Jenna Watt and Andrew Painting at the Edinburgh Bookshop
(THIS EVENT HAS NOW PASSED)
Hindsight and Regeneration: Jenna Watt in conversation with Andrew Painting
Nature-writers Jenna Watt and Andrew Painting join the Edinburgh Bookshop to discuss their Highland Book Prize nominated books – Hindsight and Regeneration – the topic of rewilding and their work in sustainability, conservation and ecology in Scotland’s rural landscape.
- Thursday 30 March, 7pm
- Christ Church Centre, 6a Morningside Road, EH10 4DD
- Tickets: £5
About the Books:
Hindsight: In 2019, Jenna Watt took part in the stalking of a hind on the vast Highland estate of Corrour: part of an immersive attempt to understand the ideas that lie behind ‘rewilding’, and what it means emotionally and physically to participate in Scotland’s deer cull. Piece by piece and chapter by chapter she unravels the story of that one day spent hunting the hind, interlaced with her discovery that her ancestors were deer stalkers, game keepers and ghillies on a Highland estate, who once took part in increasingly controversial land practices like muirburn and species persecution.
This exploration leads her into the complex and often conflict-ridden world of the rewilding movement. She meets the ‘Wolf Man’ of the Highlands, who wants to introduce the first wild wolves back into Scotland for over 300 years; a mountain ecologist who ranges alone across the landscape to track the environmental impact of deer on Scotland’s upland ecosystem; landowners who are reintroducing species like beaver onto their estates; and a female deer stalker, who is trying to introduce more women into the male-dominated world of stalking and game-keeping.
In the process, Jenna comes to better understand the meaning of ‘wildness’, the shifting baselines of ‘rewilding’, and, in a world beset by climate change and species extinction, how to cope, both as an individual and as a society, with the concept of ecological grief.
Regeneration: In 1995 the National Trust for Scotland acquired Mar Lodge Estate in the heart of the Cairngorms. Home to over 5,000 species, this vast expanse of Caledonian woodlands, subarctic mountains, bogs, moors, roaring burns and frozen lochs could be a place where environmental conservation and Highland field sports would exist in harmony. The only problem was that due to centuries of abuse by human hands, the ancient Caledonian pinewoods were dying, and it would take radical measures to save them.
After 25 years of extremely hard work, the pinewoods, bogs, moors and mountains are returning to their former glory. Regeneration is the story of this success, featuring not only the people who are protecting the land and quietly working to undo the wrongs of the past, but also the myriad creatures which inspire them to do so.
In addition, it also tackles current controversies such as raptor persecution, deer management and rewilding and asks bigger questions about the nature of conservation itself: what do we see when we look at our wild places? What should we see?
About the Authors:
Jenna Watt is a multi-award-winning theatre maker. In 2016, her award-winning Edinburgh Fringe play Faslane was published by Oberon books, now Methuen Drama, which led to her presenting Nukes, Subs and Secrets, a piece of factual television with Hopscotch productions for BBC Scotland. In 2017, she undertook an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development with the University of Highlands and Islands. Since graduating, she became the recipient of Magnetic North Theatre’s Artist Attachment for 18 months, where she continued to develop her understanding of performative approaches to ecofeminism, rewilding and land management practices in Scotland.
Andrew Painting grew up in the south of England and studied English at King’s College, London and Environmental Anthropology at Aberdeen University. He moved to Scotland to volunteer with the RSPB and since 2016 has been Assistant Ecologist at the Mar Lodge Estate.