Walking together into a better future 

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The soundwalk Tayport in 2030 is the cumulation of decades of community activism in the small town of Tayport, in Fife, Scotland. The walk offers inspiration for conversations and co-operation in future planning as Tayport residents imagine a planet- and people-friendly 2030. 

Many people and organisations were involved in the making of Tayport in 2030 but the following three individuals contributed the most to bringing the story to life as a sound walk:

Kaska Hempel  coordinated community contributions and produced the piece, helped with text edits, and supported contributions from the young creative practitioner, Zoe Swann.
Kathleen Gray participated in community visioning and provided a creative summary of the ideas for the tour narrative.
Zoe Swann produced the audio with help from voice actor, Taylor Dyson, and created the tour images, as part of her work in CULTIVATE project, Creative Dundee.

Tayport in 2030 is one of the shortlisted pieces in the Sound Walk September Awards 2022. Here, they provides some context to their work.


Fertile Ground

Tayport is rooted on the banks of the estuary of the river Tay in Scotland.  It is a post-industrial town between affluent St Andrews and the up-and-coming city of Dundee. It has had its challenges, like many a small Scottish town: high street businesses closing, cuts in transport links, the loss of services – banks, police station, post office.  It tends to get overlooked and yet today’s Tayport sustains a robust community spirit, a quiet historic pride, and a connection to nature in the stunning landscape setting.

Recently the community has been drawing on this love for the place and each other to face yet another looming and seemingly intractable challenge – the climate crisis.

You will notice the word story appears a lot in this article because, here in Tayport, we believe in the power of stories; the stories we tell about ourselves, our past and our future.

Let us share the story of how Tayport in 2030 walking tour came to be.

Planting the Seeds

Tayport’s climate journey started 10 years ago when a group of residents had the dream of creating a community garden in Tayport. They formed People Learning About Nature in Tayport (PLANT), consulted, campaigned and fundraised and a garden was created from a field. Today, it’s a thriving hub where folk come to grow food and share stories. A place where we can connect with nature and consider ways our community can be kinder to our planet. 

During the difficult COVID pandemic lockdowns, a dream was hatched for a Climate Festival with the aim of moving out of isolation and into future possibilities for hope and regeneration. We designed it to link in with COP26 climate talks – which were taking place in Glasgow that year – and coinciding with activities for Climate Fringe Festival in September 2021 across communities. Our festival was a great success, and it brought together all the amazing individuals and organisations which make Tayport such a wonderful place to live – community centres, churches, community choirs and performers, sports clubs, local charity shop, businesses, primary school, nature organisations, activists and more!
The sun shone and local folk came to share and connect with the art, music, workshops, talks and sheer good fun the weekend had to offer (you can watch our fest video here). It was a time to reclaim relationships with each other and to stand in solidarity with others around the world in the hope that leaders would take grassroots activism seriously. 

Germination

Following on from this celebration, the community came together again one Saturday in November 2021, to explore and collaborate on what a future Tayport might look like. Rob Hopkins, in his seminal book, From What Is to What If, speaks about “unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want”.  And that’s exactly what we did!  There was such a buzz, a curiosity, an excitement among the conversations. 

Folk asked questions, shared ideas, and imagined how their town could evolve sustainably and practically. There was a creche and the thoughts of the youngest citizens were included with play spaces high on the agenda – quite rightly! The stories told that day were inclusive, considered and it ended beautifully with a shared, plant-based meal.  

Growth

So, what next? The ideas from this day were collated and transformed to give them substance and a narrative that we can refer to. Community members devised a commentary pooled from suggestions; graphics were included and the talents of a local sound recordist all came together to produce a resource for the people of Tayport to refer to, time and time again. Our story, of our future town.
Without the stories, it is hard to keep the vision and focus alive.  

Blossoming

The Tayport 2030 audio walk takes you physically to several key spots in Tayport and invites you to immerse yourself in a world of possibilities. Some of the dreams are for…

  • A forest garden filled with wildlife. 
  • The monoculture of the nearby forest replanted with indigenous trees and fauna.
  • A litter free shore line.
  • ‘Green’ buses and plenty of bike lanes.
  • A tool share.
  • Intergenerational housing.
  • A forest school. 
  • Solar panels and wind farms for an independent energy supply.
  • Plastic free shops.
  • Regenerative agriculture in the surrounding land and pesticide free air.  
  • Not forgetting those all-important adventure playgrounds.

There is an emphasis on egalitarianism throughout the tour. Tayport citizens are good neighbours in the broadest sense: to each other; to the elders; to the most vulnerable; to the soil and the biosphere. Care is a watch word, but so, too, is enjoyment. The walk allows time together for leisure and, as we would say in Scotland, to blether.  

Ripening

But the story doesn’t end here.  Chapters keep being added. Our town is now holding a monthly Climate Café (Instagram, Facebook) to mull over the ideas captured in the Tayport 2030 audio walk. The most recent presentation was: Tips and Help on Making your Home more Energy Efficient, with a speaker from a local environmental network. 

Our next meeting is called: Stories of Change – the history of the river Tay and there will also be a talk from a local resident on a Citizen Water Watch Programme. We have discussed a retrofit insulation plan and we are now busy planning the programme for 2023. The café is an opportunity to bring to life the thoughts and dreams of our neighbourhood.

Harvesting

Tayport 2030 audio walk has been followed by local councillors and our MSP (member of the Scottish Parliament) who are keen to hear more about our work. It is being used by SCCAN (Scottish Communities Climate Action Network) as an example of community storytelling which shows that awakening the imagination can bring about change so urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Visitors and tourist to our town have listened to the Tayport 2030 audio walk and visualised with us. Our Primary School children will, we hope, soon be getting their own Tayport 2030 audio walk after their art work and discussions showed how ingenious, innovative and resourceful these youngsters are. 
They are invested in their future and keen for their ideas to be heard and shared.

Fruit

The Tayport 2030 audio walk is a reference point, a touch stone, when energies flag or enthusiasm wans. We go back to the stories on the guide and remind ourselves of our identity and ambitions. It is an essential part of our toolkit as the town moves forward, facing ever greater challenges, with resilience and grace.


This text is the sixth in a series of the artists shortlisted for the Sound Walk September 2022 Awards talking about their work.

Kaska Hempel

Kaska Hempel is a community podcaster and SCCAN Story Weaver passionate about sharing inspiring stories of grassroots climate action and helping others to do so. She has been involved in climate action and communication for over 7 years. She has been produ...

Kathleen Gray

Kathleen Gray

I enjoy creative writing and poetry. I have been involved with PLANT as a volunteer blogger and have some experience of working with PLANT Voices podcast. I wrote the script for Tayport in 2030 walking tour, based on the summary of ideas from the Visioning...

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