Berwick’s new artist in residence Katie Davies introduced herself to the town she’ll be calling home for the next six months at a talk in The Maltings.
A captive audience gathered to hear her explain why she was in Berwick; what she plans to do with her time here; and to show some of her previous work and how it tied in with her job at hand.
That job is to produce a film for the upcoming Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival as the event celebrates its 10th birthday.
The theme for this year’s celebration of moving art is ‘Border Crossing’ and coincidentally Katie’s finished film will debut on the same day that Scottish people go to the polls for the much talked about independence referendum.
Introducing Katie to a crowd which included local councillors, film festival sponsors and fellow artists, film festival director Melanie Iredale said Katie’s background and body of work was the perfect fit for this year’s theme and she was the best of the many applicants who applied for the artist in residence position.
One of Katie’s previous films concerned itself with the repatriation ceremonies at Wootten Bassett, where the bodies of fallen soldiers would travel by cortège through the streets of the town to its war memorial.
The touching footage struck a chord with many in the audience but others questioned what it has to do with borders, to which Katie explained that to her a border didn’t necessarily have to be geographical or structural but in other cases, like Wootten Bassett’s, it was formed due to the repetition of a practice.
Katie was also pressed on whether, given the timing of its premiere, whether her project for the film festival would have any political slant.
Her response was that it would be foolish to ignore the impending referendum, particularly given the theme of this year’s festival, but she would be more concerned with the collective feeling of Berwick to either outcome rather than trying to force her own preferences onto people, adding that she too had yet to make up her mind on whether Scottish independence was a good thing or not.
Katie has already begun work on her film, showing a preview of some of the footage she took during the May Day Riding of the Bounds.