Introducing Taisbean/Curators North 

Here at SCAN, we know the value that contemporary art brings to communities across Scotland. Contemporary art helps open minds, drive new ideas and imagine the future in communities from the Isle of Skye to urban Inverness. 

The SCAN-supported network Taisbean/Curators North is specifically aimed at addressing the unique skills and vision developed through working with communities across the North of Scotland. The thirteen Taisbean curators and producers work in diverse contexts across this large geographic region  – from artist-led organisations in Inverness and Shetland to community cinema in Skye and Cromarty, and from cultural centres in the Western Isles and East Sutherland to a collection of 20th century art in Stromness. 

Over the next six months, we’ll be sharing monthly bulletins highlighting the work of Taisbean members and the artists and communities they collaborate with. In this, the first of these bulletins, we’re spotlighting projects that are addressing environmental issues and advancing climate action through artistic practice and cross-disciplinary collaboration as well as sharing news and opportunities from across the network. 

Read on to find out more.

The oyster table at Bayfield, Portree.
The oyster table at Bayfield, Portree.
In 2017, a new structure appeared on the intertidal zone at Bayfield, Portree – an oyster table inhabited by filter feeder bivalves and seaweeds that emerges from the sea at low tide when it can be used as a table where people can share food and conversation.

This structure was the focal point of CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones, a project by artist duo Cooking Sections commissioned by ATLAS Arts that explored how to eat as humans change climates. More than four years on, the rich legacy of this project can be seen across Skye and beyond.

A newly established CIC – the CLIMAVORE Station – now provides a base for CLIMAVORE and functions as a platform for research, education, and action addressing ocean pollution and the climate emergency. Managed by Taisbean member Shona Cameron, the CLIMAVORE Station has a particular focus on learning with pedagogical programmes developed collaboratively with local partners. CLIMAVORE Apprenticeships have given students the opportunity to work in restaurants across Skye and Raasay to develop CLIMAVORE dishes promoting alternatives to farmed salmon and, more recently, workshops with students on the Construction Skills Course at West Highland College have highlighted the possibilities for building methods that use waste byproducts of intertidal origin, from seaweed thatch to crushed seashell tiles. 
Meanwhile, ATLAS Arts continue to support activity and conversation around the issues at the heart of the CLIMAVORE project through the On Tidal Zones Residency. This year, Oban-based curator Naoko Mabon has developed practice-led action research that has activated the intertidal zone of her west coast locale as a forum for critically thinking about and taking actions towards the climate crisis. 
Make your own CLIMAVORE recipes

Two Taisbean affiliated organisations are collectively leading a Climate Beacon, one of seven hubs stimulating long-term public engagement in climate action through cultural programming and cross-disciplinary collaboration, supported by Creative Carbon Scotland. 

Timespan, a cultural institution in the village of Helmsdale, and Lyth Arts Centre, the most northerly mainland arts centre in the UK, are developing a new project, The Land for Those that Work It, looking at interlinked issues of land justice, rural development and climate colonialism. 

As part of this programme of work, Lyth Arts Centre welcomed theatre and interactive arts company, The Bare Project, to Caithness to develop the first ‘room’ of their long-term project The People’s Palace of Possibility. The Palace seeks to create spaces for people to imagine different, fairer ways of living through stories, conversation, and play. Over two weeks in November, whilst COP26 took place in Glasgow, The Bare Project met with crofters, young people, community foresters, growers, academics, and artists in Caithness to begin to unpick human relationships with land in Caithness. 

These conversations have informed a new film, The Fifth Giant. This film is both an account of The Bare Project’s time in Caithness and also offers the sketched beginnings of the giants they discovered in their time there – folkloric personifications of the contemporary forces shaping Caithness’ land today. You can watch the film here and find out more about its development in this blog post co-authored by Lyth Arts Centre Director and Taisbean member Charlotte Mountford and Malaika Cunningham, Artistic Director of The Bare Project.    

Critters Creepers Crawlers, Sprouting Solitary Soarers, an exhibition at Gaada features this image of a soaring bird by Elie Coutts
Artwork by Elie Coutts as featured in Critters Creepers Crawlers, Sprouting Solitary Soarers at Gaada, Shetland.
Network News 

Findhorn Bay Arts announce return of Findhorn Bay Festival

The biennial Findhorn Bay Festival makes a welcome return later this year, bringing together a vibrant mix of outstanding Scottish art, theatre and performance, storytelling and live music, alongside celebrations of food and drink, family-friendly events and a whole host of open and accessible creative activities. Supported by Event Scotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, the 4th Findhorn Bay Festival – running from 23 September to 2 October – seeks to offer a journey of exploration and discovery, with glimpses into the past and hopes for the future, and experiences of nature, culture and adventure. The full programme is yet to be announced but you can get a taste of what to expect in this great festival teaser trailer

Crowdfunding Success Supports Development of New Cultural Spaces in Orkney and Ullapool

In recent months, two Taisbean affiliated organisations have run successful crowdfunders that will support their development of new cultural spaces for making and sharing art. In Orkney, the Pier Arts Centre have raised over £33,000 to equip and furnish Linkshouse, a permanent residency centre that will widen the scope of creative and learning opportunities that they are able to offer whilst An Talla Solais’ successful crowdfunder will help realise their vision to turn their offices into a creative community hub for Ullapool where people can connect, create and engage with art. 

New collaborative exhibition opening this weekend in Burra, Shetland

An exhibition of new work by artists Elie Coutts and Cameron Morgan opens this weekend at Gaada, an artist-led organisation and visual art workshop in Burra, Shetland. Critters Creepers Crawlers, Sprouting Solitary Soarers is the second of two exhibitions by the artists who have been working together as part of a collaborative project connecting artists working with Gaada and Project Ability in Glasgow. 

Artist Fionn Duffy takes up Seed Bed residency

At the end of last year, Circus Artspace and Black Isle Permaculture (BIPA) launched an open call for their collaborative Seed Bed residency exploring how creativity can respond and guide us on a regenerative and sustainable pathway into the future, for both ourselves and our habitats. Earlier this month, selected artist Fionn Duffy began her 3-week residency in a timber, off-grid cabin sited in BIPA’s organic permaculture garden and smallholding. You can find out more about the project here and see some snapshots of Fionn’s time on Instagram

Hairst Stall, a project by Christine Borland at Deveron Projects, Huntly.d
Hairst Stall, a project by Christine Borland and Deveron Projects, Huntly.
Jobs and opportunities

Open call: Jerwood Curatorial Accelerator Programme for early-career curators from working class/low socio-economic backgrounds to develop their networks, skills and leadership ambitions

Deadline: 3 May 2022

Call for board members: North Lands Creative invite notes of interest for new board members

Deadline: 3 May 2022


Job: Two new art workers sought for Deveron Projects (Producer and Community Hub Coordinator)

Deadline: 6 May 2022

Job: An Lanntair seek new Chief Executive to lead the organisation 

Deadline: 9 May 2022


Why have I been sent this: Taisbean/Curators’ North is a SCAN project and information about this project is being shared with all recipients of the SCAN mailing list. For more frequent updates on Taisbean/Curators’ North and the work of its members, follow us on Twitter and Instagram

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