Hebridean Dark Skies Festival announces programme changes in response to new COVID 19 lockdown

  • Published on: 11th January 2021
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The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival is making changes to its programme in light of the new COVID 19 lockdown rules announced at the beginning of January, with the majority of festival events to move online.

Browse our events programme and book tickets here.

Festival programmer Andrew Eaton-Lewis said: “While we hoped that lockdown rules would have eased by February, we always had contingency plans in place in case a festival of live events proved to be impossible, which now seems highly likely. While we’re sad to postpone some key events, one advantage of an online programme is that you can experience it from anywhere and we hope to use this opportunity to bring the festival to an even wider audience, and to continue to provide something for people to look forward to during this most challenging of winters.”

The festival’s February 2021 programme will now consist of the following events. Anyone who has already bought a ticket for a live event that has been postponed or moved online can either exchange their tickets or request a full refund when An Lanntair’s box office reopens on Tuesday 19 January.

Events at An Lanntair

Our two festival exhibitions, by astronomy-inspired artist collective Lumen and the winners of this year’s Dark Skies photography competition, will go ahead as planned. Entry to both exhibitions is free.

Events online

Dallas Campbell – the award-winning TV presenter was to appear at An Lanntair on Saturday 6 February at 8.30pm. His talk will now take place live online for a reduced ticket price. The date and time remain the same.

Tamsin Edwards – the well-known climate scientist was to appear at An Lanntair on Saturday 6 February at 6pm. Her talk will now take place live online for a reduced ticket price. The date and time remain the same.

Lumen workshops – these will now take place online, with the ticket price remaining the same. However, the date of the workshops has been moved back by two weeks.

Highland Astronomy – our live online event by astronomer Stephen Mackintosh is going ahead as planned although the live events at Scaladale and Grinneabhat have had to be cancelled.

Campfire Conversations in association with The Scotsman. This new weekly online series, launching this weekend, features guest interviewees from the worlds of astronomy, psychology and the arts, beginning with singer-songwriter Karine Polwart.

Events across the island

The Hebridean Night Swim with Immerse Hebrides will go ahead as planned.

Postponed and cancelled events

The festival’s opening and closing shows, Kathryn Joseph and Lumen and Stillness by Renzo Spiteri, have been postponed. Our Highland Astronomy events at Scaladale and Grinneabhat have sadly had to be cancelled, as has the festival’s film programme.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will run from Friday 5 February to Thursday 18 February and 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.

For further information visit www.lanntair.com/darkskies. To request interviews or images, please contact Andrew Eaton-Lewis at An Lanntair on andrew@anlanntair.com.


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