‘there and then and never again’: new film commissions celebrating the life and work of Margaret Tait


Ali Smith & Sarah Wood, The Bravest Boat, 2019. Courtesy of the artists.

Event Details

Saturday 16 November 2019


New short films from international talents and Scotland-based artists and filmmakers that celebrate the life, legacy, attitude or approach of Scotland’s filmmaking pioneer, Margaret Tait (1918–1999).

Beginning with one of Tait’s earliest films and ending with one of her last, this programme will include new film commissions by director and critic Mark Cousins; artist, musician and filmmaker Luke Fowler; artist Alexander Storey Gordon; artist and filmmaker Matt Hulse; artist Wendy Kirkup and composer Richy Carey; director Morag Mckinnon; author Ali Smith and filmmaker Sarah Wood; artist Catherine Street; and curator and artist Peter Todd.

The new works have been commissioned as part of the Margaret Tait 100, a year-long centenary celebration that includes screenings, exhibitions, workshops, readings and new publishing.

This programme will include a post-screening discussion with artists and filmmakers Luke Fowler and Wendy Kirkup.


Margaret Tait, Three Portrait Sketches, 1951, 16mm transferred to digital, 5 min 56 sec.

Richy Carey & Wendy Kirkup, The Forest of Everything, 2019. HD video, 5 min 4 sec.

Morag Mckinnon, Never the same, 2019. SD video, 6 min 43 sec.

Peter Todd, a spoon, 2019. 16mm transferred to digital, 2 min 30 sec.

Ali Smith & Sarah Wood, The Bravest Boat, 2019. HD video, 10 min.

Matt Hulse, On Returning (1989–2019), 2019. Super 8mm transferred to digital, 4 min 9 sec.

Mark Cousins, You With Your Fresh Thoughts, 2019. HD video, 1 min 56 sec.

Alexander Storey Gordon, Shoe Leather, 2019. HD video, 6 min 36 sec.

Catherine Street, Allegory of the shivering light, 2019. HD video, 5 min 6 sec.

Luke Fowler, Houses (for Margaret), 2019. 16mm, 5 min.

Margaret Tait, Garden Pieces, 1998. 16mm, 11 min 30 sec.



Is a holy place
Calmly looked at for what it is.
It is as it should stay.
Although of course
Nothing and nowhere stays as it is
……so that the particular time
of the grove being seen –
our view of it, the feeling about it,
and the sounds heard there
all have a
there and then and never again quality.

— Margaret Tait (February 1998)