Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time

Saturday February 3rd, 2018 2 pm

Meeting Place: Ross Fountain, located in West Princes St. Gardens, Edinburgh.

Please dress for the weather and wear walking shoes.

The concept of ‘Deep time’ was developed by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726-1797), and coined as a term by the American author John McPhee. Hutton posited that geological features were shaped by sedimentation and erosion, a process that required timescales much grander that the arc of human history. Deep time displaces the human from conceptualizations of time, while the current crisis of the Anthropocene alarmingly re-centres it.

WalkingLab’s event: Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time unsettles such understandings of time, investigating other ways of ‘thinking-with’ time, that entangles geos, bios, and Land. Queering Deep Time, performs as a walking tour through the city of Edinburgh, rupturing linear time through ‘pop up lectures,’ performances, and artistic interventions. The walk considers time as out of joint, relational, and material.

Presentations by:

  • David Farrier, University of Edinburgh, The North Sea’s Future Fossils
  • Toby Sharp and Heather Mclean, University of Glasgow, Toby Sharp’s Edinburgh City Whisperer Tour, accompanied by Baron Farquarson and Lou Dear, University of Glasgow
  • Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez, Glasgow, Seed Year
  • Al McGowan, Edinburgh Geologist, Fish Fossils
  • WalkingLab, Queering Time – Walking-with

Stone Walks Edinburgh: Queering Deep Time is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and supported by the Centre for Creative Relational Inquiry, University of Edinburgh. For more information and descriptions of the pop up lectures and artistic interventions please visit: Contact:


Descriptions and Bios

David Farrier, University of Edinburgh, The North Sea’s Future Fossils

David Farrier is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of  Edinburgh. He has two books on deep time coming out in 2019: Anthropocene Poetics: Deep Time, Sacrifice Zones and Extinction will be published by the University if Minnesota Press; and Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils will be published by 4th Estate and Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The proposal for Footprints won the Royal Society of Literature’s Giles St Aubyn Award for non-fiction in 2017.

Heather Mclean, University of Glasgow, Toby Sharp’s Edinburgh City Whisperer Tour

Come explore Edinburgh with Toby, the urban city whisperer. As part of his global Toby Talk series, Professor Sharp of the Sharp Planetary Hub of Cross Pollination and Regeneration invites WalkingLab participants to join him in a collective and collaborative mobile investigation into urban regeneration in this historic city. Learn about the cross-pollination that happens every year at the Edinburgh Fringe and exciting new projects taking place in Leith including BAWBAG, a collaborative community sandwich building /yarn bombing hub. Envision possibilities for more participatory, competitive and market-friendly planning and re-development with IT companies and banks.  And learn about Toby’s INNOV_REIKI tool-kit (Reiki in auld Reekie), strategies for re-directing our energies into more resilient, creative and market-friendly community arts projects. Let’s bring a buzz to our collective hub!

Heather Mclean’s research links critical urban geography and queer and feminist theory with action research practices in the areas of cultural policy and urban artistic interventions. She examines how culture-led regeneration and ‘creative city’ strategies ‘revamp’ cities for investment, arguing that a private sector-friendly framing of culture routinely degrades urban cultural ecologies by excluding non-profit and artist-run organisations; especially spaces that support underrepresented artists of colour, women artists, and radical activist practice. Analysing the connections between culture-led regeneration planning, cuts to public services, and public space activism in Toronto and Glasgow especially, she draws on intersectional and praxis-oriented feminist geography to explore how grassroots community arts organisations challenging market and bureaucratic structures catalyse their own forms of engagement. Heather is an Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leader based at the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.

Heather’s alter-ego character Toby Sharp is a homage to the planning consultants she encountered when she was employed as a community planner in Toronto. In this work, Heather often had to work with a confident cadre of well-dressed, white male urban experts spearheading and overseeing “creative” regeneration strategies. These men consistently seemed to lack any awareness of the structural causes of poverty and the gender, race and class implications of regeneration projects removing low income, disabled and racialized communities, as well as seniors and single parents out of neighbourhoods to make space for arts facilities catering to middle class professionals. Heather has performed Toby as part of Dirty Plotz, a feminist cabaret born out of what performance artist and theorist refers to as “induced inventiveness…a tactical culture of collaboration” (Cowan, 2017).

Lou Dear is a writer and researcher based in Glasgow. They are currently Research Assistant in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. Lou’s interests include colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, decolonisation and education, queer performance, and creative writing.

Baron Farquarson is Professor of Organic Corporation Engineering and Chancellor of the University of Strathbane. He appeared with Professor Toby Sharp at the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Conference 2017 where they discussed, among other topics, the future of the feminism and the university / arms industry.

Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez, Seed Year

Seed Year is a project consisting of 525 figurines made up of modular plastic 3D-printed, clay hand-modeled and raw mineral parts. Working from Nahua indigenous concepts on Land and temporality, the project engages in advancing a material and discursive vocabulary on ‘time regimes’ – creating artworks that hint at how non-linear ‘time regimes’ are mixed in with our relationship to the Land. In this regard, Seed Year calls for remembering all of our histories by hinting at the existence of a particular ‘time regime’ beginning from the year 1492, that we shall count in Gregorian Calendar years. The project offers a representation for each year occurred to ask ourselves how we each account for the way we experienced this particular time lapse; What is happening inside those years that escape our memory or even in those years that we are familiar with?

Rodrigo Hernandez-Gomez is an artist born in Axochco, Mexico City. He currently lives and works in Glasgow.

WalkingLab (Stephanie Springgay & Sarah E. Truman), Queering Time – Walking-with

WalkingLab’s walking lecture will examine the relationship between walking and time. Counter to understandings of time as a moving forward, as progress narratives and accelerationism, queer time unravels linear models of futurity, disrupting the idea that the future will simply replace the past. Queer time unsettles the normative historicity associated with time. Here time is out of joint, it flexes, is stretchable and speculative. Walking-with as an event of queer time is a form of solidarity, unlearning, and critical engagement with situated knowledges. Walking-with demands that we forgo universal claims about how humans and non-humans experience walking, and consider more-than-human ethics and politics of walking.