The Between Islands project has been devised by An Lanntair and its main aim is to collectively promote the wealth of artistic talent which exists between the three Island groups of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. This is being undertaken through the development of specific projects which encourage collaboration, and which in turn introduce both emerging and established Island artists to wider audiences. The project is led by Alex Macdonald, Head of Performing Arts and Cinema, and there are currently three collaborations in existence, with more to follow.

Between Islands – The Year of Young People 2018

As part of this special project, funded by Event Scotland, An Lanntair will be handing over the venue to young people to deliver their very own arts festival called Las! / Ignite! this October.

In addition the Between Islands initiative is to offer students from the Western and Northern Isles an inter-island placement, giving them the chance to learn in a different – but not unfamiliar – environment, whilst receiving a week of one to one tuition and advice in their chosen field of study.

The Western Isles placement will focus on textiles and design, and will offer two students from Orkney and/or Shetland the opportunity to visit Lewis to explore the manufacture, design and marketing success story of the Harris Tweed industry, whilst film or photography students from the Western Isles will be eligible to apply for a week long residency in Shetland to undertake documenting the Islands on camera.

Partners include Shetland Arts (through Mareel Arts Centre in Lerwick) and a network of fashion designers and producers in the Western Isles, with the work produced showcased at the Young People’s Creative Industries Symposium during the Las!/Ignite! festival week. Full support/mentoring will be given to students throughout their placements, and accommodation and travel costs provided.

Past Projects

Between Islands Music Project One
Singer/songwriters Willie Campbell (Western Isles), Arthur Nicolson (Shetland) and Kris Drever (Orkney) were the pioneers of the Between Islands project, meeting up in Lewis and Shetland in 2014, and collaborating on the production of twelve new songs. The resulting concert then opened the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway in July 2015 and went on to tour to Orkney and Shetland.

Between Islands Short Story Collection
Authors Kevin MacNeil (Western Isles), Alison Miller (Orkney) and Roseanne Watt (Shetland) were commissioned through An Lanntairs Creative Places Award to write a short story each on a Between Islands theme. The resulting book was published in June 2016 and is available from An Lanntair’s shop priced £5.

Between Islands Music Project Two
For the second music project, the focus switched to traditional music, with fiddle players Jane Hepburn (Western Isles), Maggie Adamson (Shetland), and Louise Bichan (Orkney) working together to create a concert which celebrated the varying playing styles and music of the Islands. It premiered as the opening concert for the 2017 Hebridean Celtic Festival, and it is hoped will tour to the Northern Isles during 2018. Read a review of the project here:

Other Activities

Between Islands short story writer Roseanne Watt produced this piece of filmpoetry as part of An Lanntair’s Burns Night celebrations, featuring film of Lewis and Shetland.

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