Image of Graham Fagen's work, A Drama in Time, made up of 5 neon illustrations under bridge. The entrance to Jacob's Ladder sits on the left.

A Drama in Time – A Visual Poetry Resource

A Drama in Time is a visual poetry resource by poet and performer Courtney Stoddart.

Courtney Stoddart has created a series of creative writing activities supporting learners to explore the lesser discussed parts of renowned poet Robert Burns’ life and to use their understanding of Edinburgh and thoughts on identity to imagine the future, by creating a visual poem. Download here.

The activities have been inspired by Graham Fagen’s artwork A Drama in Time, and the quote the artwork takes its title from, by Edinburgh city planner Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) – “a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time”. The artwork and its title invite us to think of the people, sites and events which create the city’s sense of place: past, present, and future.

Please note, A Drama in Time is currently inaccessible due to work happening at Waverley Station.

Key information for teachers:    

  • Suitable for: secondary school pupils (aged 11+ years) at Edinburgh schools.  
  • Suitable for subjects: Art and Design, History, Modern Studies and English.  
  • Timing suggestions: Activities 1-3 – in a period of 40mins, with activity 4 completed in their next 40min period. However, adapt to suit, especially if visually developing the activity further.  
  • The pdf has been designed to be printed or can be displayed on a Smartboard as prompts for pupils writing/drawing on paper or jotters.  
  • If printing the pdf, print landscape format. 
  • This resource is to be used as a springboard, that can be adapted for your class.  

Two suggestions for visually developing the activity further (optional): 

  • Option 1: Use colour chalk on black paper or white paper painted with black poster or acrylic paint. Paper size A3 ideally, cut to desired size/format (for example square).  
  • Option 2: Cut card or cardboard (cardboard creates a more textured quality) to desired size/format, paint the card/cardboard with black poster or acrylic paint, and use colour liquid chalk pens or fluorescent poster paint to create a more ‘neon’ quality.  

Other useful links 

Graham Fagen: The Slave’s Lament interview, National Galleries of Scotland

Graham Fagen: The Slave’s Lament, National Galleries of Scotland

Emeka Ogboh: Song of the Union at the Burns Monument focussing on Burns’ ‘Auld Lang Syne’, commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and Talbot Rice Gallery, 2021