Outer Hebridean youngsters takeover An Lanntair arts centre with their “Las! / Ignite!” Festival.

A group of creative young people from the Outer Hebrides plan to ‘take over’ An Lanntair in October with an eclectic Festival of events that focus on some of the major issues facing young people in Scotland’s island communities.

The theme for the Las! / Ignite! Festival is ‘Change’. A free-to-attend Symposium event will help young people explore creative careers, from jewellery to game design. A panel of local youngsters will take on the challenge of “I’m an islander, get me out of here!”, discussing together some of the lesser-known challenges and opportunities that present island youth growing up in the Outer Hebrides.

With the main events taking place from 12th-25th October, the Festival will offer an incredibly diverse and inspirational programme, including music, comedy, thematic workshops, gaming competitions, talks, exhibitions, cinema screenings and more.

The Festival’s opening night on Friday 12th October will begin with the launch of an exhibition of artwork created and curated by Hebridean young people entitled ‘Ignite Change’. Talented young artists aged 0-26 will have the opportunity to exhibit their painting, photography, sculptural work and other visual arts in An Lanntair’s Main Gallery. Also featured will be the collaborative work of young textiles and film-making students from Shetland and the Outer Hebrides: the product of inter-island residency exchanges that have taken place throughout 2018.

Later on opening night, Las!/Ignite! Festival will be celebrating Scottish music with a live performance from award winning neo-trad quintet, Elephant Sessions. The release of their award winning album ‘All We Have is Now’ in 2017, was followed by live appearances at some of Europe’s most notable festivals. Young people selected Elephant Sessions as their main headline act, and what better way to get the Festival off to a truly bouncing start!

A key part of the Festival, an exhibition at North Uist’s Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre – “Collecting for 2048” – will also run between August and October, curated by young people from North Uist. Here, young people were set the challenge of curating for the future. They chose items important to them now and which reflect their lives on the island: many of the items reflect leisure time activities, some relate to the lives they lead as children of crofting families. They all have one thing in common: they are all items that these young people believe will have little or no place in a child’s life in 30 years’ time, when we reach the year 2048.

On Friday 19th October, aspiring young island musicians will have the chance to meet and hear from industry professionals at a HELP MUSICIANS UK roundtable before the Creative Industries Symposium. The Symposium itself will take place all day on Saturday 20th October, featuring talented artists and professionals from across the creative sector locally and nationally, including Jordane Symington from Islewear Jewellery and Julie Kennedy from Minecraft Game Design. Something for everyone.

Las! / Ignite! will also have a strong focus on mental health, tackling some of the subjects that are close to the heart of many island young people today through a series of talks and discussion forums, looking at issues such as body positivity and identity, and exploring mindfulness practice. A trio of free talks on Wednesday 24th October will feature Danni Gordon from the Chachi Power Project, Lilly Asch from RealTalk and Heather Baillie.

As well as music, the festival will also feature comedy. Marjolein Robertson, who claims to be Shetland’s only female comedian(!), will be appearing on the evening of the 24th. One of the up-and-coming stars of the Scottish comedy scene, Marjolein weaves through time with jokes, anecdotes and storytelling, intertwining her own life with a traditional Shetland folk tale.

Las!/Ignite! is headed up by Young Festival Coordinator, Ella Macaulay (23). Born and brought up in the small island community of Great Bernera off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, Ella is passionate about the place, and about creating opportunities for young people to flourish and contribute to sustainable island communities:

“As a proud islander who has bucked the trend by moving back to the island after graduating, I am excited to represent our generation and our island’s talent. It has been great to work alongside so many motivated and creative young people on An Lanntair’s youth board, Board not Bored, in order to put together the Las!/Ignite! festival programme. It’s amazing to be involved in a festival which is providing so many positive outcomes and unique opportunities for young people.’

The festival line-up includes:

August to October: Collecting for 2048 Exhibition at Taigh Chearsabhagh (free)
Friday 12th October to Saturday 27th October: Ignite Change Exhibition at An Lanntair (free)
Friday 12th October: ‘Ignite Change’ Gallery Exhibition Opening (free)
Friday 12th October: Elephant Sessions – £15/£12 under 27
Friday 19th October: HELP MUSICIANS UK Roundtable (HMUK) (free)
Saturday 20th October: Creative Industries Symposium (free)
Monday 22nd October: Gaming Competition (free)
Monday 22nd October and Thursday 25th October: Interactive Makeup Tutorials with Eleni Lowder
Wednesday 24th October: Let’s Talk – A trio of talks on mental health (free)
Wednesday 24th October and Thursday 25th October: Introduction to Meditation and Mindfulness with Being Heather
Date TBC: Scottish Youth Theatre Performance (free)
Wednesday 24th October: Open Mic Night (free)
Monday 22nd to Thursday 25th October: Pocket Cinema – throughout festival (free)
Date TBC: Art and Robotics with Chris Macleod (free)

If you would like to be part making this festival possible, would like to join Board not Bored or want some more information please get in touch.