the embodied discovery of the hidden, interior realm of the heart

The speakers’ work is guided by a global concern and foresight and will explore ideas conducive to creative collaboration. The weekend offers a rich programme of interactive presentations and workshops, including Philosophy, Literature, Contemporary Music, Psychology, Healing and Art. The Seminar and music nights will be held in a large pavilion next to the beautiful 18th century Georgian House.

Full Programme, Cost and Booking

To book click here...

On Conscious Participation

An introduction to the weekend's theme, reflecting on its metaphysical implications from different religious perspectives.

with Gwendolen Dupré


Having done her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, Gwendolen considers the metaphysical frameworks at work within Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Sufi thought, considering the similarities between these perspectives with regard to how the term Through Itself might relate to them.

Gwendolen Dupré is an artist and aspiring academic currently living and working in Glasgow. She graduated in 2016 with a degree in Theology & Religious Studies from the University of Cambridge and her main research interests are religion, continental philosophy, morality, literature, feminist theory, art & film history.

Sense, Vision, Insight, Form: a poetry workshop

with Andrew Singer

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Wouldn’t you like to unlock more of your poetic potential? Poet and teacher Andrew Singer leads this workshop as a creative unlocking in several stages, presenting a set of tools, techniques, examples and poetic understandings, with exercises for quickly reaching a new layer of poetic creation and polish. No prior experience or preparation is needed for this workshop. (2 hours)

Andrew is founder and head of Trafika Europe. He studied poetry writing with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott for an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University, and teaches courses in European literature, literary translation and creative writing at Penn State University. He has led poetry workshops and given talks and readings widely in more than a half-dozen countries, including with British Council. As a poet, author, translator and artist, he is guided by a spiritual understanding of what we are living through, in the rapid transformation of our shared global culture. He currently lives in New York City.

What is Phenomenology?

with Huw Gault


What is phenomenology? It’s a six-syllable word. So many syllables suggest it must be something extremely complicated. Whatever it is, Huw’s explanation of it will not be complicated. In ways which will be easy to follow, he will explain how phenomenology can help us understand the nature of reality …. and how it can’t.

Huw Gault Huw Gault received his education in Scotland and Holland. He has wide interests ranging particularly over philosophy, physics and history. He creates and writes interactive internet games. Huw's writing is noted for its imagination and humour. For him the ideal job would be being Socrates (but with better prospects). However, for now Huw serves as the kitchen manager at Chisholme.

Along the Shores of Bewilderment

with Mark Boston


Mark will share his insights into the mysterious worlds of the imagination, examining the state of bewilderment as a fundamental companion on the creative journey. A presentation of work will then focus on animation as an unparallelled meeting place for countless art forms, demonstrating its rich potential for expressing the diverse, interior realms of the human being.

Mark Boston is a freelance painter, animator, cartoonist and poet who loves storytelling in all its forms. In some vegetable gardens, he is also known as the Bewildered Cauliflower, a mysterious creature found washed up in the outer wilderness of the dreaming. When asked about his origins, he whispered that he had been raised by wild rhubarb and is now using human form to explore the uplifting powers of art.

In 2016, Mark graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a first-class degree in Animation. He then went to Poland to work on the upcoming Loving Vincent, the world's first fully painted feature film. Since then he has painted murals in Mexico, created animations for Trafika Europe, and is now developing illustrated storybooks.


The Implicate Order of Music

with James Wyness


Drawing on disciplines as diverse as evolutionary biology and semiotics, this illustrated talk will set out to engage the participants in creating fresh understandings about music, the function of music, its origins and its manifestations in the current era. Like language, musical behaviour exists in every culture. Both may have co-evolved to some extent, yet they serve different functions. A scientific approach, working with an ad hoc hypothesis, might try in the first instance to understand music as a phenomenological reality, something understood physically, cognitively and emotionally, yet immediately, without mediation, understood ‘through itself’ and not through cultural conditioning, romantic notions, commercial imperatives or transient trends.

According to physicist and philosopher David Bohm who theorised the notion of a holomovement in our awareness of reality, music is an active implicate order in the sense that ‘it continually flows into emotional, physical and other responses that are inseparable from the transformations out of which it is essentially constructed’. Matter and consciousness can be considered to be projections of a common ground. This ground is enfolded in our consciousness. We could argue then that music and consciousness are of the same order and measure. Despite the contrived language around these matters, I would hope that we can come to a simpler and better understanding of music, both the sound and ground of music, by letting go of assumptions and culturally ‘deconditioning' ourselves, at least temporarily.

James Wyness is a composer, sound artist, spatial practitioner and researcher. He composes and performs new music using hand-made acoustic and digital instruments, field recordings, found objects and electronics. In attempting to understand and articulate the idea of music as a system of forms rather than a commodity subject to transient trends, his research has touched upon fields such as evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology, semiotics and morphology. His musical work crosses the boundaries between generic forms such as ambient, minimalist, noise and electroacoustic music. A full discography, including audio streaming, can be found at his personal site.

As a sound artist he works on large-scale, long-term collaborative projects, currently developing an arts/science collaboration around the sonification of climate change data with a view to establishing a permanent sound installation that responds to real-time data.

Based in the Scottish Borders he is currently developing The Planning Department, a new artist-led collective who aims to produce challenging, yet accessible intermedia experiences through site-specific art set in unorthodox and forgotten sites and environments. The group’s wider aim is to serve as a real and virtual hub for national and international artists and to establish partnerships across communities and creative industries.

His work is performed and presented internationally. In his frequent collaborations he works with visual artists, dancers, choreographers, writers, theatre and film producers.

He is currently co-authoring a book on sound and music with Italian composer Giancarlo Toniutti. In dialogue form the book, An Atlas of Instabilities, takes a time-honoured experimental scientific approach to the understanding of music as a phenomenology of forms.

James has an MA (Honours) degree in French Studies and a PhD in music composition from the University of Aberdeen. Read more...

The Uses of Attention in the Lives and Works
of the Death-Cell Philosophers

with Martha Chamberlain Cass


Martha studied at Yale University and the Chisholme Institute in the 1970s and 80s, and then at the University of Birmingham (UK) from 2005-2011. Her interests include the development of an individual’s adaptive strategy, by necessity, in infancy, and the ‘un-making’ of this strategy, by choice, in adulthood.
She will be speaking about this ‘un-making’ of the self in the writings and experiences of some of the ‘Death Cell Philosophers’ of the 20th C.

"The description ‘death-cell philosophy’ was first used by Margaret Masterman, a philosopher and linguist in Cambridge in the post-war years. One of her colleagues in the group known as the Epiphany Philosophers was Dr Rowan Williams, and it was in one of his writings that I first came across this phrase. He writes, in his forward to a book about Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), “Anyone studying her…will emerge convinced that she can properly stand with Simone Weil, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Maria Skobstova as a signal representative of what has been called the ’death-cell philosophy' of the twentieth century: the discovery of a real and completely, powerfully transforming divine faithfulness, present even in the depths of the nightmare of totalitarian inhumanity.”

"The juxtaposition of this ‘transforming divine faithfulness’ with the prolonged experience of mortal threat will form the basis of our discussion in this seminar.
We will look at the ‘construction’ of the self from conception to late infancy, and the choice to de-construct or un-make it in adulthood. And we will take as examples and teachers the great death-cell philosophers mentioned above, along with some others who might not normally be included in their ranks. We will consider how attention, concentration, stress, distress and loving service played important roles in their lives, and what role they might also play in ours".

The Story of Trafika Europe

with Andrew Singer

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In this talk, Andrew Singer discusses the origin of the literary project Trafika Europe, insights gained along the way about European life and cultures, and about the new initiative Trafika Europe Radio – a new, shared radio station for European literature.

When the Soviet Union ended, a spirit of increasing cultural unity swept through Europe and much of the world for the next several years. That was when, in the early-mid 1990s, the original Trafika literary project was founded by a group of American expats in Prague. Focusing on new literature in English translation from around the world, it was an exciting project and very well-received.

Global literature in translation is now more well-established – but times have also moved on. Living long-term in Hungary, Singer witnessed two strongly distinct cycles, over the ensuing years, in how Hungarian culture experiences itself in relation to Europe and the world. Following this, a year in Scotland added radically different insights into how cultures can interact and remake themselves with forward-looking vision in the European context. In parallel, Singer engaged widely for a couple of years in conversations about how cultures develop, the kind of world we’re seeking to co-create – and why it matters, in the context of a new set of shared challenges we are facing all together in this age of the world.

What is needed now? How can this cultural conversation continue to progress? What new tools are available, what is useful to contribute culturally in today’s Europe, and how?

Strangers Talk; Friends Listen

Listening to Energy: A Workshop with Christina Mark