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Graduate Associates: Exhibitions

Starting this month we will have a series of five exhibitions featuring some of the artists from our current Graduate Associates programme. They will be held in the Gym Hall at Inverness Creative Academy.  We have also produced a free publication to accompany the exhibitions with support from UHI; which you can access here.

Circus’ Graduate Associates is a development programme for emergent visual artists in the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire. We are delighted to have received a grant from the Hope Scott Trust towards the exhibition costs.

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Rachel Fermi, Programme Leader (joint) of the BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Practices at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: "We are excited to see this exhibition programme come together after close collaboration with Circus Artspace. It showcases the next generation of talented artists in the region, bridging the gap between recent graduates' educational experiences and a freelance career in the sector. This forward thinking is exactly what is needed to help graduates build their profile, confidence, and practice. We also hope it helps encourage these talented arts graduates that it is possible to create a sustainable arts practice while living in rural and semi-rural areas like the Highlands and Islands."


Alex Smith, XpoNorth Project Manager said: 'Transitioning from academia into a professional practice can be a complex and challenging process and we're delighted to support the innovative work of Circus Artspace in delivering impactful opportunities for new artists to more successfully navigating this path. Designing meaningful platforms to showcase the diversity and quality of the work being produced by participants on the Graduate Associates programme is incredibly important, and we're looking forward to continuing to support the project as it develops.'

22 - 26 February 



Becki Kirkwood :’-)      Erin Semple ?      Evija Laivina ¯\_(ツ)_/¯      Hester Grant ;)   

Holly Osborne :|      Jacqueline Briggs :’D      Robert McCormack -_-      Sadie Stoddart ;))

The onset of the global pandemic has accelerated concerns around the individual with a new intensity around themes of character, behaviour, identity, the body and attention. This exhibition showcases artistic responses around the contested site of the individual. The title of the exhibition :’-)  ?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  ;)  :|  :’D  -_-  ;)) is an emotional semiotic play on identity, recognising the digital impact of the past year, particularly on young people. This exhibition is by eight recent graduates from Scottish art schools with connections to the Highlands and is part of the Circus Graduate Associate programme.


8 - 13 March 

Inside Out : Outside In 

Lorna Campbell   |   Madeleine Daly   |   Leah Davis   |   Rachel McClure   |   Claire Macdonald

Inside Out: Outside In explores how our connection with other people and our surrounding environment informs our emotional and general wellbeing. Five artists from Moray and Highland, work in a variety of media including film, painting, photography, soundscapes, sculpture and socially engaged happenings to understand often fragile internal and external dialogues. The artworks consider overlooked or hidden aspects of our lives and daily rituals to reach an understanding of personal experiences which are, at the same time, universal.

15 - 19 March

A Matter of Perspective

Polly Atkinson   |   Liz Crichton   |   Deborah Ilett   |   Jack Kay   |   Kelly Marwick

A Matter of Perspective explores liminality from multiple viewpoints; past artefacts impacting present and future generations; the effects of greenwashing and fuel poverty on the Orkney community; the contrast between the power of the natural environment, the fragility and temporary nature of life and the futility of human endeavour; the interwoven branches of humanity and nature rooted in memory; and a study into hyper-consumerism and its insistence on faux flora at the detriment of plant life.

29 March - 2 April


Louise Allan   |   Lar MacGregor   |   Morag Smith   


Three artists, three journeys; from coastline to mountain glen. CIANALAS explores place, through different perspectives, using sculpture and walking.  

Fundamentally, humans are a ‘place-making, place-loving species’. Place is somewhere that is inhabited, created, needed. Memories, ownership, connection and belonging and a particular ordering of things in a world that has a socio-geographical basis for lived experiences. Place is everywhere. Place can be physical or psychological in nature; an abstracted voyage into colour and form, emotions, ecological identity and the ethics of making and materials. 

Every life is a tale of meaning; tiny fractions of knowable truths and histories.

29 March - 2 April


Becs Boyd   |   Isabel McLeish   |   Rosie Newman   |   Fiona Percy

TERRAFABULATIONS brings together the work of four artists to take a fresh look at notions of place and belonging in the Highlands. The exhibition investigates boundaries and relationships with land, sea and ecology, unearthing tensions and vital connections. At a time of disconnect and uncertainty, how can we reimagine our entangled place within a myriad living world?

This programme is delivered in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands and supported by XpoNorth and Creative Scotland.


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