CAIR | 2024

CAIR: Community Artist in Residence (formerly Caithness Artist in Residence) has returned for 2024! We have a brand new cohort of artists working across Caithness and North Sutherland specialising in various different art forms. More info on our wonderful team of artists below…

 

 

Micah MacKay

 

Artist Bio

My name is Micah Mackay and I am an emerging screenwriter, theatre-maker, and historian. I was raised in a rural community on the South Coast of England and was born in an even more rural community in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. I’m now based in Edinburgh, although I work part-time for An Tobar and Mull Theatre, a multi-arts organisation on the Isle of Mull. 

After a spell in academia studying for a PhD looking at medieval carols, I decided to pursue my writing career. In 2021, I wrote, performed, and produced a poetry-film, When Women Speak Out, which combined martial arts movement with a poem reflecting on my own experience of abuse and read by fellow survivors of abuse. I then completed a short-course in screenwriting with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2022. Following this my debut screenplay, Number 7, was shortlisted for the Edinburgh TV Festival/All3Media New Writers’ Collective in 2023. I am an alumna of the Traverse Young Writers’ Programme, where I developed the initial concept for my project with LAC. In addition to my LAC residency I am also currently developing my first full-length play, Mad! (As a Hatter): A Looking Glass Story. 

I am hugely excited to be combining my interests in visual theatre, physical theatre, and socially-engaged practice as an LAC Community Artist-in-Residence. I am eager to explore how we can tell stories by combining different artistic mediums – from movement, to writing, and even ideas relating to play. I also firmly believe in the ability of the arts to empower, inspire, and heal. I look forward to working with Caithness and Sutherland Women’s Aid to develop my practice and ensure that opportunities to create, explore, and harness one’s voice are accessible to all.

Project

The National Rural Crime Network released a report in 2019 which found that abuse lasts 25% longer on average in rural areas and that victims are less likely to seek help than those in urban areas.

My project will explore experiences of domestic abuse in rural communities through creative workshops exploring connections between movement, writing, and play and how these different creative elements can be used in the process of healing and to explore and use one’s voice.

 

 

 

Aimee Lockwood

 

Artist Bio

I’m an illustrator and comic maker based in Scrabster, where I create colourful work inspired by folklore, history, conservation, and the natural world. 

After graduating with a degree in English Literature in 2009 I quickly started looking for ways to combine my passion for stories with my love of drawing, and took a course at what was then Telford College to learn the ins and outs of professional illustration. Not long after that I decided I wanted to have a go at writing the stories myself, and got into making comics! 

Comics have taken me all over the country, travelling to attend conventions and events where I’ve sold my own self-published books (and bought plenty more from other creators). That led to me producing a full-length poetry comic in 2021, and I’m currently working on a long-form non-fiction comic about British mythology. In 2014 I began running comics workshops with a group of other creators in Edinburgh, and found it immensely rewarding to see what the young people we worked with produced!

I recently returned home to the far north after living in Edinburgh for 15 years, and have been getting steadily reacquainted with the landscape and culture of this beautiful place. It’s been a change of pace, but one that’s allowed me the time and space I need to focus on making comics alongside my regular illustration work. I’m looking forward to exploring Caithness again, both through comics and on foot!

 

Project

While living away I began self-publishing small press comics and found an incredible, supportive community of creators across the country. I’d love to help young comics fans in Caithness create a similar community here!

With that in mind I’d like to use the residency to create a “Caithness Comics Club”. The club will bring young people in Thurso and the surrounding areas together under a shared interest in making comics, giving them a space to explore new ways of storytelling and creating art as well as a place to meet and collaborate with like-minded folk. 

Participants in the club will have the opportunity to have their comics published in an anthology of “Caithness Futures”, a collection of stories inspired by young people’s hopes, fears, and expectations for the future of the far north. We’ll use comics as a tool to explore Caithness as it is, was, and could be!

Caithness Comics Club is now full – big thanks to everyone that signed up!

For more information on the club, please click here

 

 

Arron Sparks

 

Artist Bio

Arron is a performance maker and adventurer. Arron has spent the last 15 years working as a professional juggler and performance maker, creating live shows and touring the globe.

In the last 3 years Arron’s focus has shifted away from the circus and become increasingly interested in nature. 

‘I’m now a qualified Mountain Leader and work as an outdoor practitioner at a children’s nursery in the Highlands where I love playing and making stories with the children. I’m excited to meet new collaborators, try new approaches and discover new ideas with the Caithness community.’

 

Project

Through play with people aged 3-5 years old, together we will create stories. The stories will be set in Caithness and North Sutherland and will explore ideas around friendship, nature and adventure. Creative sessions will range in style and format, from improvised imaginative games to fine art sessions.

At the end of the process we may put on a show, make a video or just tell some stories around a campfire, it all depends on where the project takes us. There will be some form of documentation of the project and the stories we create, which will remain available at Lyth Arts Centre.

If your nursery class would like to be involved then get in touch with info@lytharts.org.uk

Details of coming workshops with Arron will be released soon

 

Caitlin Forbes

 

Artist Bio

Caitlin is a performing artist with a BA Musical Theatre from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She works across all aspects of musical theatre – acting, singing, dancing and instrumental musicianship.  She is very excited about working with young people on her home turf to create theatre inspired by their relationship with Caithness.

 

Project

A Love Letter to Caithness. 

This project will explore young people’s relationship to Caithness to create a performance based “love letter”.  What are the pros and cons of living in Caithness? What’s it like to grow up here? To work here? To be from here? And What form will the love letter take? How loving will the letter be? That’s for the young people to decide.

This project is part of LAC’s Caithness Young Creatives programme. If you are 13 – 17 years old and would like to take part then please email info@lytharts.org.uk for more information

 

Ross Mann

 

Artist Bio

Ross is an actor, writer and artist from the highlands in the northeast of Scotland. He has spent fifteen years in the arts working across film, theatre and television. His creative practice in writing and performance has been supported by The Arches, Vanishing Point and The National Theatre of Scotland. 

His work currently focuses on grief, isolation and mental health. ‘I like to explore the happiness that can be reclaimed from these themes. I’m excited to explore this in the North Highlands as the area and people were formative to myself and continue to act as a great inspiration in my work.’

Project

‘In a gentle and relaxed conversation, I would like to remember and recall memories of those who are no longer with us. I would like to give participants the opportunity to share the little things that were unique to those relationships. A fun name for a common household item or a special countryside route or destination. Maybe we then walk that route or create a map of some sort….Mostly it’s about enjoying remembering.’

Ross would like to connect with anyone involved in the planning and act of burials at sea as part of his project research. If you would like to get in touch with Ross for more information or to be involved then please email info@lytharts.org.uk

 

Frances Davis

 

Artist Bio

Frances is an art-worker based in Central Sutherland. Frances’ practice takes form in various ways – in work as a curator, artist, researcher, and educator. Recent projects have focused on the specific impacts of larger systems at smaller scales, particularly in the context of climate breakdown. Most recently, this has included work with environmental scientists focusing on the affective, emotional experience of doing climate change research and writing on the weather as a subject in film and artist moving image. 

Project 

Let’s talk about the weather. 

Oscar Wilde supposedly once said that talking about the weather was the last refuge of the unimaginative and, as a topic of conversation, the weather is generally understood as a way to pass the time with someone else without saying much about anything at all. But, in a time of climate breakdown, talking about the weather can’t be neutral and thinking about how we live together in a world of changing weather requires all the imagination we can bring. 

‘For this project, I will share conversations with people who monitor the weather in some way in their daily lives – surfers checking the winds, peatland researchers tracking rainfall, community gardeners watching for frosts – to produce a collective weather report of a changing climate drawing on the embodied experiences and observations of people across Caithness and Sutherland.’

If you would like to get in touch with Frances for more information or to be involved then please email info@lytharts.org.uk

 

Laura O'Kane

 

Artist Bio

Laura is a textile designer and illustrator, specialising in hand-painted designs for storytellers, dreamers and colour enthusiasts. Drawing inspiration from the enduring vibrancy of nature and the culture, rituals, folklore and magic that make up the tapestry of our existence, her imaginative and uplifting designs grace interiors, fashion and giftware products for clients across the globe.

Laura grew up in Halkirk, attending Thurso High School before studying at the Scottish School of Textile, Galashiels. Following a rewarding career as a full-time creative professional, Laura returned to Caithness with her family in 2019.

 

Project 

Laura is collaborating with RASASH (Rape & Sexual Abuse Service Highland) on a design-led project called “Textiles as Talisman, Ritual of Creation” inviting participants to create a beautiful and meaningful textile garment, brought to life through a series of creative and expressive art workshops.

Garments and adornment are important forms of creative expression. Through creative workshops and design-led development, this project invites participants to take a journey of discovery and unlock their own creative potential. The empowering project will focus on the transformation of inspiration, intention and the inner creative voice into a beautiful and meaningful garment. 

‘We will experiment with colour, expressive ink and watercolour painting, creative collage and mark making, explore textile communication through symbolism, pattern, scale and motif – all to develop a portfolio of creative design concepts. We will develop an understanding of design theory and application and together create a final design for a silk scarf, exploring the individual narrative of each designer. ‘

RASASH provides free, confidential support and information to anyone affected by sexual violence in Highland (age 13+). This includes survivors of sexual violence and their non-abusing partners, friends, and families. RASASH support all genders – women, men, non-binary, and trans. Their service is women-led and trauma-informed.