Mull Arts and Sustainability Artist Residency 2015

25th March 2015

With just a few days to go before our second Mull Arts & Sustainability Artist Residency, we thought we’d provide …

With just a few days to go before our second Mull Arts & Sustainability Artist Residency, we thought we’d provide you with a sneak preview of our plans for this year’s residency and present the artists and facilitators who will be joining us on Mull!

Firstly, we’re very happy to announce the twelve artists who will be participating in this year’s residency, in alphabetical order:

Tom Butler (Glasgow)

Alice Cooper (Edinburgh)

Sam Cook (Glasgow)

Kevin Dagg (Edinburgh)

Hannah Imlach (Edinburgh)

Jean Lanteri Laura (Calgary, Mull)

Holly Keasey (Dundee)

Hector MacInnes (Skye)

Vivian Ross Smith (Lerwick, Shetland)

Saffy Setohy (Glasgow)

Rebecca Sharp (Newport-on-Tay)

Niroshini Thambar (Edinburgh)

Artists were selected in order to achieve a good balance of art forms, prior levels of engagement with environmental sustainability, different approaches to the area and general level of experience. We also considered the potential communities artists might be able to spread this work to on their return from the residency.

We are also pleased to be working with Professor Mike Bonaventura, CEO of The Crichton Carbon Centre in Dumfries and Stephanie de Roemer, Conservator of Sculpture and Installation Art for Glasgow Museums, in the facilitation and documentation of discussions over the weekend. Additionally, Caroline Winn, Director of Comar, Siôn Parkinson, Creative Director of Visual Art, Craft and Film at Comar, and Scott Donaldson from Creative Scotland will all be contributing to the weekend’s activities.

This year, we will take the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a starting point for discussion. The SDGs are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. They are broad reaching and hugely – some would say unachievably – ambitious, addressing global poverty, climate change, gender equality, food security and wellbeing to name a few key areas. We’re interested in imagining a future world through the lens of the SDGs and how artists might apply or engage with the goals through their practices.

We’re aware that this is a big task but want to use the opportunity the residency presents to collectively push the boundaries of how we connect artistic practice with environmental sustainability. Acknowledging that none of us have all of the answers to the difficult and complex questions that will be raised through this exercise, each participants’ thoughts and ideas on the SDGs will help shape the discussions over the weekend.

Building on last year’s programme, we’re also working closely with Comar to consider the context of Mull in relation to arts and sustainability with a visit to FANK– the site of a large dry-stone enclosure deep in Lettermore Forest. Initiated by artist Emma Herman-Smith, the project FANK will see the restoration and repurposing of a derelict sheefold (or ‘fank’ in Scots dialect) on the Isle of Mull. Work is already underway to rebuild the structure. Once complete the site will link the island’s landscape and social heritage to its cultural present. A public discussion at An Tobar will invite those living and working on Mull to tell us what they believe a sustainable island would look like and how artists may have a role in realising this vision.

More broadly, we hope to build on the momentum generated through our monthly Green Tease discussion, last year’s Mull residency and our recent public event at Tramway (Glasgow’s Green) to continue to develop and support a loose network of artists interested in and working in this area. There will be no immediate outputs from the residency, with most of our time spent discussing the issues and themes outlined above, but what we hope in the longer term is to foster an artistic community of practice which holds common groundings, ideas and values concerning environmental sustainability.

For those of you unable to join us this weekend, we have created a reading/watching list with key readings around the Sustainable Development Goals, amongst other things. You can also follow our discussion on Twitter, via #mullonmull over the weekend.

Reading list

Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals:

Overview of Sustainable Development Goals: http://unsdsn.org/resources/goals-and-targets/

Sustainable Solutions Development Network set up in August 2012 to mobilise “scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales.” More here: http://unsdsn.org and their overview of the SDG process is: http://unsdsn.org/what-we-do/sustainable-development-goals/processes/

Guardian on Sustainable development goals: all you need to know: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jan/19/sustainable-development-goals-united-nations

Some different perspectives on climate change and sustainability:

Stop Climate Chaos is an aggregator: www.stopclimatechaos.org.

Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein and many others at http://350.org are always worth reading.

By contrast the World Bank also has a *lot* to say on this topic, which may itself be provocative to some: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/sustainabledevelopment.

The UN has a dedicated webspace: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/

CIFAL to have collected a load of ‘stuff’ here: http://www.cifalscotland.org/index.php/resources-a-presentations from various events, some of which may be informative…

A couple of other sources of information – no need to have read these but useful pointers nonetheless: http://www.bond.org.uk/ and http://www.cifalscotland.org/index.php/past-seminars-a-conferences/257-scotland-and-the-post-2015-development-agenda-conference

Some different perspectives and examples of the links being made between artistic practice and environmental sustainability (too many to list here!):

The recent publication ‘Landing Stages’ archives the documentation of on environmentalism and performance previously hosted on the Ashden Directory website: http://www.ashdendirectory.org.uk/downloads/Landing%20Stages.pdf

Emergence (based in Wales) 2015 publication ‘Culture Shift’: http://www.emergence-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/CULTURE-SHIFT-Report.pdf

A piece from Creative Carbon Scotland, following our recent European meeting and event in Glasgow – ‘Glasgow’s Green’: Imagining a Sustainable City – exploring how culture is inherently connected to a more sustainable society: https://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/gala-2015-embracing-glasgows-green-spirit/

Short film ‘ULLAMH DHA’ by Scotland-based artist Valentina Bonazzi made in 2011 about the closure of primary schools in Argyle and Bute, filmed at Ulva Primary School, situated in Mull: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGwlEIp8ArQ


Image: Tom Butler

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We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.


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A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network