I spent the weekend in Edinburgh. I went because I was giving a poster at the EuroIA 2013 conference and was spending Friday there. But the trip also allowed me to attend Saturday’s celebration of 200 years of Scottish Unitarianism, at St. Mark’s Unitarian Church — which is, fortuitously, just a block from where the conference was held.
My EuroIA poster (see image; sorry the photo is so poor but that’s a phone camera for you) explained how designing for spiritual experience is like designing a woodland clearing for watching the stars. It described my two research projects so far, and talked about how techno-spirituality needs more UX folks involved. It didn’t get as much attention as some of the other posters, but it got enough for me to be satisfied that I had begun to engage the UX practitioner community.
On Saturday I learned a lot about the history of Unitarianism in Scotland. In 1813, Parliament (the Scottish one, I think) repealed the law that made it illegal to express views that disagreed with the Christian concept of the trinity, and the Scottish Unitarian Association was founded one week later.
After the celebration I walked up to St. Giles High Kirk of Edinburgh (formerly called St. Giles’ Cathedral) and spent about 45 minutes absorbing the atmosphere and taking photos. When I was there in February I didn’t have my “real” camera with me and didn’t feel it was worth paying £2 for a photo permit. But this time I was prepared, and especially with the beautiful light at the time, it was well worth it. Here’s my favorite of the photos I took. (The others can be found on Flickr.)
I stayed over Saturday night and attended the service at St. Mark’s on Sunday (although I must confess I found it slightly weird to have a Unitarian church named for a saint) and enjoyed it very much. While in the company of the Unitarians, I spoke with representatives of the congregations in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh (I didn’t meet anyone that I knew to be from Dundee) and they are all interested in having me come and give my service on technology and spirituality to their congregations. Aberdeen is likely to happen sometime in March. I’d like to do Glasgow in May and then rent a car and head for Islay and Jura. It’s been far too long since I’ve been to the land whence the Buies came.
Public engagement, travel to interesting places, learning, and meeting lovely people — what more could I ask?