Fair Work First Stay Official Coach Travel Live-In Motorhomes Camping At Music at the multiverse 2024 Music at the Multiverse 2024 Annual Passes Geotourist Digital Tours Educational Visits Sustainability Meet The Staff Team Weddings at Crawick Multiverse Photography and Filming Local Area Explore Music at the Multiverse 2023 Music at the Multiverse FAQs Music at the Multiverse 2021 Getting to Music at the Multiverse Plan your Trip Past Events Music at the Multiverse Cosmic Collisions Music at The Multiverse 2022 Frequently Asked Questions My account Checkout Basket Online Shop Accessibility Terms and Conditions Facilities Sustainable Development Groups and Travel Trade Opening Times and Prices Latest News Events at the Multiverse Visit Crawick Multiverse Charles Jencks Comet Walk Belvedere and Void Omphalos Supercluster Multiverse North-South Path Andromeda and The Milky Way Amphitheatre Hire Crawick Multiverse The Trust History Privacy Policy Landforms Contact and Find Us Discover Home
WHAT IS BEHIND THE AURORA? south of scotland to host european lunar symposium in 2024 BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCE Join our team – We’re hiring! Historic Environment Scotland designates Crawick Multiverse Counting the days and the stars Music at the Multiverse Main Stage REopening on 23rd march ongoing site improvements Music at the Multiverse 2024 Closed for the season Two weekends to go… Festival-Goers Double in a Year Record Ticket Sales for Music Fest Music Fest Set to Rock the Multiverse in September Crawick Multiverse Supports Local Men’s Shed after Site Works Solstice celebrations at the multiverse Dawn of Summer Solstice Celebrated Among Andromeda’s Standing Stones Summer Solstice with Prof Graham Harvey Summer Solstice Week 2023 Arts Festival 2023 Summer Solstice Celebrations are Back Bigger and Better Contract Opportunity – Event Co-Ordinator/Promorter Crawick rocked again at Music at the multiverse Dance Tent DJs set for ‘mind blowing’ Music at the Multiverse weekend Get ready to rock the cosmos – Music at the Multiverse is back! D&G Arts Festival 2022 Ready To Open Membership 2022 What’s it All About? Groundworks The Coalface Regional Finalist Crawick Rocks Kelton the Beltie Bull Kelton comes to Crawick Two Days. One Spectacular Venue Official Opening of The Coalface We are Hiring The Multiverse is Hiring Your Views Wedding Photography We’re Hiring – Administrator Festival of Folklore South of Scotland Tourism Investment Big Bang Weekend Invitation to Tender Meteor Shower VisitScotland Campaign New Stargazing Programme Stellar New Appointment Rolls Royce Vintage cars Edinburgh Art Festival A Day in the Life: Volunteer Supernatural in Sanquhar Out of this World Back to the Killing Times Cosmic Collisions with a Big Bang Norse Legend Plus Galactic Collisions Boulders From Mars Unicorn flight to Dalkeith Scottish Creative Collision Pupils in Cosmic Collision Charles Jencks and Daniel Libeskind Summer Solstice Exploration New Sculpture is Mane Attraction World-class Artland Gearing Up Business Creativity Award The Poppy Project Pupils create poppy display the great outdoors Doors open for annual event Artwork Unveiled Pupils in solstice spectacular solar science talks New Charles Jencks installation Spectacular Solstice Festival Team Is Out Of This World Local Returns to Upper Nithsdale Out of this World Launch Crawick Multiverse is Hiring New Scottish artland Share the Vision with Artland Trust


Summer Solstice with Prof Graham Harvey

Home | News | Summer Solstice with Prof Graham Harvey

Prof Graham Harvey: Arts and science meet at summer solstice week

Summer solstice is the longest day and shortest night of the year. It also involves the moment of maximum tilt of the Earth towards the Sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice usually falls on 21 June, or a day either side.

This year, The Open University in Scotland and the spectacular art-land Crawick Multiverse (near Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway) are collaborating in hosting a week’s events to celebrate the artistic, scientific, and cultural significances of the solstice.

In our era of increasing climate and extinction dangers, the Crawick Multiverse solstice events – which are all open to the public – will weave together participative celebration and interactive education honouring the life-giving relationship of Earth and Sun. Everyone is invited to join in the celebrations and gain inspiration for living well as the Earth-Sun relationship continues.

The Crawick Multiverse is the perfect location for celebrating the solstice whilst reflecting on the lively beauty of our world. Indeed, the site not only roots us in our blue-green planet but also places us among our larger cosmic connections.

In 2005, the landscape artist Charles Jencks was invited by the Duke of Buccleuch to transform 55 acres of abandoned open-cast coal mine into a place of beauty and inspiration.

Jencks – who also designed landscapes at Jupiter Artland and the Scottish Modern Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) – saw the potential of the site to become a massive artwork, a restored ecology, a revelation of the cosmos and therefore a place of celebration and learning.

Speaking at the site when it opened in 2015, Jencks said: “Crawick Multiverse is one of the greatest pleasures of my life, a cosmic landscape…It’s wonderful to see this park used in different ways, and for a designer such as me that’s the pay-off.”

Years of earth-moving, involving thousands of boulders and tonnes of earth, resulted in the creation of a vista of beauty out of a once-ravaged landscape. The Multiverse’s giant conical grass mounds represent colliding galaxies, and its long avenue of boulders from the coal mine and other features are inspired by the sun, stars, and other wonders of the cosmos.

The aims and ambitions of the charitable trust, The Crawick Multiverse Trust, are completely in alignment with those of The Open University; those of making life-shaping education in the arts, sciences and humanities available, accessible and relevant to today’s society.

A week of activities for the 2023 summer solstice (18-24 June) is the result of the two groups working together to encourage the growth of fascination with celestial events and the festive feel they create in us.

At the Multiverse site – and at other local venues – activities will stimulate similar awe about the cosmos as that of our ancestors who built stone circles and monuments at Stonehenge. Knowledge derived from scientific and cultural research will be brought together with ceremonies to inspire desire for further celebrations and study.

The 2023 solstice week of activities builds on previous solstice events at the Crawick Multiverse. This time, there will be talks by Open University professors and lecturers of art history (Robert Wallis and Lindsay Crisp), planetary and space sciences (Monica Grady and Mahesh Anand), climate change (Stephen Peake), and of religious studies (Liudmila Nikanorova and myself).

Tours of the Multiverse will include opportunities to record your own sensory impressions and reflections. Drumming led by musician Mat Clements, together with storytelling and craft-making workshops led by the environmental educator Gordon MacLellan, will build up to participation in the afternoon ‘tilt’ ceremony.

My own contributions are rooted in my long-term research interests. Having been brought up near Stonehenge and joined in the free festival there in the 1970s and ‘80s, I became interested in the rituals and storytelling that inspired and encouraged solstice ceremonies and ecological lifestyles.

In particular, I have led research about ‘animism’: ways of engaging respectfully with the larger-than-human community of living beings. Having celebrated many solstice sunrises, recent conversations with Prof Stephen Peake, my colleague from the Open University’s science faculty, have also shown me the importance of the ‘moment of maximum tilt’ of Earth towards the Sun.

I am, therefore, eagerly anticipating celebrating both dawn and ‘tilt’ at the Crawick Multiverse with as many people as join us for the solstice. I will work with colleagues to facilitate an event which everyone who participates can enjoy.

These will not be religious ceremonies in any formal or tradition-specific sense, nor will they involve lectures. We will meld elements of Scottish, British, Scandinavian and diverse Indigenous cultural traditions – with musical and poetic contributions – into ceremonies that honour the fact that all life on Earth flows from the generosity of Earth and Sun. Something everyone can celebrate.

In between the two ceremonies, I will join with colleagues offering short interactive public talks about matters that inspire and excite us from our research. My colleague in religious studies, Liudmila Nikanorova, will talk about her participation in the largest annual summer solstice event in the world: the Yhyakh festival in Siberia’s Sakha Republic. I will talk about ceremonies offering gratitude to the Sun, especially at solstices. In particular, I’m interested in how these involve respecting Earth and Sun as living beings with interesting relationships.

Excitingly, these events will range across the Crawick Multiverse, including the massive Sun Amphitheatre which the late Charles Jencks designed with just this kind of celebration in mind.

Find out more at

Graham Harvey is an Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at The Open University. His recent research engages with Indigenous animisms: ways of trying to live respectfully within the larger-than-human community.

This project is part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Union – LEADER 2014-2020 programme
Translate »
This site uses cookies.
ConfigureHide Options
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.