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Thinking Back On The Lions’ Gate Open Day

Saturday 24th September 2022 1-5pm

Lions' Gate Open Day 2022

After much planning and impressive contributions from students, friends, colleagues, volunteers, performers, and over 100 participants, our Climate Fringe Festival, Great Big Green Week, and My Green Community Open Day enjoyed great success in the glorious September sunshine. The garden came to life through exhibits, performances and debate, not to mention massage therapy sessions in Merchiston library.

Lions' Gate Outdoor Classroom with Mojitos

At 1pm our event gently came together as people drifted through the 16th century arch to the laid-back, uplifting dubby sounds of DJ Someone’s Dad (SACI’s Dr Tom Flint). With last-minute signage and guidance from students and volunteers, participants wandered the garden grounds and library finding little delights in every nook and cranny. At one end, through the Food Forest, where we’re developing an outdoor classroom the wonderful SACI Student Placements team were serving up delicious Mint Mojitos and donated beers from Stewart Brewing, under our recently completed Green Roof, whilst SACI students Cyd Holoran and Leeloo Moreau worked on Cyd’s mosaic.

DJ Someone's Dad
Lions' Gate Green Man

Around 1.30pm, Heron Blue took the stage and lulled all with his gorgeous solo set, singing original songs and covers, backed by his sumptuous, spacey Fender Telecaster electric guitar work, seeping through the sweet tones of his effects board and amp. Heron Blue is actually Fraser McMillan who worked on the gardens as part of his SoC MSc last year. He was also instrumental in building the geodesic dome and helping me harvest Hazel wood for it from a wood-lined cycle-path to the west of the city.

Heron Blue
Cyd Holoran and Leeloo Moreau

Throughout the afternoon, visitors were able to engage with research and staff. Emily Hairstans provided tours of the garden spaces she had beautifully planted over the year. Brian Davison demonstrated the Grow Cube technology he’s developing as part of the Dandelion Festival. Through the library, on the rooftop allotment, SACI’s Professor Jaya Garrabost with the help of Cinematography lecturer David Byrne, and with great thanks to P&Fs Lee Murdoch for use of Merchiston’s kitchens, were serving up Aloo Subji and Chana Masala, alongside Sally Bennett’s not-one-crumb-left Homemade Lions’ Gate French Apple Cake and Tart, and Leeloo Moreau’s quickly-vanishing chocolate cookies.

French Apple Tart and Cake
Love in The Lions' Gate

In the library, 4th Year SACI students Andrew Waterhouse and Keir Flint exhibited their work on the gardens as placement students. Andrew displayed his elegant photographic close-ups and GIF animations, and Keir showed the humorous 3D ‘Garden Tour with Robots’ film he’d miraculously and accurately developed using Unreal Engine.

Andrew Waterhouse Exhibition

Visitors enjoyed the sublime holistic therapeutic talents of Edinburgh Napier Alumnus Emma Stout (Blue Butterfly Therapies). Emma provided 20 minute consultations, and was fully-booked throughout the day. Meanwhile, guests mooched, chatted, ate and drank, and lay in the sun on bean bags, with their friends and families and even their dogs.

Folk at The Lions' Gate Open Day 2022
Harry Bongo's Eco Sound System

Prior to our headline talk with Tim Ingold, Harry Docherty, SACI Music PhD student experimented with his ecological sound system, using environmental sensors as triggers for sounds, processed, synthesized and output through the PA as deep squelches and colourful washes, abrupt blips and mellow tones, complex and otherworldly in their scape.

Tim Ingold at The Lions' Gate Open Day 2022

At 3.30pm Tim Ingold took the stage, to an audience of around 60. Tim is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at Aberdeen University and has been immensely influential across various disciplines. His talk ‘Generation Now’ reflected on the demise of intergenerational knowledge in modern society. As ever, Tim’s insightful storytelling journey provided a wealth of generative metaphors; bell curves, lines, ropes, layers and queues, to describe the epistemological textures of indigenous and modern networks. Tim’s public conversation in the garden, provoked debate amongst audience members, with plenty of time for questions. A big thank you to Dr Kirstie Jamieson for chairing the talk. You can find a cinema-veritesque audio of the talk here – sadly our recording equipment was playing up and we didn’t manage to capture the final part of the Q&A. However, the richness of Tim’s narrative eclipses the bark of a dog, the wail of a baby and the rasping exhaust of a boy-racer – it has a direct/concrete feel to it, and I for one like that.

Folk listening to Tim Ingold at The Lions' Gate Open Day 2022
Kirstie Jamieson, Tim Ingold, Callum Egan

With some reflection on the future of modern universities, Tim did go on to discuss the alt-university project he was part of at Aberdeen, details of which including their manifesto and campaign are here.

Well, that’s quite a long blog post so I’m going to wrap it up here. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen, not already mentioned; Peter Pryde and Alan Curtis in Properties & Facilities for their continuing support with building structures. The School of Computing, particularly Professor Ben Paechter and the Procurement Team. ENSA for moral, social media, and physical support. The Student Futures team for their back-breaking work on office away-days, cargo bike mechanic and volunteer Paul Ardin for his great cheer, amazing skills with a Japanese saw and all the work he did on the compost system, securing the trunk benches and finishing off the geodesic dome. Nicole Barrios and Grace Newbigging for their work on the pond, wayfinder and pergola. Clive Gee and Rachael McCrea in the Development Office for their help with trying to find funding, and you, if you’ve helped out in any way!

Our sustainable blended spaces provided a unique and inspirational background for a great celebration of community, or as one visitor described a ‘joyous hack’, and that appeals to my open-source ethos as well as the need for critical debate and action on climate issues. Universities can and should be places that are outward-looking, community-focused, where local people can meet to engage in sustainable practices and research.

There’s lots more to discuss about where The Lions’ Gate goes from here – it’s forever a precarious notion, so please do get in touch if you’d like to be involved.

callum.egan@napier.ac.uk

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Campus Sustainability Climate Action Education and culture Health and spiritual well-being People Care

Talk, music, food & drink, garden tours, holistic therapies, student exhibits at The Lions’ Gate Open Day

We still have a few tickets left for our Climate Festival and Great Big Green Week Open Day on Saturday 24th 1-5pm. You can get yours here.

Lions' Gate Open Day 2022
Entrance through The Lions’ Gate, 40m before Merchiston Campus main entrance on Colinton Road.

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Campus Sustainability Climate Action Earth Care Education and culture Health and spiritual well-being Land and nature stewardship People Care Tools and technology

The Lions’ Gate Open Day

The Lions' Gate Open Day

On Saturday 24th of September from 1pm – 5pm we’re throwing the gate open and inviting you to be a part of the Climate Fringe and the Great Big Green Week, supported by the Permaculture Association.

Headlining @ 3.30pm, we’re delighted to host influential, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at Aberdeen University Tim Ingold, who’ll be presenting his latest work ‘Generation Now‘ from our Storytelling Chair.

Tim has made a huge impact on design philosophy, and was a favourite of Edinburgh Napier’s late, great Prof. David Benyon, whose own design work on Blended Spaces has fundamentally informed The Lions’ Gate, to the extent that our work contributed to a Blended Spaces Impact Case Study awarded 4* in 2021’s Research Excellence Framework, denoting research quality that is world-leading in originality, significance and rigour.  What goes around…

Other wholesome and life-affirming activities of the day include:

  • Holistic Therapies by Emma J @ Blue Butterfly Therapies
  • Student exhibits from the School of Arts and Creative Industries
  • Campus-grown food
  • Cocktails and drinks
  • Music, including DJ Someone’s Dad
  • Garden tours
  • Plus more! Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved: callum.egan@napier.ac.uk

As we experience environmental and economic collapse, failures in geo, national and local politics, human health & well-being under siege, and a general sense of hopelessness, the day will provide an opportunity to share, unwind, discuss, listen and delight in what is possible, in our imaginative, permaculture-inspired, urban, campus garden.

The event is free but ticketed, so
please register here.

Look forward to seeing you on the 24th!

 

Climate Fringe

Great Big Green Week

Permaculture Association

The planet does not need more successful people. The planet needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.

Internet meme
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SACI and SRUC Placements and other bits and bobs

Cyd, Cal, Leeloo, Nicole, Grace and Keir by Andrew Waterhouse

Firstly, apologies for taking so long to write a new blog post. I’ve been incredibly busy, and ill with Covid, and I’ve changed roles at the university, and also I guess I’ve just been feeling somewhat exasperated by the failures of COP26 and trying to keep The Lions’ Gate going. But here I am, the sun is shining and my attempts to green the concrete of Merchiston campus and beyond continue, haphazardly perhaps, but spurred on by volunteers, staff and students. Actually, a big thanks has to go out to Alan Curits and Peter Pryde who are enabling some essential works over the next couple of months. However, access remains a thorny issue.

Envisioning The Lions’ Gate by Grace Newbigging

Since January I’ve been lucky to have Emily Hairstans working with me via a placement module from SRUC. Emily has been absolutely invaluable with her enthusiasm and passion for all things horticultural and I hope she can continue to pop by now the placement has come to an end. She’s the second student I’ve worked with via the SRUC placement scheme and I hope that the relationship with them continues into the future.

Logo designs by Lauren Stein

Also, since January I’ve been working with seven Creative Industries students in developing a number of interventions, (graphics of which are scattered throughout this post):

Cyrielle Dabere – a mosaic and the design of a green roof

Grace Newbigging – an outdoor classroom / pergola

Leeloo Moreau – lighting and signage

Lauren Stein – graphics, badges and a style guide

Keir Flint – a 3D model of the garden using Unreal Engine

Nicole Barrios – a pond with fountain and a wayfinder

Andrew Waterhouse – photography and animations

Badges by Lauren Stein

The work is ongoing, but it’s been a real delight to work with such creative souls, and Lindsay Morgan and Sophie Purchase in the SACI office have been a great help too, as have Cher and Jennifer in the Finance office.

Mosaic development by Cyrielle Dabere

Also, the Student Futures team are back helping out and it’s great to have them working on the development of our digital chamber area. They always bring cake too :).

Nicole’s Wayfinder ideation

A big thanks goes out to Niyamal from Edinburgh University who for the past six weeks has been a dedicated volunteer, but now moves on to his first proper job down in the big smoke as an Environmental Consultant. Good luck Niyamal, and ‘hello’ to Rachel our new volunteer!

Pond by Niyamal Ali

Finally, more details to follow but we’re running an open day in the garden on Saturday 27th August 1130-6pm. We have Tim Ingold giving a talk; music; food and cocktails from garden produce; student exhibits, and garden tours. Watch this space.

Testing Nicole’s fountain

If you and/or your students would like to get involved with The Lions’ Gate please just drop me a line: callum.egan@napier.ac.uk