Nicky Bird

Peripheral Visions

Heritage Site (2014-2016)

This art and archaeology project works with the Five Sisters shale bings in West Calder and the story of Westwood House buried beneath. At the project’s heart is an Edwardian photographic postcard of the house and the memories of Isabella Mason Kirk, who once lived there.

Heritage Site was realised through Cycle 10 Alt-w Production Award and a series of essential collaborations. Members of the Calder History Group shared their knowledge of people, history and place. Artist Clara Ursitti created a pungent and evocative olfactory intervention working with speculative fiction and memory. From the Glasgow School of Art Stuart Jeffrey, Research Fellow in heritage visualisation, brought a background in archaeology, computer science and digital preservation. The initial creative work of Mike Marriott, artist and lecturer in Visualisation, formed the basis for the point cloud animations of house and bings, created by Clare Graham, a postgraduate student on the MSc in International Heritage Visualisation. Mike’s model also formed the basis for the 1:12 physical model, made by Kevin Thornton.

Heritage Site has brought together artists, heritage visualisation archaeologists and local community members to create a way of imaging what lies underground in both practical and metaphorical senses. It was exhibited in the show Alt-w, City Art Centre, Edinburgh Arts Festival, 2016.

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Alt-w | Heritage Site: From initial research to final exhibition


Heritage Site with Isabella Mason Kirk from Nicky Bird on Vimeo.

Short video documentation of the Heritage Site installation, and audio extract of Isabella Mason Kirk's story of living in Westwood House in the 1930s


Heritage Site: Animation, 2016 from Nicky Bird on Vimeo.

Animation by Clare Graham, MSc International Heritage Visualisation, Glasgow School of Art, 2016


Heritage Site, 2016

Photographic postcard, photographer R.Braid c.1910
C-type photograph on Dibond, 40 x 135cm
1:12 scale House model
1:12 scale Room furniture
3 scents
Audio 11.53 minutes
Digital Animation 1.40 minutes


Supported by:

New Media Scotland’s Alt-w Fund with investment from Creative Scotland
School of Simulation and Visualisation, The Glasgow School of Art


Thanks to:

Mark Daniels, Executive Director, New Media Scotland
Isabella Mason Kirk & her family
Shelagh Steele, Davie Rennie & Alan Tuffs
Tommy Stuart