Seas of the Outer Hebrides creative practitioners appointed!

22nd September 2021

We’re excited to announce that artists Dr Saoirse Higgins and Jonathan Ford have been appointed as creative practitioners with the Seas of the Outer Hebrides project.

In August we launched an open call for creative practitioners of any discipline to work with the MarPAMM – Seas of the Outer Hebrides (SEASOH) project to support the development of a powerful, community-led vision for marine stewardship in the Outer Hebrides.

Saoirse and Jonathan were appointed, after a competitive application process, to work with the SEASOH team between now and December this year.

Since 2019 Creative Carbon Scotland has partnered with SEASOH to support collaborations with artists and the use of creative approaches in engagement activities, which have explored what is important to Outer Hebrides residents about their seas and their visions for its future.

Cultural heritage and the connections between Gaelic language and the sea as a living, working and cultural landscape have been strong themes throughout our creative work and link to marine conservation and management through a sense of place, home and identify in the Outer Hebrides.

We are now entering the phase of the project that will bring together community priorities and recommendations into a powerful message, which aims to inform future policy and action.

About the creative practitioners

Artist Dr Saoirse Higgins and artist Jonathan Ford have been living and making work on and about the islands on Papa Westray in the north of the Orkney archipelago for over seven years. As a collaborative duo they are interested in developing projects that relate to the island-sea interface, working together with diverse island communities both young and old.

The Seas of the Outer Hebrides project provides Saoirse and Jonathan with an opportunity to continue to explore their interest in islands and islander environmental concerns and fits with their desire to make a positive impact on the future sustainability of island life, and planetary life as a consequence.

Another project they are currently are working on, S-ØY-S (save-our island-seas), explores the future environmental and economic viewpoints of the Marine Protected Area surrounding Papay and how island communities will deal with this challenge. S-ØY-S involved collaborating with multiple partners including the British Science Association, local creel fishermen, young Papay islander students and Joanne Porter, marine scientist, International Centre for Island Technology, Heriot-Watt University.

Artist Dr Saoirse Higgins and artist Jonathan Ford said: “We are really looking forward to creatively engaging with other diverse island communities on our voyage through the connecting seas that make us who we are as islanders. We hope to create and encourage a visual dialogue with the sea, and fathom out how we can work together to save and protect this vital asset for our global survival.”

SEASOH Project Officer Dr Charlie Main said “It’s been a pleasure to meet Saoirse and Jonathan and draw on their rich imaginations and expertise to help us to engage with Outer Hebrides communities.”

Creative Carbon Scotland and the SEASOH project team are thrilled to be working with Saoirse and Jonathan and looking forward to developing our plans together over the coming weeks.

Keep an eye on the Creative Carbon Scotland website, as well as the Seas of the Outer Hebrides Facebook page for project updates and opportunities to get involved.

We are collaborating with MarPAMM – Seas of the Outer Hebrides is part of our culture/SHIFT programme, which supports collaborations between arts and sustainability practitioners to address the climate emergency.

MarPAMM is a cross-border environment project, funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA programme, to develop tools for monitoring and managing a number of protected coastal marine environments in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland.

Marpamm and interreg logos for Seas of the Outer Hebrides project

Seas of the Outer Hebrides

Image credit: Monitoring the South Wick shoreline, Papay Intrepid Explorers, Papay Probe, 2017, Copyright Saoirse Higgins and Jonathan Ford

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

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

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