Artistic duo land residency on Harris, Mull and Iona

Dr Saskia Coulson.

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Colin Tennant.

Award-winning partnership Dr Saskia Coulson and Colin Tennant have been appointed artists in residence for South West Mull and Iona Development and North Harris Trust by Community Land Scotland.

The duo are among three new commissions for artists to work with community land owners across Scotland to tell their story.

The artists were chosen from a competitive pitch – and their work over the next four months will explore the impact of community land ownership on the community. Their residencies will be interpreted as appropriate during Covid-19 restrictions and elements of it may be virtual.

Working in partnership with The Stove Network at Mid Steeple Quarter Dumfries, Community Landowners aims to raise awareness of community landownership both to communities and to Scotland by taking new approaches to telling the stories of post purchase community landowners, and the wider story of community ownership across Scotland.

This project will explore what happens when a community takes ownership of an estate, woodland or urban farm and how that affects the community itself and its relationship the land.

‘We are bringing artists and community landowners together to work collaboratively over a period of four months finding creative and active ways to hear, learn and share their stories,’ says Linsay Chalmers, development manager at Community Land Scotland.

‘The relationship between people and the land inspired Scottish artists and musicians for hundreds of years, but the story of modern community landownership is yet to be fully explored.

‘We have had a terrific response from a wide variety of artists across Scotland working in very different mediums, and it has been a privilege to read their proposals and very hard to select the final successful three.

‘We hope the project will ultimately culminate in an exhibition of their works
for everyone to see.’

The ‘Stories of Radical Landownership’ commission will focus on the journeys of four communities, Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, North Harris Trust, South West Mull and Iona Development and Bridgend Farmhouse in Edinburgh.

Winning artist partnership Dr Saskia Coulson and Colin Tennant, who develop projects through the lens of a camera, both film and still photography were delighted to have been selected.

‘This project means a lot to us both with regards to telling the wider story of community landownership in Scotland today and collaborating with individual Community Trusts to highlight their individual journeys.

‘We are excited to be working on a project of such significance in Scotland and one which we hope can have a real impact in the ongoing developments of community buy out initiatives across the country.’

Environmental artist and creative educator Richard Bracken from Drumnadrochit, has been appointed to work directly with the community landowners and tell the story of Abriachan Forest Trust by Loch Ness while Sculptor and printmaker Virginia Hutchison from Lewis will work with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) on the Isle of Lewis.