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Circus Sideshow was an art collective made up of the former Circus interns. It was established Hester Grant, Holly Osborne, Jack Kay and Sadie Stoddart in 2020 and ran until the end of 2021.

'We aim to continue expanding the graduate arts community across the Highlands and Islands through using the skills we have learnt during our internships with Circus. Supporting each other and our practices through different learning and sharing opportunities, along with peer review sessions. While continuing to be part of the wider Circus family.'

Find them on Instagram @circus.sideshow


Logo designed by Holly Osborne


Projects Archive

Circus School

An online step-by-step art guides aimed at children of different ages. Allowing Hester and Sadie to share their skills while gaining experience in delivering workshops.


10 October 2020
Join Sadie Stoddart on Instagram for the first guide ‘Conker Run’

Suitable for children aged 3-6 

7 November 2020

Join Hester Grant on Instagram for 'Mark Making'

Suitable for children aged 10+ 

18 February 2021

Join Sadie Stoddart on Instagram for 'Paper Cutouts'

Suitable for children aged 6+

19 March 2021

Join Hester Grant on Instagram for 'Birds Nest Guide'

Suitable for children aged 10+ 


Art Theory &Writing Book Group

This group was formed as a way of bringing young creative people together in the Highlands to discuss art theory texts and explore the medium of art writing.

Launch Event: 6 November 2020

This event was an online meet up to discuss the book Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing. Supported through a Creative in Your Community award from the Highland Youth Arts Hub and there was funding to purchase the book for attendees. This event was targeted specifically for those living in the Scottish Highlands.

"I formed this book group as a way of bringing creative people together in the Highlands to discuss art theory texts and explore the medium of art writing. So far we have looked at different texts by authors such as Kathy Acker, John Berger, Erving Goffman and Judith Halberstam."  - Hester Grant, 2021 

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Art Writing Workshops

Automatic Writing workshop with Adam Benmakhlouf

4 December 2020, 19:30 – 21:00, online

In this workshop you're invited to write as a means of accessing and sharing insights into artworks that are only possible through textual response. We'll be using timed exercises in which you'll be encouraged to write without pause in order to bypass some of the inhibitions that can block essential impressions. In this way, the workshop is formed around the principle that rather than thinking of writing as a way of recording or documenting ideas, it is in itself a means of thinking.

Adam Benmakhlouf (they/them) is an artist, writer, educator and programmer based in Glasgow. Committedly manifold, their practice embodies and experimentally represents the nuanced strategies of radical resistance of marginalised people. They served on the Transmission Committee 2017-2019, and have been the Art Editor for The Skinny since 2015. Their writing has been featured in various publications and gallery contexts, including Art Monthly and Frieze.

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Art Writing workshop with Megan Rudden

5 December 2020, 19:30 – 21:00, online

'Join me on a visceral escape to the harbour, dip a toe in the sea and breathe in the salty air from the comfort of your own home.'

This online workshop will offer a short introduction to the concept of ‘art writing’, with a focus on writing about place. While we can’t be together physically, we will explore what it means to have a shared experience of place virtually, engaging our senses to experiment with various ‘site-writing’ techniques. We will discuss some practical tips for writing about places and consider how this writing can become an artwork. Don’t worry if you have never written anything before, this session will be about generating ideas in a relaxed environment to get you thinking about what ‘art writing’ could be for you.

Megan Rudden is an artist based in Glasgow working across performance, writing, drawing, and object making. Through this interdisciplinary practice her work considers issues of class, gender, labour, reproduction and identity within contemporary Scotland. Her work is often produced in response to a specific site, attempting to create non-linear, transhistorical narratives which use place as an anchor to link stories across time. She has performed and exhibited at various locations across the UK including, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and recently at the back of a car park in Dundee. Megan is currently undertaking postgraduate study in Art Writing at Glasgow School of Art.

These events are supported through a Creative in Your Community award from the Highland Youth Arts Hub and organised by Hester Grant.

Graduate Associates Socials

From April to August 2021 Circus Sideshow hosted a series of monthly online social meet-up for the Graduate Associates 2021 cohort. Enabling the peer group to socialise virtually, have some fun and get to know each other.

15 April, 7:30 - 9pm

Virtual Drink & Draw

Using Zoom's annotate tools attendees created collaborative drawings (see images).

13 May, 6 - 8pm

Manifesto Making Event with Rosanna Irvine

A safe space were participants explored the challenges we face as emergent artists based in the North of Scotland and what we can do as individuals and as a group to change or challenge this. Read the Manifesto here.

16 June, 7:30 - 9pm

Zine Workshop with Iona Gibson

Iona introduced the concept of a zine, how to make one and discussed the importance of zines both socially and environmentally. Iona provided participants with a postal zine kit. 

17 June, 7:30 - 9pm

Zine Workshop with Hester Grant
Inspired by William Burrough’s “Cut-up” technique, participants created zines out of recycled junk-mail and creating “cut-up” or “cut-out” poems. 

14 July, 7:30 - 9pm
Writing Workshop with Freya Grant

Freya took the participants through various exercises in which they can unearth their writing potential which may have been affected by either writer’s block or anxiety. The group was then be led through writing discussions and free thought exercises. 

18 August, 7:30 - 9pm

Art Theory and Writing Book Group

For this meet up we discussed a chapter from the book 'Shadow Feminisms: Queer Negativity and Radical Passivity' by Judith Halberstam.

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