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Liminal Lives : A Postal Project

SUMMER 2020​

Throughout July and August our current Graduate intern, Isabel McLeish is delivering this socially engaged project as part of her internship. Would you like to express your experiences of 2020 (e.g. of covid-19, lockdown, social distancing) or your perspective of current matters (e.g. social, political, personal, cultural) in a postcard format?

Liminal Lives is an opportunity to create your own postcard and be part of a Scotland-wide art project.

You may wish to use visual imagery and written text to create your postcard and this can be created using any medium; drawn, painted, printed, written, embroidered, collaged, photograph or digital. Your postcard could be fine art styled, a form of protest art, graphic, fantasy or a commentary about current events and personal experiences. We would like submissions from all over Scotland, from people with different backgrounds and from different walks of life, exploring diverse topics and ideas!


About the Project

Collectively, we are in a liminal space; between pre-covid and post-covid, as we move through and out of lockdown. Liminality comes from the Latin word līmen, meaning ‘a threshold.’ As we navigate and make sense of the challenges and confusion we experience, how can we creatively mark this period of uncertainty together?

We have all experienced some form of isolation during lockdown; whether social, physical or otherwise. Liminal Lives is a postal project aiming to bring individuals together to counteract social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic and socially distancing measures. The project is an opportunity to collaborate and connect with people from across Scotland in a safe, inclusive and supportive manner and to give a voice to all through an accessible socially engaged artmaking process; made by anyone for everyone. 

During lockdown, people have been making use of digital services to stay in contact as well as the more personalised, intimate and traditional method of letter writing and sending items through the post. As an art movement, ‘Mail Art’ focuses on sending small-scale artworks through the postal service with a philosophy of being open and inclusive to everyone, with only the access to a post box as a requirement. Artists have also created ‘Artistamps’ which is a postage stamp-like art form used to depict or commemorate any subject of choice.


How do I make and submit work?

  1. You must live in Scotland to take part, you can be any age and don't need to have experience of making art in the past!

  2. Follow the ‘Submission Guidelines’ below to create a postcard (you can make more than one if you wish).

  3. Take good quality photographs of the front and back of your completed and stamped postcard.

  4. Write a statement (max 150 words) and include a note of your location/area where you live e.g. Inverness, Gairloch, Lerwick, Fort William, Arbroath, etc.

  5. Email the photographs of your postcard (front and back), your name, statement and location to and use the subject heading ‘Liminal Lives 2020 postal project submission’. In your email, please indicate if you wish for your name and location to be included in showcases of work or not.

  6. The Circus team will get in touch via email to confirm that the digital files have been received successfully. Once you have this confirmation, you can then post your physical postcard to: CIRCUS ARTSPACE @ Inverness Creative Academy, Midmills Building, Stephen's Street, Inverness, IV2 3JP.

  7. You can check our website to view your postcard in Circus Artspace’s digital showcase.

  8. Deadline for submissions of postcards: Monday 28th September.

  9. During Spring 2021, your postcard may be included in a physical exhibition so follow the project on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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Submission Guidelines

Participants are asked to follow the submission and format guidelines in order to create their postcard so that it is suitable for inclusion in virtual and physical showcases.

  • Postcards should be made from materials that can withstand being posted e.g. card.

  • Postcards are to be 6 “ x 4 “ and can be landscape or portrait.

  • Please look at the ‘postcard template’ to get an idea of what to include on both side of your postcard.

  • Postcard Front: visual images and/or text.

  • Postcard Back: Essential to include Circus Artspace address and a legitimate UK postage stamp. You may also wish to include other visual images/text/’artistamps’.

  • Visual images and text can be created using any medium: drawn, painted, printed, written (letter, poetry, prose…), embroidered, collaged, photograph, digital…

  • You may wish to look at examples of ‘mail art’ or ‘artistamps’ for inspiration - see Isabel's Pinterest board!

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further information about the project by emailing

About the Organiser

The word ‘isolate’ comes from French ‘isolé : placed on an island, as well as from Italian ‘isolato’ and from Latin ‘insulatus’ : made into an island. Our Graduate Intern Isabel McLeish has been painting during lockdown and using imagery of the remote islands of St Kilda as a visual metaphor for her experienced isolation during the pandemic. Interestingly, Island communities under certain circumstances can be granted the right to issue their own stamps. For example, the Island of Pabay, off the Isle of Skye have issued their stamps in the past. You can see more of Isabel's work on Instagram @isabelmcleishart or

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