Connecting Threads

Connecting Threads is the cultural strand of the landscape-scale project Destination Tweed. We connect creative practitioners with conservationists, environmentalists, scientists, river specialists and communities of place and purpose, to celebrate the River Tweed through our five-year programme of cultural activity.

Running through the south of Scotland into north Northumberland, the Tweed’s distinctive environments are rich with cultural heritage and contemporary creative practice. The river is a living presence through our towns and villages and reminds us that we are all part of something culturally and environmentally bigger than ourselves.

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River culture – what we do

‘River culture’ is the relationship we have with the river through the routines, rituals, traditions, beliefs, stories, music, industries and land management practices which connect us to it.

Working collaboratively with local groups, conservation and environmental organisations and the wider creative community, our activities vary in size, scale, duration, artistic content and ambitions. Through this multi-faceted, response and inclusive approach to programming, we invite communities and visitors to make deeper connections to the river environment and to each other.

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Throughout the year we invite creative practitioners to work with us, planning and delivering workshops designed to encourage engagement with the river.

River celebrations
We run social and activity-based events and gatherings on and alongside the river, to celebrate the Tweed. These include film screenings, concerts, art exhibitions, artist-led community walks and more.

We run a series of residencies annually, bringing socially and environmentally-engaged artists to the Tweed. Residencies may be focused on research or production, embedded in a community or river-related organisation.

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We are building an understanding of river culture along the River Tweed and developing ways to map this creative ecology. This website is part of the map – featuring artist interviews, critical and creative writing commissions, and explorations of how local stories connect to global questions.

During the life of the project we will run conferences focusing on river-related topics, encouraging stronger understanding of our place within the ecosystem of the Tweed.

River flowing with white water between trees and fields

The Tweed

The River Tweed emerges from boggy fields up in the Lowther hills, a sparsely populated area six miles north of Moffat. It progresses through open uplands, close to the A701, connecting the tiny farmland communities of Tweedsmuir, Drumelzier, Dawyck and Stobo.

As it flows on down into the Tweed Valley from Peebles to Tweedbank, the river becomes more enclosed, passing through steeper-sided hills, grazed by sheep or blanketed in Sitka spruce tree plantations. This area was once thick with textile mills, their loss having consequences for river communities that are still being dealt with today. As the land becomes more arable around Melrose and beyond, the river broadens out, moving swiftly and powerfully through the flat, open grain fields of Berwickshire, and into the North Sea.

The catchment area of the River Tweed is a landscape characterised by dense networks of burns, rivers and multiple river crossings. Connecting Threads is a catchment project: while focusing our activities on the Tweed, we also want to draw people in from beyond the river corridor and connect people up, down and across the river.

Destination Tweed

Connecting Threads is a Southern Uplands Partnership project. It is the cultural strand of Destination Tweed and is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Led by Tweed Forum, and developed in collaboration with Scottish Borders Council, a range of project partners and landowners, Destination Tweed features the creation of a 113-mile trail from Moffat, past the source of the Tweed nearby and on to Berwick-upon-Tweed where the river meets the sea. The multi-faceted initiative, which will see an investment of around £25 million in the area, also includes a wide range of cultural, river and landscape enhancement projects.

With thanks to our funders: National Lottery Heritage Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Creative Scotland, Hugh Fraser Foundation, Fallago Environment Fund, SSE Renewables and Scottish Government.

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