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Open Call

Nonfiction Nature Writing/Poetry Workshop Leader Commission

Health of the Sublime in the Mearns

Deadline extended to Sunday 5th, June, 2022, 11pm

Health of the Sublime in the Mearns.JPG

Nonfiction nature writer or poet sought to deliver writing workshops on the lived experience of wellbeing and the sublime in the natural world.


Lead artist Carrie Fertig has partnered with Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network (MCHLN) to bring a programme of arts activity to their clients, volunteers, and staff. The remit of MCHLN is to support the wellbeing of people age 50+ in Kincardenshire and the Mearns. Clients range in age from early 50s to early nineties.


Health of the Sublime in the Mearns is a two-year project focusing on the lived experience of wellbeing and the sublime in the natural world and the direct threat to that lived experience posed by climate change. In year one project outcomes include an interactive map of artworks generated by participants on their lived experience of wellbeing and the sublime in the natural world, online, in VR, and in a physical manifestation. In year two, an overlaying map of additional artworks will be made focusing on how that lived experience of wellbeing and the sublime is threatened by climate change.


The writing or poetry workshops are an integral part of this two-year project. The aim is to help focus on the experience of wellbeing and the sublime in the natural world and express it creatively through words, audio, video, sculpture, and virtual reality. Health of the Sublime in the Mearns addresses social isolation, climate crisis, rurality, equalities, inclusion, diversity, and digital disenfranchisement through a two-year programme of creative activity. The first year of this project is supported by Creative Scotland.


The project hopes to foster skills to heighten awareness of wellbeing in the natural world so participants can access those feelings more often, in the natural world and outwith it; to bring new means of connection between clients, staff, and volunteers of MCHLN and the wider community focusing on our individual and shared experiences of the world and our interdependence with each other and the planet; to empower each participant with respect for, to have confidence in, and value their distinct voice and experience by helping participants develop multiple expressive skills, including self-critical assessment, as well as digital skills, and multiple methods of sharing that voice and experience with other participants and more widely.



Fee: £1892.50


The fee paid is £1892.50, based on Scottish Artist Union rates 5 years + experience. There will be three cohorts of seven weeks each. In each week, one two-hour session will be delivered @£37.85 per hour. The fee also covers one day of admin @£302.80. The fee has been figured thus:


£37.85 per hours SAU hourly rate years+

2 hour blocks weekly 2 x £37.85 = 75.70

£75.70 x 7 week block = 529.90

£529.90 x 3 seven week blocks =£1589.70

1 day admin £302.80

302.80 = £1589.70 = £1892.50


The three seven week cohorts are:

June 27th - August 12th, 2022

August 29th - October 14th, 2022

January 16 - March 6th, 2023


Fee disbursement:

June 23rd,  2022 £832.70

October 7th, 2022 £529.90

March 17th, 2023 £529.90

There is flexibility as to which day of the week the workshops take place, but keeping carbon footprint to a minimum is aided by piggybacking on services and clubs already provided by MCHLN. Most of these happen Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays. Delivery is expected to be mainly in person, may include time outdoors, based on mobility of each cohort, and may partially be delivered over Zoom. It is anticipated that one seven-week workshop will be repeated three times with different participants for each cohort.


We seek a nonfiction nature writer or poet for whom the project resonates, experienced in nonfiction workshops, who can help build skills, confidence in one’s own lived experience of wellbeing in the natural world, and the ability to express that in nonfiction nature writing or poetry, within a group that may have no nature writing experience. We are looking for a workshop leader who will accompany the participants into nature and expect some writing to happen outdoors. Writing workshops to include discussion of the sublime in the natural world, examples Nan Shepherd, Robert Macfarlane, etc…, writing exercises and work developed over time.

Writer/Poet Criteria


Ÿ Ability to create a welcoming, safe, and positive environment for sharing of stories and ideas

Ÿ Experience of leading non-fiction nature writing/poetry workshops

Ÿ Experience of leading writing/poetry workshops with people with protected characteristics


The ideal candidate lives in Kincardineshire or the Mearns, but we will consider writers/poets further afield, however there are no additional funds for travel.

Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network will pay for a disclosure check to be performed.


Please email Carrie Fertig by 11pm Sunday 5th June, 2022 deadline for submissions @ with:



Ÿ One chapter non-fiction nature writing or video link up to 5 minutes long or 5 poems

Ÿ Description of how you would approach these workshops, and your workshop experience with vulnerable adults.1 page A4 max.


Call for entries opens May 19th, 2022 and closes Sunday 11pm 5th June, 2022.

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed via zoom week of 6th June, 2022.

Provisional contract awarded 8th June, pending outcome of PVG check.


Carrie Fertig and Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network recognise the unique skills of writers/poets working in communities and actively encourage proposals from writers/poets with intersectional lived experiences of isolation, rurality, income inequality or social exclusion of any kind. We particularly welcome proposals from disabled artists, artists of the Global Ethnic Majority, older artists, LGBTQ+ artists and/or refugee/migrant artists.


For further information, contact Carrie Fertig


Learn more about the project here:

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