2016 Artists

Download the 2016 Artists In Residence programme here.

Clare Duffy focuses on light. (image by Frank Bradford) Clare Duffy focuses on light. (image by Frank Bradford)

January 2016 - Clare Duffy

In January 2016 Clare will be resident at Sumburgh Head to write and prepare a new work for performance. The effects of living in Shetland’s unique environment and light will be the central theme and it will include research by eminent scholars. In August there will be performance of the new work at Sumburgh Head.

Clare writes for theatre, radio and children’s television. She is the current ISAH/Traverse Theatre fellow for 2014/15. She teaches ‘Writing For Performance’ at Glasgow University, where she completed her practice as research PhD in Playwriting. She is a co-director of Unlimited Theatre, which she co-founded with Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe in 1997. Unlimited is resident at The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.

Clare will lead local writers in a workshop in the education room at Sumburgh Head on Saturday 16th January, with a focus on developing creative writing using the theme of living in extreme light conditions. Clare will be sharing research and lead a shared activity to complete the workshop. 

Download a summary of Clare's project here.

January 2016 - Follow up project by Jennifer Talbot

Jennifer Talbot will be resident at the flat in January to continue developing the work she began last February at Sumburgh.  Jenifer will attend Clare’s workshop on 16th January. Her new work is also on light and will complement well with Clare's written work.

Jennifer's work with felt and stitching also incorporates some photography.




28th January – 29th February: Shona Main

February also sees an artist return to Sumburgh Head. Shona Main visited Sumburgh Head last year to research and film a biography about Jenny Gilberts. She said “She was a real inspiration to me when I filmed Clavel and I have been thinking about doing something that honours her life for some time. Then I realised it was 25 years this year since she died and I thought I should do it now. Jenny has never really been given her rightful place in the history of documentary nor has her work as known as it should be. So I am going to write the book and make a documentary about her life and her films

Shona is returning to complete the writing and as part of her stay will arrange a film screening of Jenny Gilbertson’s film In Sheep’s Clothing on February 21st, with a new live score, written and performed by Barry David Nisbet, a fiddler from Yell. The event will be the Shetland premier of this, with Shona talking about her work.

2nd – 30th March: Jackie Lakely

Jackie Lakely is a mixed media artist living just outside Chicago. Her work is primarily focussed on environments and landscapes, often weaving between realistic subject matter and abstraction. For her sketchbooks, Jackie prefers realistic renderings of places and things she observes, in pencil and/or watercolor. Her larger paintings use several different sketches in one piece, along with her creative interpretation of the place. Jackie says “Often my larger paintings are recognisable as but not identified as specific places. I like to think of them as worlds I want to visit.”

Shetland has factored in Jackie’s work for decades, as she visited her mother’s family in Scalloway since childhood. For her, it has always been a magical place, as she recalls walking over the hill behind her grandparents’ house to find a giant pile of scallop shells to play in, among so many other memories of tide pools, picnics on various little islands and the mutually existing fear, respect and awe of the landscape and seas surrounding it.

Jackie’s residency work will be a combination of sketchbook pages filled with daily observations, along with several large pieces on paper and/or canvas, utilising sketches but creating land and seascapes using both real observations and imagination. She states “I would love the opportunity to immerse myself in painting the land and sea of Sumburgh Head for a month. It would be the opportunity of a lifetime to live at the Lighthouse and explore and draw and paint every day.”

April: Marianne Greated

Marianne Greated is an artist who works in paint, often situating this within the context of installation and sound. She has a particular interest in the environment which has included various collaborative projects relating to sound in the environment, the coast and renewable power.

Marianne is Lecturer in Painting and Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art. Her research interests include painting in an expanded field, the panorama, the relationship between sound and vision, contemporary landscape and representations of sustainability. In 2014 she received her PhD titled ‘Painting in a Sonic Environment’ and has published in the areas of sound and vision, painting and colour.

She has exhibited locally and internationally including solo exhibitions such as Sonitus, Bangalore, Feb ’08, Zvuk, Minsk Oct ’08 and Dead or Alive, London Mar ’09, Panorama, Delhi ’10, Autorama Mar ’11 Edinburgh, Panechoic Glasgow Sept ’11, Deux Chambres Feb ‘14 Edinburgh, Revolutions Apr ’15 Shetland and Hush Now… Sep’15 Orkney.

4th – 30th May: Joanne B. Kaar

Joanne Kaar will be Artist-in-Residence during May. Living in Dunnet, on Dunnet Head in Caithness, Joanne’s artwork takes inspiration from our heritage. As both participant and instigator of arts and heritage projects and collaborations, she has worked in Taiwan, South Korea, Iceland, USA, and also exhibited in Japan, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Finland.

Joanne's work is varied, and is as much at home in heritage centres and museums as art galleries – each artwork informed by research – drawing, stitching as mark making, print, photography, text and found objects (both natural and man-made) come together to make tactile work.

During her time at Sumburgh Head, Joanne proposes to make a series of ‘walking books’, documenting what she sees, with first hand drawings, annotated sketches, found objects and photography. She said “It’s important to experience the landscape/seascape first hand on a series of walks. So much information can be gathered by pen, paper, brush and camera, experiencing the outdoors, taking time to stop and look. Documenting not just the vast landscape, but the smaller details of patterns of lichens on fence posts and rocks, as well as human presence both past and present.”

Joanne will hold workshops for participants to make their own ‘walking books’.

June: Jan Yates

Jan Yates is a Canadian visual artist who is eager to exchange ideas and share work in-progress with visitors at Sumburgh Head. Jan is looking forward to painting the dramatic vistas from Sumburgh Head’s Education Centre during ‘Simmer Dim’- working at the same time of night throughout the residency on one very large canvas.

For the past decade in all seasons and weather Jan has made work outside on protected farmlands, remote coastlines and dense forests. She states: “The process of working on site is integral; cultivating an intimate dialogue with the earth’s growth, decay and renewal. These outdoor encounters are the catalysts for in-studio exploration, evolving into a cyclical body of work mapping a quest for preservation, while contemplating the consequence of change.

Since moving back to Canada from California, Jan has been elected as a member of the Society of Canadian Artists and her work is collected throughout North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards with recognition from the Ontario Arts Council. OAC international residency grants have also supported Yates’ work in Ireland and the Shetland Islands

2nd – 30th July: Carla Meijsen

Carla Meijsen is a well known Dutch author of two books on contemporary knitting design from traditional sources.  She will take up residency between 2nd and 30th July, using her time at Sumburgh Head to continue research of traditional knitting techniques which she develops to contemporary styles.

Carla studied to become a teacher of textile art. In 2008 and 2011 respectively, she completed the first two levels of The Knitting Guild of America’s Master Knitter certification. She is owner of the company The Dutch Knitters. Under this banner, Carla runs workshops and classes for advanced knitters in the Netherlands, and internationally. She also writes articles on knitting traditions and techniques as well as designing knitting patterns.

In October 2011, The Dutch Knitters’ first book was published – ‘Warm Hands – Estonian Mittens and Wrist Warmers’ and in 2014 the second book, ‘So Warm! - Twined Knitting’.

1st – 14th August: Liz Myhill and Lara Scouller

August will see a number of artists staying on the site. Firstly, Liz Myhill and Lara Scouller.

With a growing interest in anthropology, environment and the often uneasy balance struck between humans and nature, the work of Liz Myhill has formed distinct collections based around particular cultural, geographic, social and historical subjects. The Sumburgh Head residency will form a new episode in this series of explorations allowing her to study both changing land use and historical significance of the site alongside the flora and fauna which inhabit it.

Throughout the residency period Liz will be making works on site, both in the sketchbook as a visual diary and larger scale pieces in a variety of media including printmaking, watercolour and mixed media. An integral part of the process will be the gathering of natural fibres which will later be used to construct textural printmaking blocks, as will the collating of additional text based information, found objects etc.

On completion of the residency the location works will be developed in the studio and print workshop to create more considered final works which will be exhibited in 2017.

For Lara Scouller, the residency will play an integral part in a wider initiative she is undertaking which will take place over a year and involve practice-based research trips to different Scottish seabird colonies in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Shetland Islands and the Firth of Forth. Lara will create pastel drawings and prints in response to these unique locations, encapsulating a sense of place and the grand scale of the colonies.

Lara said “I would like to explore the unique characteristics of Sumburgh Head both in terms of the topology of the landscape and bird colonies that reside there. Unlike the other locations I have chosen, the residency will allow me to live and work in very close proximity to the large puffin colony.”

On the completion of the field trips, Lara will develop the studies and sketchbook work into more complete compositions. This will be in preparation for an exhibition in Edinburgh in 2017.

16th – 31st August: Clare Duffy

Clare will be returning to Sumburgh Head in August for a live performance of work written at Sumburgh. This is an ambitious work on the theme of the effects of living with Extreme Light and part of a wider residency project in Canada and the Arctic Circle.

September – October: Julia Barton

Littoral is a Science and Art investigation into beach litter, taking its name from the littoral zone: the area between the low and high tide marks. Artist Julia Barton began Littoral in 2013 to visually explores ways to draw attention to the volume and effects if beach litter. To date Julia has worked with schools and communities on the west coast of Scotland, creating collaborative artworks designed to sensitise viewers to unseen litter and the need to take action.

2nd – 30th November: Ellis O’Connor

Ellis O’Connor is a visual artist working in photography, drawing, and printmaking. She uses this visual language to challenge assumptions about the natural environment, to reinterpret the grandeur of natural land forms, and to re-present this visual information laden with power.

Ellis travels consistently around the North of Scotland, the Islands, and the Northern Isles and has recently spent a significant period of time in Iceland. Each place she explores is different, the landscape is very much distinctive and separate from every other one and it is there where she finds the direct inspiration and draw for her work.

She said “My drawings are large scale, gestural, and sweeping, in imitation of the landforms themselves. Within these remote and exposed places I go to, there is a feeling of powerful atmosphere and through my work I invite the viewer to feel the powerful presence of the landscape and the textures and marks that we do not necessarily notice.”

Ellis’ prints are layered and tactile, responding not only to the land-forms but the textual rock surfaces as well. As her work has developed, it is the internalised grandeur of the landforms that take precedence. These are slightly abstracted from their original source, and start to signify on a spatial level, in imitation of land contours themselves.

December: Rhiannon Inman

Rhiannon Inman is a British artist currently based in Bergen, Norway. Her practice focuses on the physical and the imaginative experience of landscape, and in the bodily experience of moving through and being within a place.

 Connections are made between geography, body and time; walking is a way of understanding place. Painting is at the core of Rhiannon’s practice, although her work spans media encompassing writing, drawing and installation.

 Parallel to painting, she has been working on collecting and exploring the use of natural pigments. The process involves collecting an object when walking (for example moss, rock or earth), from which she make a pigment; this pigment is used as a drawing material, in the form of pastels or dyes, or as a sculptural object in itself. Rhiannon says she is fascinated by mapping, recording, marking: tracing the shape of a walk. She has been documenting the walks with text, and these writings have recently come together in an artist book.

 Rhiannon said “I am always drawn to northerly locations and have long been fascinated by Shetland; it’s wild, windswept landscape, rich history and position at the very north of the British Isles. Having lived in Norway for the last two years, I am also interested in Shetland as a place where the country I am from, and the country I live in, come together and have a shared history. Shetland has a strong hold on my imagination, and I feel it would be a perfect setting to continue to develop my current body of work.”