Art & Science Converge at the Festival of Deep Time

In Orkney, Niamh directs the Deep Time Festival, with events that bring together ideas from geology, paleoecology, natural history, poetry & storytelling.

The Festival of Deep Time brings together researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Brunel, Glasgow, University College London and Falmouth's very own Niamh Downing who is Principal Investigator on the project. The Festival will take place over three days from 21st to 23rd April 2017 at the Pier Arts Centre, and in and around Stromness.

The Pier Arts Centre is open Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am – 5.00pm. You can drop into Niamh's workshop anytime from 2pm-4pm on Saturday 22nd. For all other events please book a place at the Pier Arts Centre 01856 850209. All events are free and further details can be found at More information about the ‘Beside the Ocean of Time’ project can be found at

We’re delighted to be hosting the Deep Time Festival at The Pier Arts Centre which is an ideal space in which to bring together reflections on the human experience of Deep Time from a range of artistic and scientific perspectives.
— Niamh Downing

The Festival kicks off at 7pm on Friday 21 April with a talk by anthropologist Richard Irvine on the work of poet and natural historian, Robert Rendall. This is followed by a wine reception and exhibition preview.

On Saturday 22 April there will be a workshop at the Pier Arts Centre about landscape change in the past, present and future, with geologist Carina Fearnley, and paleoecologist, Lourdes López-Merino, and a drop-in workshop for families inspired by the work of filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait.

From 7-9pm on Saturday, the ‘Deep Time in a Glass’ event explores the stratigraphy of peat through all the senses, with participation from Highland Park distillery. Join the final day of the Festival on Sunday 23 April, for a walk with the research team and artist Anne Bevan along the West Shore, exploring how deep time is part of our everyday lives.

This event is followed by an evening of stories about the changing identity of the islands through its archaeology, with archaeologists Jane Downes and Tony Krus.