Posing Questions on an Urban Seascape

Scotland's north and west coasts are internationally renowned and revered. So much so, that their spectacular sea lochs, long white sands, dramatic cliffs and idyllic islands have become iconic symbols of the country's coast.

But Scotland also has a vibrant history of altogether different kind of coastline - stretches that here I am going to call, her Urban Seascapes.

Coastword Festival has, this year, done me the honour of inviting me to be their (song)writer in residence. This residency takes place in the coastal town of Dunbar in East Lothian, where I will pay regular writing visits for one full year. The only brief I have been given is to be inspired by the area as a place to work.

Questions around the relationship between people and their environment have been a constant theme in my writing over the years - how do we engage with the world around us? What affects can it have on the way we live and why? And what affects do we have on it?

The Firth of Forth - that great river mouth at the edge of which Dunbar is situated - has for hundreds of years been a home, a hunting ground, a place to welcome visiting ships or defend ourselves from those less welcome. It has carried cargo, oil, oysters, emigrants, immigrants. It has worked its way into the songs and literature of its people.

But how do we engage with the Firth of Forth in 2016? What kind of relationship do we have with this Urban Seascape now?

Armed with my portable recorder, notebook and shruti box, these are just some of the questions I look forward to exploring in year to come, seeing what new songs they will inspire.