Gerry is a poet, musician and photographer with considerable interests in print design and typography. He is the founder editor of The Dark Horse international poetry magazine. An accomplished harmonica player, he occasionally plays as part of a duo with the Scottish singer-songwriter Neil Thomson. On Eigg, he and fellow tutor Kenny Taylor (a guitarist), are often keen to develop tunes and songs. Visit Gerry's website to find out more about some of these things.
In October 2006 he was the Scottish Poetry Library's first ever "virtual poet". His daily blog, a week in the life of a poet, can be seen here.
Gerry was a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Edinburgh for 2006-2009, where he was based part-time in the Schools of Biological Sciences and of Physics. He was the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University, based part-time in the Department of Cultural Business, for 2010-2011.
Since 1997, Gerry has led and conducted hundreds of writing workshops all over Scotland, from Shetland in the north to Kirkcudbright in the south, and even on the deck of a reconditioned trawler sailing the inner Hebrides as part of the SpeyGrian project in summer 2003.
Gerry has stayed on Eigg many times in the past five years, including as a Creative Connections tutor. Coupled with his many different skills in writing, photography and music, that local knowledge makes his workshops fun, informative and full of surprise.
Kenny is a Black-Isle-based writer, lecturer, broadcaster and musician. Like Gerry Cambridge, he was on the very first SpeyGrian canoe journey in 2000 and has been a popular tutor on all the land-based Creative Connections courses since 2006. You can see his blog for Historic Scotland here.
His enthusiasm for variety of wildlife and cultures has taken him on research and media-project travels throughout Britain and Ireland and to southern and central Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, the U.S. and Africa. His work is inspired by diverse sources, including folklore, music, natural and local history and science.
He has written more than ten hardcover and softcover books, is a frequent contributor to BBC Wildlife Magazine and has been on three assignments to date for National Geographic. Kenny has appeared in and presented many broadcasts and scripted 16 wildlife films, principally for the BBC, including scripts for Peter Capaldi, Geoffrey Palmer and David Attenborough.
As an activist, he has been centrally involved in campaigns about the Cairngorms, the community-linked buy-out of Eigg and GM crop trials in the Highlands. An honorary research fellow of the University of Aberdeen, he also chairs the Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Project and the organising group for the Black Isle Words Festival. One of his most recent projects was a challenge from Historic Scotland to visit all of their island-based properties (roughly 80 of them) to photograph and write a blog about the journeys.
Kenny's knowledge of Eigg, its community and Hebridean wildlife is extensive. He is an ideal guide on walks and leader of discussions about issues and opportunities created by a visit here.
Tania has national and international experience of teaching a wide range of ages and abilities. Keen on outdoor activities and learning, she is the Eco Schools and Social Studies Network Co-ordinator for West Lothian and has been involved with SpeyGrian, both as a course participant and Trustee, for five years.
Tania completed her Philosophy/Psychology degree at the University of Edinburgh before moving abroad. She spent a few years in Portugal, where she trained to become a TEFL teacher, then travelled to Indonesia where she lived for 2½ years teaching English language to children and adults. On return to Scotland she lived and worked as a house parent in a school for fragile children before training at Edinburgh University’s School of Education to be a Primary school teacher. This led to her joining the staff of Low Port Primary School over six years ago.
Having grown up in the countryside, Tania has always loved the outdoors, and now enjoys activities such as mountain biking, skiing and kayaking. Her own childhood experiences, including at a village school, have made her keen to give pupils the chance for similar enjoyment throughout their school careers. She is responsible for managing the Eco Committee at Low Port, a school which has attained 3rd Green Flag status and is presently applying for its 4th award. In her West Lothian Network Coordinator role, she organises CPD, runs training sessions and coordinates sharing good practice visits for teachers in the Primary sector.
After being a participant on the Creative Connections course on Eigg in 2007, Tania was inspired by what she learned and experienced to make changes in both her personal and professional life. She has regularly attended networking weekends and would class many of the people she has met over the years through SpeyGrian as not just colleagues or acquaintances, but as creative, interesting and inspirational friends. Tania became a trustee and secretary of the organisation in 2009.
Susan Smith MFA
Susan studied fine art at Edinburgh College of Art in the late 1970s, followed by teacher training at Murray House and from there went on to work at the Garvald Training Centre in Edinburgh. While there, she worked with adolescents with special needs, taught and learned weaving, pottery, woodwork and furniture restoration and ran the training centre's craft shop, the Mulberry Bush. She also actively volunteered at this time for the Lothian Conservation Corps and the Scottish Wildlife Trust and in her spare time trained to be an Iyengar Yoga teacher!
A move to West Lothian in the 1990s started her involvement in teaching community art classes for the local council. She also set up independent community groups, including Greenpark Weavers (an off-loom weaving group), a woman and health group, an after-school childrens' art class and Iyengar Yoga classes. Currently, she is still involved with community art, primary school art teaching, Greenpark Weavers and Yoga teaching.
Over the last two years, Susan has started exhibiting and selling her own work and has become a member of the Dunfermline Print Makers' Workshop. She is strongly influenced by the environment in her own work and teaching, spending her spare time out of doors interpreting what she sees with pencil, pen, ink, oil pastels and paint - in all weathers! Yoga practice and teaching provides the stamina and inner strength for an energetic life-style.
You can see Susan's website here.