December 3, 2023

CRITIQUE Seasonal Session Winter on a Mountain – 21 December 2023, 11:00

Mountain event

SUMMARY: This year’s Winter on a Mountain event takes place on Thursday, 21 December 2023 in Holyrood Park. Unlike most seminar-type events, we convene outdoors. This solstice-eve, we critically discuss mountain-focused ecological philosophy and try to embrace the perturbations of place-based thinking. We are thrilled to have special guest, Dr Claire Duncanson, joining us as this event’s invited provocateur.

THEMES: For this session, we read about the intrepid Scottish mountaineer and writer, Nan Shepherd, and think about the following questions: what does it mean to belong to a place, and who gets to enjoy the privilege? how do feminist ways of responding to the nonhuman world trouble long-standing assumptions about the mastery of nature? how we can think with our bodies, e.g., by walking? and, what does Shepherd mean when she declares that “the mountain has an inside”?

SIGNING UP: We limit the group size to 20 and signing up is mandatory. Please CLICK HERE to register on Eventbrite.

GETTING THERE: Meet outside the Chrystal Macmillam Building at 11:00, after which we will walk together to St Margaret’s Loch (1.6 miles, approx 40 mins). Alternatively, attendees can meet at the loch at 11:30. Contact information is provided below to co-ordinate.

PLEASE BRING: Warm clothes! Note that after 45 minutes we will move to Cafe at the Palace and attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a hot drink.

STRUCTURE: All interested in critical ecological reflection are welcome to join, no special expertise is required. We have a group discussion, pair chat, and solo walking-thinking.

PRE-READING: Please read Robert MacFarlane’s Introduction (2011) to Nan Shepherd’s book, The Living Mountain (link to 12-page library listing). Those short on time can skip the start and begin on page 11 with the sentence “The Cairngorms were my first mountain range…”

SPECIAL GUEST: Dr Claire Duncanson, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at University of Edinburgh (link to academic profile)

ORGANISERS: Seasonal Sessions are mini-fieldtrips organised by the Environmental Working Group, under the aegis of CRITIQUE, and supported by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network (EEHN).

CONTACT: Grace Garland (, +44(0)77 4609 8008).