The Culture Collective is a national pilot programme which will establish a network of creative practitioners, organisations and communities, working together to create a positive difference locally and nationally in response to COVID-19.
In February 2021, Creative Scotland distributed £5.9m to 26 lead organisations across Scotland to collaboratively develop ways of responding to the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.
The Culture Collective will focus on community engaged creative activity, supporting participatory approaches and projects where creative practitioners and communities work collaboratively. A key element of this will be proactively responding to the impact of COVID-19, providing employment opportunities for creative practitioners and actively engaging people in shaping the future cultural life of their community.
Working collectively is central to the programme at a local and national level. Each of the supported organisations and creative practitioners will be required to collaborate with communities locally but also to work together as a national collective. With the support of a central coordinator (Culture Collective Programme Lead, Kathryn Welch) who will oversee the programme, this includes the ongoing sharing of progress; attendance at national meetings and events; and participation in an evaluation of the pilot.
Highland Culture Collective
Fèis Rois is the administrative lead for the Highland Culture Collective, meaning that Fèis Rois has been awarded £300,000 by Creative Scotland. Fèis Rois views itself as an equal partner in this collaborative project, which also includes Highland Third Sector Interface, Eden Court, Highland Print Studio, Lyth Arts Centre and North Lands Creative.
Working together, this group of organisations has offered 6 new full-time jobs to artists in the Highlands.
Highland Culture Collective will respond to the impact of the pandemic on the environment and on the following communities of people:
- People impacted by the pandemic, including, for example, older people, their families and carers.
- Women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse.
- Those affected by the justice system, including offenders, those at risk of offending, and those with a family member in prison.
- Gaelic learners who have struggled with language acquisition over the past year, e.g. children and young people who attend GME but who do not have Gaelic at home.
Meet the team
Lauren Hendry, Project Manager
Lauren Hendry is an arts producer from the Black Isle, who has spent the last 15 years creating and producing contemporary circus and theatre. She trained at the National Centre for Circus Arts, has an MA Arts, Festival & Cultural Management, and has worked with Tron Theatre, National Centre for Circus Arts and as an independent producer.
“I’m so excited to work together with the Highland Culture Collective’s artists in residence, to co-create projects with those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. By building on the existing collaborations between Highland arts organisations which span a variety of art forms, I hope that the project will make a positive difference to communities across the region, helping to move forward from the pandemic and bring some joy to us all.”
Hector MacInnes, Artist in Residence who will work with people impacted by the criminal justice system
Hector MacInnes is a sound artist from the Isle of Skye. He works with installation, spoken word, composition and speculative design, often in collaboration with communities and other artists, and his practice revolves around exploring the Highlands and Islands – and the people who live there, in all their different capacities – as engines of rural futurism.
“I’m genuinely really excited about the potential of this residency, the Highland Culture Collective and the Culture Collective project as a whole. The arts are absolutely thriving in the Highlands at the moment, and the themes that we will be working with around social justice, the climate, the experiences of young people, the importance of language… Highland communities are in many ways leading on these discussions. After such a tough year I’m delighted to have an opportunity to show how artists and communities working together will be vital to these themes – as well as to how we move forward from everything that’s happened in the last year.”
Artair Donald, Gaelic Artist in Residence
Artair Donald was brought up on the Isle of Tiree and has been acting professionally for over 30 years. He has performed on radio, stage, television and film. He is known for his regular appearances on the Gaelic TV soap Machair (STV) and appearing on Rab C. Nesbitt and Eilbheas (BBC Scotland). Recent credits include Outlander and Mary Queen of Scots. In addition to broadcast, he has also been working in theatre particularly Gaelic theatre development for many years, including with Cartoon Theatre. Artair regularly leads drama workshops with Secondary and Primary schools culminating in public performances and over several years he was the Artistic Director of the Gaelic Drama Summer School run by Fèisean nan Gàidheal. Recently he has returned to making puppet videos for young people as resource material and entertainment.
“I am really looking forward to getting started on this exciting new project with Highland Culture Collective. I will be engaging with all partners to develop projects that will benefit the communities and will use my drama skills and experience to encourage and develop confidence in Gaelic usage”.
Catriona Meighan, Artist in Residence who will be working with women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse
Catriona is a socially engaged contemporary art practitioner and producer, whose practice looks to the expanded field of painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation. Active in several artist collectives and collaborative groups since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2013, she relocated to the Highlands in 2015 to concentrate on organising peer-led projects, workshop facilitation and freelance teaching. She is also a founding member of Circus Artspace.
“I am delighted to be part of this project, to have the opportunity to work closely with community groups adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, engaging over a sustained period. It is so encouraging to see the Culture Collective network creating opportunities for creative practitioners and communities who stand to benefit through deep engagement, support, and a clear sense of working together for everyone’s collective benefit.”
Evija Laivina, Artist in Residence based at Highland Print Studio
Evija Laivina was born in Latvia and moved to Scotland in 2009, where she explored portrait photography and conceptual photography. She graduated BA Hons in Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice from UHI in 2019. Evija works in photography and performance, and experiments by exploring different mediums. Her series Beauty Warriors received international recognition and was awarded LensCulture 2017 Portrait Award and was nominated for a prestigious German journalism prize, Henry Nannen Preis, in 2019. Her photography has been exhibited in Switzerland, Spain, Latvia, and Scotland and is represented by Masterpiece Edition Gallery in Germany. Evija lives and works in Inverness, where she has a studio at Inverness Creative Academy.
“I am very excited to join the Highland Culture Collective. This is a great opportunity to work with an amazing team at Highland Print Studio, learn new techniques, create new connections and most importantly, work with the local community.”
Sinéad Hargan, Artist in Residence co-hosted by North Lands Creative and Lyth Arts Centre, exploring the impact of the pandemic on the environment
Sinéad is a Scottish artist and graduate of Contemporary Performance Practice from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and works in live performance, movement, sound and film. Deeply rooted in her practice is the desire to explore our relationship with the earth in the midst of spiralling ecological devastation. She is interested in the sea, its tides, shifting and ephemeral tidal sites, Scottish and Irish myth and folklore. She is excited to create new rituals and radically reshape extinct or endangered traditions in order to access a deeper understanding and care for the world around us.
“During my time as Artist in Residence I am excited to use collaborative making methodologies to explore the environment and coastlines of Caithness. I want the arts to be visible and valued and routed in community history, in collaborative history, and I am thrilled to be supported by the Highland Culture Collective, who promote and encourage the practices of co-design, co-authorship and communities as co-creators.”