The year ahead at ATLAS...

What’s in store for the year ahead at ATLAS? Like everyone right now we’re adapting our plans and the ways we work on an almost weekly basis, and we expect more of the same for the rest of the year - as we continue to prioritise the safety of artists and audiences. Despite this, we have lots of things happening, and there are many different ways to get involved in the programme.

This year much of our programme focuses on alternative education, schools and long term projects led by young folk. We’re creating paid opportunities for as many artists and freelancers as we can to work with communities and art, and to make work on their own terms through residencies, research and publishing. In partnerships with Artnight London, we can’t wait to host Isabel Lewis’ occasion - in one form or another - in June this year, and to see what the local contributors to the School of Plural Futures explore over the next few months. 

This month, our Community film project continues with remote oral history gatherings, we have an artist talk with Andy Black sharing more on the research so far, and we’ll be launching new remote artist research residencies. The Making Publics Press awaits anyone interested in making their own books in Portree - as soon as we can come together again. We have a few other partnerships and collaborations lined up with schools and youth groups too, and will be continuing to work with the Skye Zine Library and our Seed Stewardship programme - so get in touch if you want to get involved.

All this, and with more CLIMAVORE learning, a brilliant new Assistant Producer, a new lunchtime talk series and lots of new book projects in the first part of the year, means we’re keeping busy. Read on to find out more...

Welcome, Samir!

We’re delighted to welcome Samir Sharif to the ATLAS team as our new Assistant Producer. Part of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary programme, Samir will join a cohort of 50 fellows across the UK and will be working with us to develop and deliver ATLAS’ programme for the future.

Samir says: “I’m thrilled to be joining the ATLAS team and grateful for the opportunity to help contribute to ATLAS Arts’ continued programming for the wider community. I’m interested in opening dialogues about people, places, nature and language and their co-existence. To that end, feel free to get in touch with me via email to say hello:

The School of Plural Futures
Image credit, Hanes Sturzenegger.

The School of Plural Futures begins this month with a brilliant cohort of young folk. Along with artist Emmie McLuskey, eight participants across Skye and Lochalsh are building this alternative school to speak about the reality and potential of life in rural communities.

Funded through Inspiring Scotland’s Creative Communities, the school will take the form of a series of gatherings - a space to think and create responses to local and global challenges facing young people today. We’ll be asking questions and learning together about social justice, the climate crisis and sustaining rural communities.

About Emmie:

Emmie’s work is often collaborative, starting with a shared question or observation that she explores more deeply through practice, previously this has taken the form of publications, events, objects, conversations and exhibitions. Recent work has centred around interactions in and between bodies, considering the systems that control and record them. 

McLuskey works across the roles of artist, programmer, writer and educator. She sees these as completely interlinked and inseparable from each other, these multiple expressions, regardless of form, all come from a desire to communicate and process the nuance and complexity of our world alongside others. Emmie's work privileges the visual, haptic and auditory intelligences as a way of opening up and challenging how we attribute value under capitalism.   

If you having any questions or want to talk about the school, please feel free to email Emmie directly

Find out more here and if you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved its not too late - get in touch with Heather, ATLAS' Producer.

Andrew Black: Community Film Update and Artist Talk
Revenge Fantasy still by Andy Black 
Our community film project continues with artist Andrew Black. Through research for the film, we have been pooling texts and resources, hearing stories and recollections from across the island, and learning about the connections between crofting, land struggle, changes in Gaelic culture, economic pressures, colonial wealth, and activism on Skye. Here, Andy shares the text Landscape Justice by Chris Dalgish (Community Land Scotland, 2017) as one of many we have been learning with:

“I think this text usefully identifies some of the problems that arise when we come to view our landscapes as scenery - wildernesses without meaningful human presences - as opposed to places with specific cultures and ways of being. A lot of damage can be done when people buy into a place for the view, rather than the community. This text offers a few constructive ways forward - policy and legislation, but also crucially in the way we view and imagine our landscapes and the people that have shaped them.” - Andy

Join us on the 23rd February at 1pm for Andy’s lunchtime talk to hear more about the film, research and ways to get involved. Book your place here.

And if you live on Skye or Lochalsh and might be interested in taking part in an oral history gathering, please get in touch - we'd love to hear from you.
CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones Recipe Book - free download
Image credit: Matthew A Williams

Back in November 2020, at low tide, we launched the Recipe Book at the CLIMAVORE Oyster Table. It was a chance to gather together, share CLIMAVORE inspired food, dulse hot chocolate and thank all the wonderful apprentices and partners that have been a part of the book and the recipes it holds.

The book, designed by Raasay based artist Finn Croy, features a dish from each of the apprentices, with tips and advice on how to forage and create your own CLIMAVORE inspired recipes using intertidal ingredients, plus specially developed recipes by Cooking Sections, ATLAS, and CLIMAVORE partners Loch Bay Restaurant, Skye Bakehouse, Cuillin Brewery, The Dunvegan, The Sligachan Hotel and Taigh Ailean Hotel. Find out how and where to get yourself a copy here

The CLIMAVORE Recipe Book is part of the long term project CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones, an ATLAS commission with artists Cooking Sections exploring how to eat as humans change the climate. With huge thanks to funders The Pebble Trust, Patagonia Tides Foundation, The Gaia Foundation, Creative Scotland and Connect Local Regional Food Fund.

Lunchtime Talk Series begins in February with Naoko Mabon
Image Caption: Naoko Mabon. Snap from the resulting work gifting ceremony of “Aberdeen // Yubari” printmaking project at Old Torry Community Centre on 9th February 2020. © Rachel Grant /
Join us on Tuesday lunchtimes throughout February and March for a new series of online artist talks, bringing together a range of artists and speakers reflecting on the history, heritage and reality of life in the Highlands and Islands. These informal get-togethers are open to anyone - sit back and listen or get involved as we talk more about artist practice on Skye and the complexity and brilliance of rural life.

Expect discussions about community film making, deep archival investigations and curatorial research invested strongly in our locale. Talks begin at 1pm, take place online, and are free and open to all.

The talk series begins with Naoko Mabon, a freelance curator currently based in Oban on the West coast of Scotland. As an immigrant person whose body always finds itself “in-between translation/mistranslation”, Naoko is interested in the volatile, fluid and fictitious nature of one’s identity, and how we can weave relationships with “disparate others” beyond common ground. Within her curatorial practice, Naoko often works with people from different backgrounds, areas of profession and cultures through a collaborative, experience-based and actively involved approach.

By trying to be affective, responsive and responsible for the concerns and historically underrepresented voices that are specific to a focused context, locality or community, she challenges traditionally dominant perspectives and narrations. This specifically indicates her intention towards de-colonial perspectives, and commitment towards equalities and diversity through ongoing collective research grounded in “care ethics”, a feminist approach to ethics.

Read more, and book a place here.
What did we learn in 2020? a-n artnews interview ATLAS Director Ainslie

2020 was quite a year of learning, particularly for our new team. Read this short interview with our director Ainslie in a-n artnews, as she speaks about her first year on Skye, plans for the future and her reflections on the changes we're seeing across the arts.
Opportunities: A selection for artists and makers in our locale
Below are a few opportunities open to artists working across Skye and Lochalsh that might be of interest, and, as ever if you are an artist or maker in Skye and Lochalsh and would like support, advice or proofreading on a funding application, do get in touch

Visual Artist & Craft Makers Award here.
Creative Communities intern here
SUPERLUX 1-1 advice sessions here

Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Tasgadh grant here.
SEALL Performing arts peer response forum here.

An audio version of this newsletter is available here.
Take care and keep in touch x
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