J a n e t M c E w a n
Moray Waste Busters, Forres, Scotland. 2004.
In 2004, to co-incide with the first round of Moray Council's Kerbside waste collection service, Moray Waste Busters invited me to Forres, to help develop and deliver a project which would help to raise awareness about this significant initiative by the local authority, and also hopefully stimulate discussion around the complexities of waste management and the sustainability of aspects of our current lifestyles.
Moray Waste Busters is an award winning community recycling resource based at the Moray Council's Civic Amenity site, near Forres in the north east of Scotland. In 2004 it was arguably one of the most forward thinking projects in Scotland, with large composting wormery, recycling centre for household goods and extensive environmental education programme, aimed at local community groups and institutions.
The heart of the project was an exhibition in the Falconer Museum, located in the centre of Forres Town, with images and objects from the local landfill site shown alongside the midden
Anne Owen, the Museum's Outreach and Interpration Officer, gives her impression of the exhibition:-
'The installation was a new and different use of the museum space. It highlighted both the flexibility of the building and the interest, both locally and from further afield in both contemporary art and environmental issues. It was thought provoking and sparked a lot of memories - one lady recalling polishing their floors on a Tuesday with ‘Mansion House’ polish; one gentleman identifying bicycle manufacturers from the remains of a seat; one little boy talking about how his father still uses traditional sheep shears whilst shearing his sheep…
Ideas and questions about our value systems, what we keep and what we discard, what materials remain and what disintegrates were also introduced. All who worked in the museum enjoyed conversation and debate with visitors that the exhibition generated and visitors seemed to feel involved with the display and the museum. Any negative or fearful reactions ‘but is it art?’ were generally diffused after a short interpretation of the exhibition was offered. However for some folk ‘Contemporary Art’ will never be their cup of tea.
The partners in the project worked hard to create a successful 5 week programme of talks, exhibitions and workshops. It was wonderful to have the funding to manage to plan and fulfil such an ambitious programme.
This was an exciting new use of the space that appealed to every age. The exhibition’s messages were delivered in a non-didactic way and people could take from it a number of different things - not least it’s beauty. It was visually exciting and enjoyable, educational, creative, thought provoking and inspiring.
So much of our lifestyle is sanitised and removed from our environment, it’s good to get back to the basics. Ultimately what we throw out and what we keep says a lot about our society, just as it has done throughout the ages.
It was a pleasure to take part in the ‘Landfull’ event.'