Joins the expedition for week 3
Ian Stephen was born in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis and lives there now. He studied education, drama and literature then returned to live on Lewis. For many years he worked for the Coastguard Service, latterly managing a watch. He was the inaugural winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Award in 1995. From then he has worked full time in the arts.
His poetry, short fiction and non-fiction have been published in many countries including Australia, Canada and the Czech Republic. He has published many collections of poetry and one of short stories. He travels widely to perform his poems and stories and to tell traditional stories. In recent years he has been a guest at Words Without Borders, Olomouc, Czech Republic; Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival, Ireland and the Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival. This year he will be performing and sharing at the Eden Project, Cornwall and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
His new and selected poems, Adrift, with Czech translations by Bob Hysek and drawings by David Connearn, is published by Periplum, Olomouc, Czech republic. He has also made many artists’ books, often in collaboration with individual publishers like Alec Finlay‘s Morning Star Publications or with organisations such as Taigh Chearsabhagh and The Pier Arts Centre. A selection was included in Window to the West, City Arts Centre, Edinburgh 2010.
Two of his video-poems were shown in Running Time, a selection of Scottish artists’ films from the 60s to the present day, at the Dean Gallery, 2009. His play Seven Hunters, on the Flannan Isles Lighthouse story, was directed by Gerry Mulgrew and toured through Scotland. His short play, The Sked Crew was directed by Alison Peebles and Brazil 12, Scotland nil, a comedy on land ownership issues, was made for Birds of Paradise and directed by Morven Gregor.
Ian’s work often involves navigation. He was given a Creative Scotland Award (2002-3) to sail through the geography of Scottish maritime stories. The sea-route, suggested by a traditional story, connecting Sweden and the north of Scotland was navigated and the story sent as instalments by satellite-phone to a computer at the 50th Venice Biennale. Ian is now working on a book which will alternate retelling tradi- tional stories on a route from Brittany to Iceland with factual accounts of navigating their settings. The same subject has driven a multi-partner exhibition project, which has been installed, at The Pier Arts Centre and an Lanntiar. The show will also be rebuilt for Taigh Chearsabhagh, an Tobar and Tent Gallery, ECA.