Through the summer of 2017 I developed content for a new exhibition within the Holyrood Park visitor centre in Edinburgh. This new exhibition helps visitors to the Park appreciate its stories as well as its fragility as an ancient landscape.
The project had to be turned around in a matter of months. The real challenge however was working out what to say and what to leave out. The Park contains an extinct volcano, archaeological sites, rare wildlife species and historical connections with the likes of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Mary Queen of Scots – there were so many incredible stories we could tell.
I was working with designer Anna Muckart and of course, the client – the interpretation team at Historic Environment Scotland with research support from their ranger service and curators.
The client was keen to make use of poetic phrases within the displays and I realised that some very famous writers and poets – Walter Scott, James Hogg, Ian Rankin and even Charlotte Bronte – had already written beautifully about this very landscape. It was a joy looking out various writings about Edinburgh and picking out words that supported the exhibition’s themes.
Place names like Raven’s Rock and the Innocent Railway would be a gift to any interpretive writer and I was glad that we could use these in some of the wall graphics.
I spent my student years living nearby the Park and would often go on walks up Arthur’s Seat or along the Crags without really knowing anything about it. It can be easy to take places for granted. Having worked on this project I see it through new eyes, and hope that visitors will too.