As part of its work the George Mackay Brown Fellowship has run a variety of residencies, appointing professional writers to work throughout Orkney’s communities. They have in their different ways helped stimulate innovative approaches to writing through community involvement and forging links with community groups, and by encouraging new writers and cross-collaborations with other creative disciplines.
In its early years, building on the success of previous creative writing residencies in Orkney, the GMB Fellowship appointed a professional writer to take up a year-long writing Fellowship based in Stromness Library. As well as working with writers of all ages and a wide range of interests, the Fellows appointed in 2007 and 2009 had dedicated time for their own writing.
In more recent years the Fellowship has delivered two short residencies.
In 2012, the Creative Minds Residency focused on creative writing for mental health, raising awareness of the power of writing to support and improve mental health, reducing anxiety, lessening isolation and challenging stigma.
In 2018 a Screen-writing Residency delivered in partnership with West Side Cinema introduced Orkney writers to the tools and techniques of writing for screen. It also allowed the course leaders time to work on their own writing during their time in Orkney.
Plans for a short residency in 2020/21 with a focus on memoir and biography have – temporarily we hope – been suspended.