*Planning for the next Shona Projects event is currently underway, keep checking here and the blog for future announcements.
Taking place on a remote island in North West Scotland called Eilean Shona, Shona Projects aims to create a unique learning experience for a group of participants who come from a range of creative backgrounds.
Shona Projects provides participants with the opportunity to directly engage with an annual programme of activity based around specific themes. Each programme will include talks, discussions, workshops, interventions and performance, all presented within the unique experience of inhabiting an unpopulated island.
Artists, writers, cultural theorists, academics and scientists will be invited to contribute to each programme and take part in each event, to ensure a variation of backgrounds, disciplines and interests which will in turn generate a live resource of ideas. Through this experience, participants will collectively learn about diverse and non-arts specific topics that can inform their artistic and creative practices for the future.
To document thoughts, responses and ideas generated through each programme, participants will have the opportunity to contribute to the Shona Projects Blog.
Each programme will also be documented and presented on the Archive page of this website.
Shona Projects launched in November 2015 with a Pilot Weekend. Information about Shona Projects Pilot can be found here.
Further information about Eilean Shona can be found here.
Eilean Shona Guardian
The Shona Projects Pilot Weekend took place on Eilean Shona during Friday 20 – Monday 23 November 2015. The weekend included a programme of talks, workshops, performance and intervention that explored ideas around the human sensory experience, exaggerated by the island’s natural qualities and physical remoteness.
Responses to the Pilot Weekend have been uploaded on the Shona Projects Blog.
Participants in the Pilot Weekend were:
> Erin Busswood recently graduated from the MFA programme at Glasgow School of Art. Previous to that she studied Sociology at Simon Fraser University and Photography at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Erin’s practice explores the dynamics and locations that enable people to present and perform versions of their ‘selves’, whilst searching to connect with one another and the natural world.
> Ceylan Hay is a musician/composer/sound artist currently studying Music and Social Anthropology at University of Edinburgh. Ceylan is the founding member of sound/visuals group Sonically Depicting and explores natural and urban landscapes through field recording within her practice. She has collaborated on projects with dancers, performance artists, poets, musicians and artists and recently performed as part of Maria Fusco’s ‘Master Rock’, produced by Artangel and BBC Radio 4.
> Jo Hodges is an artist and curator with a background in community development and Human Ecology. Jo has a diverse research led practice that explores new ways of thinking around art, society, technology and science. Jo co-curates Sanctuary, an annual 24-hour public art event in the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park.
> Joanna Helfer is an artist working across a range of disciplines including performance, printmaking, photography and installation. Jo uses walking and journeys as an undercurrent to all of her practice, and is interested in a range of themes such as the strengths and limitations of the human body, comparing urban and rural contexts, the role of art within community and the politics of safety and gender.
> Frank McElhinney is an artist whose current project involves visiting and photographing sites of abandoned crofts throughout the highlands and islands, flying a kite to gain an aerial perspective. He is interested in how remote living influences our perception of life and the world around us and how our history is written into the landscape.
> Bryony McIntyre is a member of Arika which is an organisation and programme of events that celebrate and investigate the aesthetic registers of sociality and ways in which political desires and struggles are embodied and manifested in every day life as people create and produce their lives and worlds together. Which is a way of saying that she is interested in ways we dance, listen, speak, look, be seen, feel and be felt.
> Fay Stevens is an archaeologist, curator and artist (performance and visual) who is engaged with sensory experience of landscape. Fay specialises in the philosophical school of phenomenology as a critical, creative and practical lens through which she works. As an archaeologist, Fay researches and publishes on a phenomenology of landscape. Elemental interplay, perception, memory, in situ practice and the haptic qualities of objects are subjects she has published on.
> Nicola White is an Irish writer and producer based on the Rosneath Peninsula on the Firth of Clyde. Her first novel In The Rosary Garden (Cargo) won the 2013 Dundee International Book Prize and was shortlisted for The Deanston Prize. Her short stories and critical writing have been widely published in journals and anthologies and broadcast on radio. She has recently completed a collaborative audio project with artist Mark Vernon and musician Bill Wells, entitled ‘Songs for Someone New’, which takes the form of a ‘radio ballad’ and is inspired by the ability of children in the womb to hear music and recognise individual voices.
Invited contributors to the programme were:
> Lights Out Listening Group is a unique listening event that takes place in almost complete darkness. It is a bi-monthly event organisaed by Monica Brown, a radio producer and reporter who also works in prison radio and Mark Vernon, a sound artist working primarily in the fields of radio, performance and works for fixed media. Lights Out Listening Group hope to form a community of sound makers through putting people in touch so that they can get advice, support and feedback on their work and possibly find new audiences and new people to work with.
> Urara Tsuchiya is an artist who works with performance, video and installation to explore environments where the viewer is challenged to negotiate their own personal and physical boundaries.
> Paul Kindersley is an artist, makeup enthusiast, pervert and video broadcaster. He is a long time collaborator with Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, and has collaborated with Urara Tsuchiya for several projects.
> Dr Pratika Dayal is the Addison Wheeler Fellow in Cosmology at Durham University.
> Gavin Parsons is a lecturer for the University of the Highlands and Islands and teaches a module on the Island Studies programme called ‘From Muckle Flugga to Pladda’. He is based at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye which is Scotland’s only college of further and higher education providing courses taught through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.
Eilean Shona measures two and a half miles long by one and a half wide and is only accessible by boat. The island is situated next to Loch Moidart just off the West coast of Scotland. The Ardnamurchan peninsula is to the south, the isles of Eigg, Muck and Rhum to the west and Skye to the north. One main house and seven other buildings including holiday cottages, a bothy, a community hall and an old schoolhouse are situated on the island.
The island is currently unpopulated.
Due to the location of Eilean Shona it is best to come directly by car to Castle Tioram. Then you will be taken by a small boat 10minutes to the island.
For each programme a car share plan to get to Castle Tioram will be suggested.
Map of Eilean Shona
Map to Castle Tioram
History of Eilean Shona
Eilean Shona used to be populated with a number of crofters until the middle of the 18th century. Seafaring Captain Swinburne used the main house on the island as a small hunting lodge in the middle of the 19th century. At the end of the 19th century, the main house was remodeled to double its size, commissioned by its then owner Mr. Thompson and designed by Robert Lorimer, who planned a large amount of Edinburgh’s New Town.
J.M. Barrie rented Eilean Shona in the 1920’s for a summer holiday. Influenced by the island and his company of Michael Llewelyn Davies and friends, Barrie is thought to have written both the screenplay of Peter Pan and the ghost story, Mary Rose, whilst on Eilean Shona.
Eilean Shona was given to Lady Howard De Walden as a wedding present by her future husband in the 1930’s. The De Walden family made significant improvements to the grounds and gardens on the island at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then Eilean Shona has been owned by three other families and has belonged to the Devereux-Branson family since 1995.
To ensure longevity beyond the event and the island, participants are invited to contribute directly to the Shona Projects Blog to create an archive of experience and ideas.
Each event will be identified by adaptions to the Shona Projects logo.
To see documentation from each event please click on the corresponding logo below.
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