Crowdfunding campaign underway for photography book documenting impact of Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort

Mike and Sheila Forbes were among the Aberdeenshire residents who took on Donald Trump over his proposed golf resort development. Picture: Alicia Bruce

A photographer has launched a crowdfunding campaign with an American publisher for a new book aimed at documenting the impact of Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort on a small coastal community.

Aberdeen-born Alicia Bruce’s project will recall how a small band of local residents resisted prolonged efforts by Mr Trump to buy their land.

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Bruce hopes to bring their fight to a global audience and also honor several residents who have passed away since going into battle with Mr Trump over his vision of creating “the world’s greatest golf course.”

The late Molly Forbes was among the local residents who opposed Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort development. Picture: Alicia Bruce

Bruce has been working with Menie residents since the estate was acquired by Mr Trump for a golf resort development in 2006.

The project was championed by local business leaders and the Scottish Government approved one of two courses in 2008 after councillors had earlier rejected the development. A second course was endorsed by councilors in 2020.

Some of Bruce’s work with the residents of the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire has previously been acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland.

She is planning to work with a number of leading Scottish musicians, including Karine Polwart, Kathryn Joseph, Ballboy and Ruth Barrie, to help launch the book.

Singer-songwriter Karine Polwart is collaborating with photographer Alicia Bruce on her project to document the impat of Donald Trump’s golf resort development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire. Picture: Alicia Bruce

One of the Menie residents, David Milne, said: I’m here at Menie partially due to the support that was provided by Alicia Bruce.

“I’m happy and proud to support her in her new project. It’s simple, it’s easy and everything counts.”

The Kickstarter fundraising page states: “The project documents sixteen years of Donald Trump’s impact on a coastal Scottish community from 2006 until present day.

“This publication will be the first of its kind and will be a lasting legacy for the residents of Menie and a record of extraordinary people who stood up to money, power and bullying to save their land and home from compulsory purchase order.

“A book is a tangible object and more accessible to many than an exhibition or an archive.

“The role of photography in portraying the significance of this community’s struggle with one of the most controversial and powerful figures in the world continues to reverberate.

“A book will, in an accessible way, bring this message to a worldwide audience. Daylight Books have been selected as the publisher for this photobook due to their United States location, international distribution and reputation for producing high-quality photobooks.”

Bruce said: “This project is political, personal and professional.

“My role in Menie is as a conduit to my friends there who have lived for too long in the shadow of Trump’s impact on their homes and land.

“I’ve learned, through my collaborations with the Menie residents that, even as a working-class photographer without money or power I can assist others in sharing their world views and personal stories in alternative ways and help, in my own way, to make social change for the better.

“I have witnessed first hand the horrifying treatment of the local residents and the destruction of an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for a short-lived commercial development.

“Nature is already fighting against the first course and, as my photographs show, the result is bittersweet.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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