Since its first announcement in October 2020, the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival‘s February 2021 programme has had to evolve in response to constantly changing lockdown rules, with some events being postponed until later in the year.

Our February 2021 programme consisted of the following online events:

  • an interview with award-winning TV presenter Dallas Campbell.
  • an interview with well known climate scientist Tamsin Edwards.
  • a live broadcast by Louise Beer of artist collective Lumen.
  • two workshops by Melanie King and Rebecca Huxley of artist collective Lumen.
  • a live online stargazing event by Highland Astronomy (astronomer Stephen Mackintosh).
  • Campfire Conversations, a five episode podcast in association with The Scotsman.
  • Into Darkness, a creative workshop with Lewis-based artist Mairi Gillies.
  • Under Dark Blue Skies, a new music commission by Renzo Spiteri.

The festival’s opening and closing shows, Kathryn Joseph and Lumen and Stillness by Renzo Spiteri, will now take place in October 2021. Our Highland Astronomy events at Scaladale and Grinneabhat sadly had to be cancelled, as did the festival’s film programme. The Hebridean Night Swim with Immerse Hebrides has been postponed.

Our two festival exhibitions, by astronomy-inspired artist collective Lumen and the winners of this year’s Dark Skies photography competition, will now run from 13 April to 7 May at An Lanntair.

The 2021 Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is supported by new funding from Caledonian MacBrayne as well as Outer Hebrides LEADER. The festival is presented in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Calanais Visitor Centre, Gallan Head Community Trust, and Lews Castle College UHI.

Lumen are a London-based art collective brought together by a shared interest in themes of astronomy and light. Launched in December 2014 by artists Louise Beer, Melanie King and Rebecca Huxley, they have curated or co-curated over 70 exhibitions and been commissioned to create work by the British Science Association and the Green Man Festival. They have also hosted residencies in Cornwall and Atina, Italy. Their Dark Skies Festival exhibition is the first time they have shown their work in Scotland. Find out more at http://lumenstudios.co.uk

Dallas Campbell is a TV presenter, author, and ambassador for STEM education. He has won many plaudits for his services to public understanding of science, including an Honorary Masters degree, an Honorary Fellowship from the British Science Association, and an Arthur C Clarke Media Award for services to space science. His acclaimed TV work includes the BAFTA-nominated Stargazing Live (BBC 2) which broadcast astronaut Tim Peake’s historic launch to the International Space Station live from Kazahkstan. His first book, Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet, charts the history, science and culture of human spaceflight.

Dr Tamsin Edwards is a climate scientist specialising in quantifying the uncertainties of climate model predictions, particularly for the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet contributions to sea-level rise. She is a Lead Author of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (to be published in 2021) and a Contributing Author to the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019).  Tamsin regularly advises the UK Government on sea-level rise, climate science and science communication, and provides expert comment to international media and business.

Kathryn Joseph’s debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled won the 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award. Her follow-up, From When I Wake The Want Is, was also shortlisted for the prize. Her music has also featured in the National Theatre of Scotland’s stage adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room, and in the recent film The Outlaw King.

Renzo Spiteri is an internationally respected multi-percussion player and drummer, composer and improvisor who has been described by the press as “an artist who constantly surprises” and whose music “touches the soul directly”. Renowned for his artistic versatility, creative use of sound and unlimited modes of expression, Renzo specialises in interdisciplinary and cross-artistic projects, collaborating with contemporary dance choreographers, visual artists, theatre directors, spoken word artists and filmmakers.

Highland Astronomy – aka freelance astronomer Stephen Mackintosh – presents talks and stargazing sessions all over Scotland.