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Installation shines light on Jedburgh’s past

Visitors to Jedburgh Castle Jail can explore the site with a difference during September when the unique Light Years project reimagines personal histories, tales left by people of the past combined with star lore and myths of the constellations.

Light Years is part of the Borders Heritage Festival (BHF) Lighting the Borders event, delivered by Live Borders in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the Borders Heritage Forum. The installation by artists Sue Scowcroft and James Wyness explores the deep and evocative history of the Jail as well as the human and social heritage of Jedburgh.

Visitors will be invited to follow a star chart, superimposed on the ground plan of the castle, which maps out twelve locations around the Jail and grounds. At these locations, the visitor will find short poetic stories, intimate sharings and reflections left behind by visitors to the site from ancient and recent history.

The star chart honours the work of the 18th and 19th Century 'Borders Enlightenment' scientists who were born or based in Jedburgh and whose lives and works are illustrated in the Castle Jail displays.

Light Years creators Sue Scowcroft and James Wyness told us "We wanted to create a contemporary installation that would be accessible yet engaging, encouraging viewers to look beyond the obvious.

“These text-based works aim to show the inherent visual beauty of written communication across the ages and beyond into the future."

The installation, supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding, will be launched on Friday, September 1 from 7-9.30pm when visitors can meet the artists, explore the installation and experience the floodlight illumination display as part of BHF’s Lighting the Borders event programme. This is an open, free event which will be in place for the whole of September.

Live Borders Museum Curator Shona Sinclair added: “We are delighted to be part of the Borders Heritage Festival and Lighting the Borders event programme. 

Using the history of Jedburgh’s famous sons and daughter to develop an art installation will give visitors a different experience of both the museum and of the people it celebrates.

It is perhaps not widely known that some of the best-known scientists and academics of the late 18th and early 19th century had strong connections to Jedburgh, including celebrated astronomer James Veitch (1771-1838) and mathematician Mary Somerville (1780-1872).

Lighting the Borders, funded by Event Scotland, has been designated a signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The Light Years project is one of 11 taking place throughout the region over the next two months

Jedburgh Castle Jail & Museum, Castlegate, Jedburgh TD8 6QD; T:01835 864750 E: jedburghmuseums@liveborders1.org.uk Admission Free, Open: Monday – Saturday 10-4.30 & Sunday 1-4pm.

Jed Jail gate view.jpg Jedburgh Castle Jail.jpg