Our fourth Hebridean Dark Skies Festival ran from 11-25 February 2022 and consisted of the following events:
- The Universe: Does Anything Matter?, an astronomy-themed comedy show by Astronomer Royal for Scotland Catherine Heymans and astrophysicist and comedian Joe Zuntz.
- Also on the opening night, a screening of Sunset Reports, a film by visual artist Juliana Capes that describes an entire sunset for the visually impaired.
- A group exhibition, Constellation | reul-bhad featuring newly commissioned work by seven Hebridean artists (Jill Smith, Trish Bell, Jonathan Macdonald, Jon Macleod, Moira Maclean, Judy Spark and Mhairi Law, pictured above) curated by An Lanntair.
- Dark Skies Discovery Day, a whole day of astronomy events featuring talks by astronomers Catherine Heymans and Sheona Urquhart, Chris Macleod of Lews Castle College UHI, and Steven Gray of the International Dark Sky Association, plus a screening of the film The City Dark and an astrophotography workshop run by Stornoway Astronomical Society.
- Bright Club, a comedy night hosted by professional stand-up Bruce Fummey in which five academics were challenged to turn their research into stand-up comedy.
- Into Darkness, an online workshop in which Lewis-based artist Mairi Gillies supported people to develop their night-time creativity over the course of a week, sharing their work with each other at the end.
- The Edge of The Sky | Oir Nan Speur, a new, bilingual theatre adaptation of Roberto Trotta’s internationally acclaimed book in which the Italian astrophysicist attempts to tell the history of the Universe using only the 1,000 most frequently used words in the English language. Performed in English and Gaelic, this uniquely Hebridean take on Roberto’s book was created by Lewis-based production company sruth-mara and supported by Creative Scotland and Bord na Gaidhlig. It was accompanied by three new Gaelic writing commissions in which Peter MacKay, Rody Gorman and Elspeth Turner all wrote short original pieces in Gaelic about the cosmos.
- The 4000 Nights of New York in 1988, a new live performance combining poetry and soundscapes by Lewis musician Peter Urpeth
- A day of immersive film screenings presented by Cosmos Planetarium.
- A night swim with Immerse Hebrides.
- A closing night show by singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni.
- Three new episodes of our festival podcast (launched during lockdown in 2021), featuring conversations between astronomers Catherine Heymans and Joe Zuntz, astrophysicist Roberto Trotta and theatre director Laura Cameron-Lewis, and visual artist Juliana Capes.
The festival also included an education and outreach programme with a Dark Skies themed Saturday Art Club, and schools visits by Catherine Heymans and Cosmos Planetarium.