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"I didn’t know what to expect when CiRCUS Artspace welcomed me as their first Fellow. I was fresh out of art school and eager to keep learning. Having completed a BA Painting, I wanted to explore how I could use the degree within wider society. I knew that I had acquired a range of transferrable skills from my time at art school and I wanted to explore how they could be applied to the advantage of my community. Already aware of CiRCUS Artspace, I was delighted when they put a call out for their first Fellowship. I knew that it would be a fantastic opportunity for development.


I learnt quickly that it was all hands on deck at CiRCUS, so I jumped aboard. I watched, learned and practised by attending and supporting with events. During my Fellowship, I worked on the Inland Navigation and Bridging Water projects. I was particularly interested in how both of these projects related to ‘site’. Not only were they motivated by the connection of different sites, but they were presented to the public in the most captivating locations. 


Inland Navigation was realised at Urquhart Castle, overlooking the great Loch Ness in September 2022. Because I was not heavily involved in this project, I was able to step back and watch how CiRCUS Artspace responded to the location. This equipped me for the later realisation of Bridging Water at Tomnahurich Bridge in October 2022. This event was multifaceted and taught me how contemporary art can truly be integrated within community. Artwork was projected onto the Tomnahurich Bridge; a light show was cast upon nearby forestry; films were rolled across the boat house; there was even an exhibition on a barge. 


My admiration for CiRCUS Artspace could not be greater. The work is constant, but the commitment never falters. I was privileged to gain an understanding of how they operated and evolved as a collective, and of what can be achieved through socially engaged practise.


Surplus to this, CiRCUS provided support and advice throughout my transition from Art Student to Art Practitioner. This comprised 1 to 1 mentoring and a group critique of my progressing artwork. By utilising CiRCUS as a sounding board, I gained representation for my own creative practice. I was also able to secure an exciting new role with an established gallery in Inverness, where I hope to apply some of skills that I acquired whilst working with CiRCUS Artspace."

You can see more of Emma's work on her website and Instagram @emma_caldow.


The 2022 Fellowship has been kindly supported by The Highland Society of London

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