Green Tease report: Re-Imagining the Dunion

26th February 2019

Claire Pençak, the CABN Advocate for Placemaking and Collaboration, reports on the "Re-imagining the Dunion" Green Tease held in Jedburgh in November 2018.

‘The beacons bleeze on Dunion tap.’

From the song ‘ Jethart’s Here’

On Tuesday 20 November 2018, 23 of us were gathered  in the Jethart Youth Hub, Jedburgh to hear how a different kind of beacon could burn on the Dunion– a beacon of sustainability currently known as the 3 in1 Centre – a large – scale low carbon visitor centre. The event attracted a mix of creative practitioners , arts educators, local businesses, a local councillor and the Jed Eye – nothing to do with Star Wars but a free monthly publication for the local community of Jedburgh.

Following an overview of the work of Creative Carbon Scotland by Ben Twist, John Bathgate, Health and Safety Officer at Emtelle outlined the vision for the 3 to 1 Sustainability Centre. The 3 to 1 refers to our current resource use which is 3 times the planets actual resources.

Inspired by his visits to the Eden Project, Cornwall and the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, he described how he envisaged combining  a green tourism initiative with an education, research and innovation centre.

The brownfield site on Dunion Hill, is a metabolic landscape. Geologically it is the remains of a carboniferous volcano that became plugged with microgabbo. Situated a few miles outside of Jedburgh, the Dunion has spectacular views across the Scottish Borders hence it being a perfect beacon site , traditionally being lit to warn of Border raids. There are archaeological remains of a large hill fort and in more recent years the site has been used as a quarry to provide material for Roxburghshire roads and a landfill site which is now closed.

Dunion views - Grass, monument, and distand lands under cloud.

Dunion Views

The Sustainability Centre would be a series of linked hubs focusing on Scottish Innovation, Oceans, Energy, Transport, Waste, and Agriculture along with a cafe, conference centre and workshop area with the quarry itself being transformed into a performance, events arena.

Dunion Quarry, empty but starting to regrow behind a tree

Dunion Quarry

As a preamble to considering the proposal in smaller groups I introduced some different perspectives and practices around co -creating a site which encourage a multi-species  approach, taking into consideration what is already happening, and asking how can this be worked with? The LAGI (Land Art Generator Initiative) Port Dundas project was cited as an example of bringing artists into the design of an ambitious regeneration project and The Happenstance Project – a collateral event of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice led by artists/curators WAVEparticle was an example of how arts practitioners might activate a space in collaboration with a local community.

The group discussion was shaped through four questions.

  • Identify as many aspects of the site as you can. What inspires you?
  • How could the vision for the Dunion connect to and support what is already happening in Jedburgh and the surrounding area e.g. Jedburgh Town Plan, Walking Pathways ?
  • How might Jedburgh and the surrounding area support the vision for the Dunion? What opportunities would it offer?
  • Any other responses ?

There were plenty of questions, interest and ideas from the room ranging from the use of materials, to the potential for research around health and well- being, the economic impact for the area and opportunities for other local businesses.

It was decided that a follow up event on the site itself should be arranged in about 6 months time. It had been hoped that this meeting would have been on site but permissions couldn’t be attained at that time from the land owners . Since this Green Tease the South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership (SoSEP) has agreed to fund a feasibility study which takes the project to the next stage.

To contact about the project, email John Bathgate.


This Green Tease was supported by Creative Carbon Scotland and Creative Arts Business Network (CABN). Green Tease is an ongoing informal events programme connecting cultural practices and environmental sustainability across Scotland. Find out more about support available to host a Green Tease event and joining the network.

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