Your Reluctant Diplomat


Jessica Harby talks to England about Donald Trump as part of our HOME / AWAY series.

Photo by Sayed Hasan.

Photo by Sayed Hasan.

I wasn’t fully American until I left America. Until then, my “Americanness” never really occurred to me. If I had any geographical identity, it was always smaller scale, more specific. I was working-class Midwestern. I was from the poorer neighbourhood of apartments in our high school district. I was a Chicagoan.

Interview – Alicia Bruce


Amanda Aitken from TYCI recently caught up with award winning photographer Alicia Bruce whilst she was in Glasgow to talk about one of her biggest pieces of work to date, Menie: A Portrait of a North East Community in Conflict.

When I first joined TYCI, I spent a good few days preoccupied with my own thoughts as I rattled through as many women in this world who have inspired me or made me feel empowered even if only for a second. Politicians, journalists, musicians, the list is endless. I knew that I wanted to write an article that meant a lot to me, but it was trying to figure out who to base it around that had my mind spinning for days. I decided to draw my inspiration a little closer to home – in fact, a lot closer to home.

There’s a small area just outside of Aberdeen that I used to visit a lot as a child called Balmedie. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland, baring stunning coast lines with sand dunes so tall they would make you feel like you were standing on top of the world. The strong East coast winds would take your breath away if the scenery didn’t first. I spent a lot of time here. It was peaceful, full of nature, and held so many great memories from my childhood.

I remember a good friend of mine and photographer, Alicia Bruce, telling me one evening in the pub that Donald Trump was planning on building a golf course just North of Balmedie around the Menie Estate. A small picturesque area of Aberdeenshire where fishermen and farmers have lived for generations. Alicia said she was planning on doing a piece of work on it all to figure out what was happening up there but also to see what the people of Menie had to say about it. In the years that followed, Aberdeen became an incredibly frustrating place to live. In the wake of what felt like a never ending battle between the public and an oil tycoon’s bid to cement over a Victorian garden in the heart of the city, I don’t think any of my peers could have prepared themselves for what was going to happen just north of Aberdeen.

I caught up with Alicia at a pub in Glasgow recently to give her the opportunity to tell her experiences of working with the residents of the Menie Estate and reflect back to the beginning and tell her story of when all this began.