Books & writing
Two books and a selection of published articles, poems and other writing, by the creators of Abrazo House
Abrazo House: learning in nature
By Robert Alcock & Almudena Garrido, 2016. 50pp. In English and Spanish.
Tells the story of the first ten years of Abrazo House, from vision to reality.
The Island that Never Was: An English castaway in Bilbao
By Robert Alcock, 2015. 80pp. In English, Spanish and Basque.
The Island that Never Was is a memoir of 15 years in the dream life of a neighbourhood that remains unknown territory, even for many residents of Bilbao. The book contains diverse characters including Berthold Brecht and Zaha Hadid, lizards and kingfishers, Gargantua and the beast with a thousand eyes, squatters and graffiti artists, speculators and creatives. It’s also the story of some alternative futures—consensual, habitable, green, sustainable—dreamt up by the residents, when faced with an official future projected from without. It’s an act of memory in the face of the bulldozers, an attempt to tell a few small truths in the era of the big lie.
“A story you need to read and enjoy… a fascinating and heartening tale of the power we have but spend so much time convincing ourselves actually lies elsewhere” — Rob Hopkins, Transition Network
“Fascinating… reminds us once again that everywhere – every district, every estate, every village, every town – has its story … and that what makes a community is worth fighting to protect.” — Paul Scraton, Elsewhere: a Journal of Place
Poems, Fiction, Drama
by Robert Alcock
Rebellious Elements: Script. An interactive theatre piece about the climate crisis, for young people. It deals with the stories we live by, often without even realising it; and asks: can we change the outcome of these stories, and if so, how?
Four young people are involved—some intentionally, others by chance—in a mass protest/ demonstration, which is brutally suppressed by the police. All four escape to a warehouse where they meet an enigmatic storyteller who tells them four traditional folk tales, each relevant in some way to their (and our) predicament. But can they control how the stories are resolved, or are they caught in the storyteller’s web?
Rebellious Elements: Audio excerpt (21min) from the radio play version directed by Rebecca Kilbey and featuring members of the Edinburgh Community Adult Drama Class. Released in November 2020 after live rehearsals and performance were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Bereaved: a poem with 87 artworks from the 87 Beavers art-action, an exhibition of beaver artwork to commemorate the 87 “protected” beavers killed under license from the Scottish Government, during May-December 2019. “Bereft, bereaved, the river grieves her eager lover, her healer, her sculptor.” Written July 2020.
Windfall plums: a few words about haiku. An essay with nine original haiku. Published in Dark Mountain 10, autumn 2016. “Last summer, out of the blue, I started writing haiku again.”
On our way to the revolution. Poem about (and read at) the 15M assembly in Bilbao, may 2011. Published in Dark Mountain 3, summer 2012. “When we got to the revolution there were so many people, we couldn’t find it…”
by Robert Alcock