Tell West Coast’s climate change story in pictures

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West Coast residents are being invited to submit photographs and artwork for an exhibition showing the impact of climate change on Scotland.

The Visions of Climate Heritage competition, run by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), was launched this month ahead of the UN climate change summit, called COP26, hosted by Scotland this November.

As part of the competition, HES will crowdsource images and artwork to tell Scotland’s climate story – past, present and future – through an online exhibition which will harness the power of Scotland’s historic environment and cultural heritage to inspire climate action.

Skara Brae on Orkney, Europe’s most complete Neolithic village, abandoned around 2,500BC. Photographs courtesy HES

The entries must align with one of the three themes: ‘The Past was a Different Place’; ‘This is an Emergency’; or ‘A Greener Future’. Images can include a historic photograph that illustrates a less informed time before we first learned about climate change and began to see its impact; a moment of extreme weather, which is becoming more common in Scotland, and the impact it brings to our homes, streets and natural heritage; or a creative artwork such as a painting or sculpture which showcases a green, low carbon Scotland.

There will be £750 in prizes available across the categories, which include Best Photograph, Best Mobile Photograph, Best Artwork, and Young Creative Awards for those aged between 12-17. Images will be judged on their ability to tell a story, as well as their visual interest, impact and relevance to the historic environment and climate change in Scotland. The competition will close on Tuesday November 30, with the shortlisted and winning entries forming part of an online exhibition.

Alison Turnbull, director of development and partnership at HES, said: ‘Our historic environment and cultural heritage are on the front line of our changing climate, and both are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Through careful monitoring, research and investigation we can better understand how to tackle climate change and where there are opportunities to take action to make a difference.

‘To get Scotland to net-zero, we need transformative change, and culture and heritage have the power to tell the stories about who we are and where we’ve come from, as well as pointing to where we want to go.

‘Visions of Climate Heritage is the first crowdsourcing competition that HES has run so we are really excited to see the creative ways in which people respond to the brief, and with three prizes on offer for 12-17 year-olds as part of our Young Creative Awards, we are particularly interested in engaging young people with this project.

‘Whether it’s delving into the family archives, scrolling through mobile phone photographs, or creating a work of art such as a sculpture or painting, we’re encouraging everyone to get involved to help us tell Scotland’s climate story.

‘By showcasing how the Scotland our ancestors built has changed over centuries as well as the impact that changes in the 21st century are having – from the rise in homeworking during the COVID-19 pandemic to the adoption of greener methods of travel – we can play our part in responding to the climate emergency and ensure that our past helps to shape our future.’

For further information or to enter the competition, visit the HES website, www.historicenvironment.scot