Sandra Alland is an Glasgow-based Scottish-Canadian writer, interdisciplinary artist, small press publisher, performer, filmmaker and curator. Alland's work focuses on social justice, language, humour and experimental forms.
Life and work
Sandra Alland grew up in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She was raised by a Scottish migrant father and grandfather, and a mother of French-Canadian descent. The first in her family to attend university, Alland completed undergraduate studies in Drama at the University of Toronto, graduating with high distinction in 2000.
Alland began publishing and performing her work in Toronto in 1995. From 1995-1997, she was part of the performance poetry band, Stumblin' Tongues, with Bermudian poet Andra Simons and musicians Garth and Grant Kien. Alland worked extensively in Toronto's theatre, literary and visual art communities until she relocated to Scotland in 2007.
Alland has published two collections of poetry, Proof of a Tongue (McGilligan Books, 2004) and Blissful Times (BookThug, 2007). In 2009, Edinburgh's Forest Publications published a chapbook of her short stories, Here's to Wang. Her chapbook of poetry, Naturally Speaking, a meditation on disability poetics and gender, was published in 2012 by Toronto's espresso  and co-won the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award.
In a four-star performance review in December 2007, Edinburgh's The Skinny said: "This is not My Coming Out Poem of Pain, this is Sandra Alland's brilliant Beckett cut-ups...The images come so fast you sometimes feel like a Slinky falling down the stairs, yet the emotion and intention are clear, moving, and often funny." In spring 2009, Glasgow's Lock Up Your Daughters magazine said: "Reminiscent of Miranda July and complemented by a deadpan delivery, Alland's words are at once both drolly funny and sweetly strange."
Alland's writing has been published internationally in anthologies including, Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals (Comma Press), The Mirror in the Mirror (Comma Press), The State of the Arts: Living with Culture in Toronto (Coach House Books), radiant danse uv being: A Poetic Portrait of bill bissett (blewointment), Red Light: Superheroes, Saints, and Sluts (Arsenal Pulp Press), My Lump in the Bed: Love Poems for George W. Bush (Dwarf Puppets on Parade), Can't Lit: Fearless Fiction from Broken Pencil Magazine, and Poems For Pussy Riot (PEN International). Alland's poems and short stories can be found in such publications as This Magazine, Broken Pencil, dig, anything anymore anywhere, subTerrain, Gutter and Chroma. In 2012, she edited a feature on Scottish poetry for Jacket2, and is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches Press, 2017).
Besides text, Alland works in multimedia, film, performance poetry and sound poetry. She currently collaborates with the Scottish interdisciplinary group, They They Theys, who received 5 stars from Scotland's The Skinny in March 2014. From 2007-2012 Alland collaborated with the poetry-music-video fusion group, Zorras. In autumn 2009, Scotland's ultimatemetal.com said of her work: "A very unique mix of poetry, music, stories and just plain weird. The poetry was sharp and funny, the placement effective, the visuals fitting; a rather unforgettable experience." Alland is featured in Andrea Brady's Archive of the Now (Queen Mary).
In the UK, Alland has performed at such places as Roundhouse (venue), Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Museum of London, Soho Theatre, The Oxford Playhouse, Queer Mutiny, Aye Write!, The Arches (Glasgow), The Forest (social centre) and Unity Theatre, Liverpool. In Canada, she has featured at series including Impossible Words, AvantGarden, Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, Contact Photography Festival, the Ottawa International Writers' Festival, LabCab Festival (Factory Theatre) and Hillside Festival.
Alland's films have screened internationally, including at Tate Modern, Macrobert, Entzaubert Festival (Berlin), Fringe! (London) and MIX Copenhagen. Her visual art and videos were on display at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art and mac (Birmingham), during 2009-10 and 2011 respectively. In 2013, she was awarded a Cultural Commissions grant from Creative Scotland and LGBT History Month Scotland, to begin work on new documentary shorts, and to mentor six new LGBTQ disabled and Deaf filmmakers.
Alland has curated projects and events for entities including Edinburgh Filmhouse, Disability Arts Online, Artscape's Queen West Art Crawl, This Ain't the Rosedale Library, Toronto Women's Bookstore, and The Theatre Centre. She founded and curates Edinburgh's Cachín Cachán Cachunga! and SEEP, a multimedia performance and visual arts project featuring queer, trans and intersex artists.
- 2000: The Mathematics of Love. Toronto: 13th Tiger Press
- 2004: Proof of a Tongue. Toronto: McGilligan
- 2007: Blissful Times. Toronto: BookThug
- 2009: Here's to Wang. Edinburgh: Forest Publications
- 2012: Naturally Speaking. Toronto: espresso
- 2017: Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back. Rugby: Nine Arches Press. Eds Alland, Barokka, Sluman.
- 2000: "The Man" (Waterspout Theatre, Bermuda)
- 2002: "Body Geometry: A Good Night Out" (The Theatre Centre, Toronto)
- 2002: "Seeing Each Other" (with Heather Lash, New York Fringe, New York)
- 2005: "Poetry Is Not A Luxury" (with Anna Camilleri & Karen Miranda Augustine, Mayworks Festival, Toronto)
- 2005: "Other Me" (with Alejandra Perez-Gomez, Scream Festival, Toronto)
- 2009: "Found In Translation" (Soho Theatre, produced by Oxford Playhouse, London)
- 2009: "The Eruption of Kilauea and Other Treasures" (Screen Bandita, Filmhouse & Scottish Documentary Institute, Edinburgh)
- 2014: "SEEP: Fluidity in Body and Landscape" (with They They Theys, media education, Edinburgh)
- 2014: "Who's Your Dandy?" (with They They Theys, Filmhouse, Edinburgh)
- 2016: "Equivalence" (Transpose, Barbican Centre, London / Anatomy, Summerhall, Edinburgh)
- 2009: "We Apologise For Any Inconvenience" (with Zorras, Minor Assault Records)
- 2012: "Doctor Says" (with Zorras, Minor Assault Records)
Exhibitions and Screenings
- 2002: "Play" (Pteros Gallery/Contact Photography Festival, solo show, Toronto)
- 2009–10: "A Spot of b)other" (Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, lead artist, Glasgow)
- 2011: "A Spot of b)other" (Midlands Arts Centre, lead artist, Birmingham)
- 2012: "After Going Out" (Tate Modern, Tracey Moberly's Tweet Me Up, London)
- 2012: "Trans*Homo" (with Justin Time, Schwules Museum, Berlin)
- 2013: "I'm Not Your Inspiration" (macrobert, screening, Stirling)
- 2014: "SEEP: Fluidity in Body and Landscape" (media education, screening, Edinburgh)
- 2014: "I'm Not Your Inspiration 1, 2, 3" (Entzaubert Film Festival, screening, Berlin)
- 2014: "SEEP II: Mirrors & Mires" (Patriothall Gallery, group show, Edinburgh)
- 2015-16: "Fingers" (British Film Institute Love Season, screenings, UK-wide)
- 2017: "I'm Not Your Inspiration 1, 2, 3 & 4" (Malmo Queer Film Festival, screening, Malmo)
- 2013: "bpNichol Chapbook Award" ( co-winner, Meet the Presses, Toronto)
- 2013: "Cultural Commission Award" ( LGBT History Month Scotland / Creative Scotland)
- LaRiviere, Serafin (October 1, 2011). "Zorras embarks on Canadian tour". Xtra. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Dupuis, Chris (November 30, 2012). "Fresh Start". Xtra.
- Award, bpNichol (November 18, 2013). "2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award Winners Announced!". Meet the Presses.
- MacDonald, Hamish (December 7, 2007). "Who's Your Dandy". The Skinny.
- Karoulla, Eric (March 7, 2014). "SEEP: Fluidity in Body & Landscape @ Media Education". The Skinny.
- Brand, Simon (September 30, 2009). "Cocoon Counter Culture Festival". Ultimate Metal.
- Mayberry, Lauren (January 23, 2013). "LGBT History Month 2013 - programme highlights". The List.
- Innes, Kirsten (July 7, 2010). "Cachín Cachán Cachunga!". The List.
- "LGBT History Month – Sandra Alland". TYCI, February 5, 2013.