Remembering Together Highland

 

“A great bell is not to be silenced. Consider too its simplicity. There is no hidden mechanism. All that it is is plain and open; and if it is moved it must ring.”

Iris Murdoch

 

 

TOLL is a response to the past and present impact of the pandemic on a range of different communities in the Highlands, led by Sinéad Hargan, Cat Meighan and Hector MacInnes, and forms part of the wider Remembering Together project.

Sinéad, Cat and Hector are creating a mass participation artwork involving the carrying and ringing of multiple bells, each with a short inscription drawn from activity around the pandemic with vulnerable communities. 

 

Three years after the pandemic began, how would you answer the question “what just happened”? How would the people around you answer the same question? How would your community answer it? With such a wide range of individual experiences, positive and negative, peaceful and chaotic, often developing in isolation from those nearby, how could a story or a history of these years ever be recorded?

The first phase of TOLL gathered answers to this question from communities and individuals the length and breadth of the Highland region. We conversed, listened, and shared our collective and individual experiences. From this engagement, the artists developed a creative response to these answers, ideas and suggestions from those who participated.

 

Engagement session with Cromarty Youth Cafe

 

Sinéad, Cat and Hector have worked with a range of communities and individuals in different settings and locations to supplement the research conducted in phase one, finding the individual, the idiosyncratic, the unrepresentative and the turbulent. They have worked together to create written contributions or statements which will be inscribed on handbells. The contributions will hold and retell the stories, emotions, and responses of the people of the Highlands.

These handbells are currently being fabricated by bell makers Daniel Freyne and David Snoo Wilson from a forge at Ratho, nr Edinburgh. The letters from each inscription will then be individually hand punched into the metal. 

 

Daniel Freyne and David Snoo Wilson

Fabrication of the bells

 

Groups and individuals will participate in travelling with the bells collectively and individually through various routes on a procession through the Highlands in early June. We are currently working to finalise these routes with each stage being open to the public.

The entire route as a whole will be documented by our filmmaker Mike Webster.  Mike is an Award-winning director, camera operator and filmmaker. He has been around the world and back again working on documentaries such as Shooting in the Jungles of the Amazon, The Deserts of Africa, and the Tundra Of Antarctica. When he’s not globe trotting, Mike still lives and works from his home of Inverness.

Mike’s film will be shared in the Autumn and will exist as a legacy of the project alongside the physical bells. 

 

 

Mike Webster

 

Finally, these bells will then be held by trusted custodians. Those who may wish to ring them now or in the future, and to keep them for future generations to come and ring.

These custodians will be in the form of community groups, individuals and organisations and will become part of a distributed archive.

 

 

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UPDATE: WED 31 MAY 2023 | Phase 1: Creative Community Consultation

UPCOMING EVENTS

In person and online events for Highland Memory Space Phase #1 will be taking place across the Highlands in June 2023

  • June 1st, 7pm – Inverness Gathering for Creatives @ Circus Artspace 
  • June 3rd, 1.30pm – Public Chat and Sensory Walk, Broadford 
  • June 9th, time TBC – Brora Heritage Society 
  • June 5th, 11.30am-5pm – Drop-In Activities, Isle of Eigg Cafe 
  • June 22nd, 6pm – Dunnet Forest Sound Walk 

We have three installations of public online engagement for our Highland Memory Space project

  • June 25th – Online meeting on a theme of Joy – details coming soon
  • July 26th – Online meeting on a theme of Futures – details coming soon
  • July 4th – Online meeting on a theme of Grief 

If you might be interested in hosting us for an event, please do get in touch. We welcome contact from specific groups and communities that would identify as having been particularly impacted by the pandemic, or from public facing organisations interested in taking part. Our email address is hmspace@lytharts.org.uk

This project is our Phase 1 creative community consultation. It is led by Highland based artists Hector MacInnes (Isle of Skye), Sinéad Hargan (Caithness) and Cat Meighan (Inverness) and produced by Lyth Arts Centre.

We are engaging with people across the Highlands by exploring our memory of the last three years. We hope you can join us in creating a way for the people of the Highlands to collectively remember, reflect on, heal from, and mark the pandemic. This project is part of the Scottish Government and greenspace Scotland’s ‘Remembering Together’ project.

The creative input from these activities will inform a bank of ideas we create for Phase 2 of the project; the delivery of a memorial project across the Highlands over 2023-2024. This could take many different forms. A book, a picnic, a walking trail, a travelling exhibition or a gathering across the Highlands. That’s for all of us to decide.

We have also created a library of activities focused on our sensory memory of the pandemic. These activities can be done at home, outdoors, in schools or community groups. They are themed around Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch. Please have a look and send us your creative responses. www.highlandmemory.space

Useful Links

It is important to note that this is a space for those who want to begin to process the last three years through the lens of artistic engagement. If you are struggling with grief or isolation, and need help and support, then here are some helplines and groups you can contact:

We work with adults (aged 18 and over) who are lonely and isolated, and live within the Highland Region of Scotland.

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UPDATE: MON 27 MARCH | Highland Memory Space Website Launch

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the very first covid-19 lockdown in the UK. And today we open up the Highland Memory Space website to the public.

Highland Memory Space is an artist-led place for the people of the Highlands to collectively remember, reflect on, heal from, and mark the pandemic.

This is a space for you to take part and share your responses.

There are lots of different creative and sensory activities you can choose from all under the themes of Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste and Smell.

Please have a roam around the website for more info and pick out some activities that suit you. You can send us your responses to hmspace@lytharts.org.uk

We are looking forward to collecting responses and input from communities across the Highland Council Area. These responses will inform what the final commemorative work will be next year. It could be a book, a festival, a touring show, a forest, an exhibition. It’s for the people of the Highlands to decide, so get in touch through responding to our website activities!

From the project lead artists – Sinéad Hargan, Hector McInnes & Cat Meighan

Head over to the Highland Memory Space here to get involved.

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Remembering Together is a national programme of remembrance managed by greenspace scotland, bringing together communities and artists and creative practitioners in collective acts of reflection, remembrance, hope and healing. Supported with funding provided by the Scottish Government, memorial projects are being co-created in every local authority area of Scotland to honour the people we have lost, mark what has changed in our lives and preserve the best of what we learned and created together during the pandemic.

LAC has teamed up with Greenspace Scotland as the delivery partner for Highland.

Our 3 artists that will deliver the project are;

Cat Meighan, from Inverness is a socially engaged contemporary art practitioner and producer, whose practice includes painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation. Hector MacInnes, a sound artist, musician and producer from the Isle of Skye, works with installation, text, composition and radio. Finally, based in Caithness, Sinéad Hargan is a multi-disciplinary artist working with live performance, participatory performance, sound, and film. Sinéad’s work is often centred around acts of collective grieving. 

Based in Caithness, Skye, and Inverness, all three have previously collaborated as part of the national Culture Collective project, working with communities particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sinéad said ‘We’re looking forward to bringing our shared collaborative practice to this project, and to working with a range of communities all across the Highlands. We understand that this is a really diverse and expansive region, and we want to respect that, while finding shareable, possible and Highland ideas about commemoration.’ 

The role of the Remembering Together artist in every part of Scotland is to work with people in ways that are inclusive and relevant with the emphasis on co-creation. As part of the project a learning plan supports artists in communities and acknowledges that we are working in a diversifying Scotland and in a climate emergency. The pandemic is not over, we are living in times of change, and as such co-creating with care is a fundamental value supporting the programme. 

Each local authority area has its own page on the Remembering Together website for local updates. Keep an eye on this page and our social channels for updates on the project. 

More info on our blog here