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Robert Aitken is an independent writer, director and producer of film and creative projects in Scotland and international. He was past director of not-for-profit Piping Arts Ltd. and delivered  Aberdeenshire's Piping & Drumming programme for many years. As founder of MWB Productions he partnered of many creative education projects in the North East Scotland. Today, he specialises in communicating the lost, or often forgotten, stories of peoples and their plight over the years to present day. His work often asks questions on society, environment and our future as a species. His music, films and project work have garnered him as a narrative driven storyteller and educator.

Aitken’s latest project is an ambitions four film project looking at Climate Change. His first film was made during the 2nd covid pandemic lockdown in 2021 with a national screening tour planned for end of 2022 - 2023. The first film in the series is THE DREAMING BOG; an ecopoetic film on Climate Change told through the history and mythology of the Peatlands of Northern Scotland and the Mires of Finland - an exploration of the punishment and preservation by humankind on these vulnerable landscapes. 

The imaginative STRATH-STEVEN COVE, edited during the first covid pandemic lockdown in 2021, is a journey in film uncovering the ritual marks found in a Jurassic age cave. The film tracks Brora based researcher, Jacquie Aitken, on foot from Sputie Burn as she reveals the meanings behind the carved marks inside the cave.

THREADS FROM THE DEEP was a film made by Aitken just before the covid pandemic in 2020. The film captures one of the worlds foremost tapestry artists, Joan Baxter, at her home in East Sutherland, Highlands of Scotland.

THE RISE AND FALL OF DIGITAL MAN is a micro-film based on the tone poem of the same name made in 2019. It is a cautionary tale of the development of digital technology and its effects on human beings. Contrasting this is ISLE MARTIN: A Little Island With A Big History, an 2018 promotional film for Isle Martin Trust utilising local image archives and oral history recordings. This film shows what secluded natural environments have offered past and present generations.

LIGHT CALLER, utilises NASA footage and is inspired by Aitken’s poem 'I am the Light'. A thought provoking short-film shows that each of us are part of a mighty connected organism integral as a single living planet. This 2017 cine-film has been submitted to the NASA/Cinespace programme as a study of the future of space exploration.

2014-15 saw LAST FOOTSTEPS OF HOME as Aitken’s first major film study. The film is a haunting period piece inspired by the true story of a young Scots woman who is forced to leave her family home in 1813 and board an emigrant ship bound for the New World. The film gained an international following with its universal story of leaving, loss and courage. It was also praised for broadening discussion around the affected region of historic forced evictions as well as innovation of technology in production. The film’s research, aided by eminent writer/historian Professor James Hunter, has seen Aitken present the film to several invited international conferences and festivals.

Aitken’s acclaimed soundtrack to the Highland Clearances, KILDONAN, features newly composed and arranged pieces inspired by events that took place in Scotland in the early 19th Century Scotland, where local people were cleared of their land to make way for Sheep. KILDONAN is the official music to Scotland’s Clearances Trail and was chosen to spearhead Oxfam’s global campaign, Enough Food. Through his collaboration with Emmy® Award winning director, Guy Perrotta, KILDONAN is also the soundtrack for the forthcoming major US docudrama ‘Voices Over The Water’.

As director on WORKING LIE TO WAR LIFE, examining the transformation of peoples lives in North East of Scotland during World War One, Aitken’s exhibition centerpiece, THE TENT, highlighted the effects of war on soldiers and those at home. The exhibition attracted record attendances at the Aberdeen Maritime Museum and was hailed as an affecting and arresting sound installation vividly brought to life through an exciting mix of expressive arts and groundbreaking digital surround sound technology.

In community and education Aitken has successfully devised and delivered several innovative creative projects. As a campaign manager Aitken continually drives projects to ever-new heights with clarity of vision and belief in his concepts utilising a crafted blend of conventional press and social media outlets. He is often asked to give talks and lectures on causes & subjects he has filmed and his ability to harness creative digital media to those ends.

“There will always be a strong link to the human story throughout the ages in my work; how we now have adapted to the highs and lows in this digital age, and, how we treat each other and the planet we all share. I aim to connect the past with the present to inform our future in what I do not see as time immemorial, but the ever moving cycle of life as time orbital.”

Robert Aitken

Robert Aitken was born and brought up in the far north Highlands of Scotland. He grew up in the small coastal village of Brora in the 1970s and 80s, learning to play and bagpipe as part of the Sutherland Schools Pipe Band. He was a native of Sutherland for many years before setting out to craft his unique pieces of work. Aitken currently lives between North East Scotland and the far North Highlands.

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© Robert Aitken & Robert Aitken Filmproduction

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