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School of Social



This exhibition brought together a group of twelve socially engaged art students from the UHI Art & Social Practice MA. This short presentation of their work coincided with the annual Winter School held in Inverness. There was an opportunity to meet some of the students and hear about the course during our Culture Cafe event on Wednesday 15 January, 6pm.

Jean Cathro is in her first year of her Masters in Art and Social Practice at UHI. She works as a PA for disabled students at Edinburgh University and is also the founder of Crossing Countries, a social enterprise that provides opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to volunteer in South Africa together. This work shown is part of an exhibition that has brought these three elements in her life together. 


Liz Crichton - Dedication - This is a socially engaged artwork about being, belonging and becoming; about what influences and inspires us to develop into who we are. Based around one-to-one autobiographical interviews, the work encouraged people to share their story, with me, with each other, and with the wider community, so that in coming to a better understanding of ourselves, we can better become who we each are. Each person’s story was recorded, edited and compiled into themed audio tracks set in the landscape to create the Strathardle Pilgrimage Trail, an augmented reality walking and listening immersive experience.


Caroline Dear studied botany then qualified as an architect and works as an artist who explores the intertwined, interdependent relationships between plants and people. On the verge: exploring marginal spaces and their role on linking communities and their ecologies has been developed for the MA Art and Social Practice with Shetland UHI. This is a multi-layered project with overlapping elements. Each element involved people in different ways, encouraging people to notice, to look closely and to question aspects of the roadside verge.


Helen Garbett - Three Mile Radius - This project emerged out of the existing socially engaged art practice of Workshop 24, a Community Interest Company and partnership based in Stourbridge, West Midlands offering local people living with disabilities and those often marginalised the opportunity to collaborate with us as artists. During a five month period we collaborated and co-created with a group of learning disabled people a project that uses both sound and visual artwork to explore, document and represent our individual and collective experience that starts with making journeys within a defined area of a three mile radius of Workshop 24. This pamphlet was hand made using a low cost ‘DIY’ approach, collaging photographs, drawings and text to give a flavour of our experience and further work to come.‘Three Mile Radius’ was facilitated by Helen Garbett and Bill Laybourne and commissioned by ‘Ideas of Noise’, a festival of experimental sound taking place in Birmingham, Coventry and Stourbridge between 23rd January and 9th February 2020.


Honorata Gawronska is working in the Centre for Mental Health Recovery in Inverness with people suffering from a mental health illness. In her personal project she is looking for symbols of mental health disorders, beast inside us. It is important to the artist that the viewer brings their own experience and interpretations to the work. Art should simply bridge gaps and bring people together.


Louise Kernaghan - Landscape Mindscape was a 4km walking art journey in Glen Nevis on 31 November 2019, facilitated by Louise Kernaghan and Louise Emslie. Both practicing artists and outdoor professionals based in Fort William, they share similar thoughts on the ever-increasing importance of connecting with the landscape on a human and natural level in order to foster a deeper sense of care for this fragile ecosystem in which we live. Participants had the opportunity to take part in a series of 4 micro workshops situated at different places along the walk which were designed to engage the participants with their surroundings and each other in a way they may not have before. At the end of the walk, each participant summed up their experience into a short sentence which collectively created a group poem reflecting the group response to the walk.


Catriona Meighan originally trained in Drawing and Painting and Contemporary Art Practice at Edinburgh College of Art, Catriona Meighan has developed her practice working in socially engaged environments working with a wide variety of communities and participants. This piece was created during a residency working at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, exploring work, labour and how people behave in their working environments. Through working collaboratively with staff, their tea room was transformed and a guide to wellbeing and coping with stress was produced.

Charlotte Mountford is a cultural producer and live event curator dedicated to supporting high quality arts and community initiatives. She has experience working across socially engaged theatre, festivals and audience development projects/ Following a career in urban centres like Manchester and working in cities across Europe, she is now based in the Highlands, living in Caithness and is Co-Director of Lyth Arts Centre. 


Rosie Newman is a Multidisciplinary Artist and a Lecturer at Inverness College. Her installation ‘Inhabit’ combines a selection of hand made nests and bird houses nestled in amongst a group of used chairs,which are turned inward to form a huddle. The nests and photos of nests can be discovered by creeping amongst the chairs and discovering them. The audios are comprised from selections of sounds made by humans who stood alone in a wild place amongst trees and recorded themselves imitating the noises of the birds around them.


Barbara Gardner-Rowell is a visual artist focussing on experimental, sustainable processes and materials such as natural dyeing and contemporary weaving. This project is opening up her work in new directions of sound, performance and scale. She works with Sharon Duncan-Brewster, an established Black-British actor, and Sophie Ferguson, a theatre costume designer and emerging visual artist who together form The Collab.

Unspoken Truths - this installation plays on the concept of recording devices, from ancient to contemporary. Knotting and unravelling, playing and rewinding.


Brodie Sim is an artist and producer based on the Isle of Tiree, Inner Hebrides. She likes to work with people and place, somewhere in the space between material and poetry (if that exists). The works exhibited evolved from conversations with members of her local community around what it means to be an islander.


Katy Swift - The Beira Project explores dance, ritual and sharing stories as a means to process collective grief, in response to the current ecological crisis. The artist believes that bringing people from different backgrounds together to connect through dance, music and ritual will help alleviate climate crisis burnout and social isolation. The project aims to find a way to simultaneously rebuild communities and to create a safe container for individuals to process this enormous shared environmental grief. 

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