The Cairngorms Kist: A Commonplace Book of the Cairngorms in 2023

A collaboration between Endangered Landscape Artists in Residence, Elizabeth Reeder and Amanda Thomson, Cairngorms Connect and people who live or work in or visit the Cairngorms.


Together, we will create a Commonplace Book for the Cairngorms in 2023, out of submissions from anyone who wants to write down or photograph or draw something of this place that they’d like to share with others.  People in the Cairngorms will then have the opportunity to create a Commonplace Book every 10 years or so that can help mark changes in ecologies, people, communities and hopes.


What is a Commonplace Book?

Writings, images and documents collected by a gathering of people to show a place at a particular time. They could be considered scrapbooks or like a Scottish Kist – where things that are valued are communicated to and kept for future generations. Traditionally they’ve held recipes, a record of plants in the area, details of walks or places, lists of residents or land registries, folktales of a place, and other documents that give an understanding of a place.  Sometimes they were bound, sometimes they were gathered into a folder or a box. Ours will be held in a box and we will also produce digital iterations.


What can submissions look like? 

Each person can submit one A4 sheet of paper – one side or both sides – that can contain writing, images, or collaged elements.  You can submit whatever, to you, communicates something of this place as it has been before, as it is now, as you hope it will be in the future.  


Wondering where to start?

What would you like our future generations to know? What would you like to be remembered? We've prepared a workbook with prompts to help capture some of your thoughts, memories, and feelings about this place. Download it here.

We’re having an informal drop in on Friday the 8th of December from 3–7 pm for us to come together and create or finish our contributions to the Commonplace Book. Find out more here! 


Who can submit something to go into the Commonplace Book? 

Anyone who lives or works here, or visitors who want to write about or show the Cairngorms as they’ve experienced them. We ask that any piece submitted pertains to a place within the Cairngorms Connect area.


What will happen to the submissions?

We will collect hard copies into a bespoke box (a kist of sorts) that will be archived with Cairngorms Connect or a local resource.  We will create digital copies of all submissions that will be available to view online, and print off 2-3 copies that can travel and be shared.


How do I submit?


You can upload your entry by using our online form. Uploads can be up to 1GB in size and can be an image file (photograph, scan, etc), PDF, word document.

Click this link to upload.

If you are having difficulty uploading your entry, you can also email it to us at but please make sure to fill out the submission form (see the link below) and include it in your email.


You can send your submission to the Cairngorms Connect Office. Please print and fill out the submission form and include it with your entry when you post it to us, otherwise we might not be able to use your entry. You will also be able to pick up a copy of the submission form if you attend one of our Commonplace Book events.

Click here for the submission form. 

Address: Cairngorms Kist Submission, Cairngorms Connect Offices, Achantoul, Aviemore, PH22 1QD


In Person

Come along to our drop in event on Friday, 8th of December, to create, finish, and hand in your submission in person. Find out more here.



Make sure to submit your piece by the 31st of December 2023.


Finally, A Celebration:

In early 2024 we will celebrate the launch of The Cairngorms Kist Commonplace Book! More details will be shared nearer the time.


About the Artists:

Elizabeth Reeder is a writer whose novel An Archive of Happiness was longlisted for the Highland Book Prize (2021). Her work explores ideas of identity, community, home and place. She runs workshops on a range of subjects and is a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Originally from the States and having lived in Scotland for over 25 years, Elizabeth loves having a hybrid relationship to places.

Amanda Thomson is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Her artwork and creative non-fiction are often about the Highlands and notions of home, movements, migrations, landscapes and the natural world. Her doctoral studies included fieldwork with the RSPB in Abernethy Forest. She lectures at Glasgow School of Art and is author of A Scots Dictionary of Nature and belonging: natural histories of place, identity and home.



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