The Between Islands project has been devised by An Lanntair, its main aim being to collectively promote the heritage and culture of the three Island groups of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. This has been undertaken through the development of specific projects which encourage inter island collaboration, and with financial assistance through the LEADER 2014-2020 regional cooperation scheme, a series of larger scale initiatives during 2019/20.

Past Projects

The Year of Young People 2018
This initiative offered university 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. To this end Lewis film students Zoe Macinnes and Kate Macleod travelled to Shetland in June 2018 where they spent a week making a short film about their experiences. Four textile students from Shetland – Rhea Kay, Rebecca Baxter, Helen Laurenson and Megan Smith – then undertook a trip to Lewis the following month, to explore the manufacture, design and marketing success story of the Harris Tweed industry. The work produced by both sets of students was showcased during the Las!/Ignite! festival.

Zoe’s blog on her placement can be seen here

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 music 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 tunes of the individual Islands. It premiered as the opening concert for the 2017 Hebridean Celtic Festival, and a review can be found here:

Between Islands Music Project Three
This concert took place in July 2018, and featured music which acknowledged the 2018 First World War commemorations, as well as a general programme representing each Island group. Those taking part were Kathleen Macinnes and Linda Macleod, (Western Isles), Jenny Napier (Shetland) and Saltfishforty (Orkney).  The concert then took place at the Orkney Folk Festival in 2019, with Julie Fowlis adding to the line up.

Other Activities
Between Islands short story writer Roseanne Watt produced this wonderful piece of filmpoetry as part of An Lanntair’s Burns Night celebrations in 2016, featuring film of Lewis and Shetland.

Between Islands Book and CD
The Between Islands Book features articles written by museum curators and UHI staff involved in the Between Islands Project lecture series. And the double CD features music from the artist who had originally intended to perform both at the Shetland Folk Festival and the Hebridean Celtic Festival 2020; as well as collaborations by musicians from across Shetland, Orkney, and the Outer Hebrides, including Julie Fowlis, Kris Drever, Willie Campbell, and Saltfishforty.

The Between Islands Project Book (£10) and CD (£15) are available to buy via mail order from An Lanntair’s shop…
Please email your order to: (include a contact phone number), or phone on 01851 708480. Payment will be taken over phone-call and postage is set at £1.95 per item.

To keep up to date on Between Islands news please follow us on Instagram betweenislandsscotland or on Twitter @between_islands

Between Islands Project Coordinator: Alex Macdonald