6.2.4 Through encouraging creativity

Art, literature, theology, performance and experimental craft practice, as well as digital and visualisation technologies, are all examples of highly effective platforms to explore creative, cross-disciplinary responses to carved stones. Similarly, science offers another strong avenue for engagement, for instance through interpretation of astronomical monuments such as inscribed meridian markers and the Kirkhill Epitome (see Fraser forthcoming) and survey monuments such as Ordnance Survey benchmarks. Recent projects, such as the Ballochmyle: Case Study 24, show the innovative synergies that can result (see also St Andrews University's 3D digital reconstructions of ruined buildings; AOC Archaeology Group 2014; Faith in Cowal 2016). Such approaches, particularly those including public engagement, broaden the context for carved stones, helping to reach new audiences and establish new levels of engagement. The Kelsae Stane: Case Study 25 is an excellent example of how the production of a modern carved stone can engage current communities through a creative process that resonates powerfully and meaningfully with a sense of place. More research is needed to evaluate how social and cultural values are encapsulated or transformed by creative engagement and what the long-term impact is for how communities engage with carved stones (see for example Hall 2013a who considered the use of sculptured stone crosses in popular cinema).

Materiality is a key research area as it lends as much weight to how stones were experienced and made as to their meaning. It involves a consideration of craftsmanship and offers a good opportunity to fuse theory with experimental craft practice and a greater application of theories of visualisation (e.g. groove analysis: Kitzler Åhfeldt 2013).