We are thrilled to have received an award from Big Lottery Young Start Fund in support of our new ‘Generation Creative’ project.
The aim of ‘Generation Creative’ is to extend the benefits of participation in Room 13, and deliver our cornerstones of creativity, enterprise, arts and philosophy to greater numbers of young people in the Lochaber area, many of whom haven’t been able to access Room 13 previously.
The £49,490.00 award from Big Lottery will ensure the fantastic new Room 13 studio facilities in Caol Joint Campus are used for the wider benefit of the community, with a key focus on developing young people’s creativity throughout the region. This project will enable our lead artist Richard Bracken to work with children and other contributing artists to develop a programme of delivery for primary and high school students, starting January 2017 and continuing throughout the academic year 2017/2018.
In the course of this project, Room 13 will work with 10 primary schools in the Lochaber area to provide opportunities for children to work alongside professional artists and develop creative projects based on their own ideas and initiative. We will also develop and extend our youth volunteer group (aged 13-21) to involve students from the four local High Schools enabling them to develop their own ideas and projects, gain experience and build an understanding of the economic prospects of a career in the creative industries.
Room 13’s Generation Creative project aims to meet two Young Start outcomes:
Confident – children and young people have more confidence and skills.
Enterprising – Young people are better prepared for getting a job or starting a business.
‘The support from Big Lottery is a really valuable investment in Lochaber’s Room 13 studios. It will allow us develop key aspects of our work with schools and young people at a time when there is more demand than ever for the sort of services our artists and studios can deliver, with less and less provision to support this work. We are looking forward to getting ‘Generation Creative’ underway!‘
Claire Gibb, Chief Executive, Room 13 International
Lochaber is a great place to live. There are many opportunities here that we can build upon if we think creatively. More than murals and backdrops, the arts can contribute significantly to the social and economic wellbeing of a place. Land use, food production, energy, play and education are some of the many topics that artists and creative groups are getting to grips with throughout Scotland and beyond.
After narrowly missing out on a Creative Places Award in 2015, there is real appetite for creative and enterprising activity in and around Fort William.
Thinking bigger than the Ben, what could be achieved here?
As part of Lochaber Ideas Week 2016, Room 13 will host ‘Creativity = Capital’ a panel discussion exploring the economic benefits of creativity in communities. This event, and accompanying exhibition, will aim to get discussion going about the positive economic and social impact of creativity on communities, and get people thinking ‘Bigger than the Ben’ about what could be achieved here.
Room 13’s lead artist Richard Bracken will be joined by invited guests, each with an interest in, and experience of, developing creative communities. The discussion will be chaired by local artist and creative co-ordinator, Ali Berardelli.
An accompanying exhibition ‘Thinking Bigger than the Ben…’ will be on show at The Moorings Hotel throughout Ideas Week from 14th – 17th November 2016.
“With examples from across Scotland and further afield, this event is intended to explore the function of artistic intervention in creating thriving and prosperous communities.
The point is not to replicate these actions in Fort William, but take the opportunity to consider the potential and develop something high quality that is unique to Lochaber. Ideas Week is a great platform for new projects and partnerships to emerge, and it will be exciting to see how these can be taken forward over the coming year.
Richard Bracken, Lead Artist, Room 13 International
Confirmed guests include:
Joss Allen, Project Manager, at Deveron Arts
Deveron Arts is a contemporary arts organisation based in Huntly, a market town in the north east of Scotland with a population of 4,500.
Deveron Arts has no building, instead the town is the venue; acting as studio, gallery and stage for artists of all disciplines invited from around the world.
Engaging with local people and the community through topics of both local and global concern, Deveron Arts uses found spaces throughout the town and its surrounding areas. Their approach brings together artistic and social relationships in a global network that extends throughout and beyond the geographic boundaries of Huntly.
Ian Peter MacDonald, Chair, An Ealdhain Arts Trust
An Ealdhain Arts Trust is a charitable Trust based in Fort William which aims to excite and inspire and bring world class art to the west Highlands.
Bright Productions is a performance based company in Lochaber. Bright Productions is run by Ilona Munro as a sole trader, working with a great team of associates, who have a range of creative skills both live and studio based.
Ilona and her team are excited by education, entertainment, radio and theatre productions. Much of their work responds to other organisations’ needs, and they delight in meaningful partnerships. Current partnerships include Abbeyfield Care Home, Mental Health work in schools and Creative PE Pilot Project with Highland Council. Bright Productions staged Fort William’s first ever outdoor panto and have been part of training through role play.
In 2017 the company will be premiering three new shows: Lament: The Massacre of Glencoe, The Recovery Version (Edinburgh Fringe) and Scrooge, and will also be touring an intergenerational show that was part of the Luminate Festival: Wan Fur The Weans.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first ever dada event, Room 13 invited members of the public to stretch their imaginations in a dada and surrealist manner at a recent event in the new Room 13 Community Studio at Caol.
Marking 100 years since the first ever dada event, on June 23rd 1916, Room 13’s dada day event was a playful introduction to Dada or Dadaism, an artistic movement that spread across Europe during and after the First World War (1914 – 1918). Short lived but prolific, the movement was a response to war and to what the artists saw as unprecedented horror and human folly. The works they produced were an active engagement of politics and culture.
This event was the inspiration of Audrey O’ Brien, and marked the end of her time as a visiting Artist in Residence at Lochaber High School. Audrey has been in post since October 2015, working with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements.
Audrey likened her experience of Room 13 to this movement and wanted to host a celebration of its 100th anniversary because:
“Dada art derided the idea that the artist was deserving of special status. The artist was a fallible mortal like everybody else, conversely, everyone else was capable of the same creative freedom as the artist.”
Dada & Surrealism, Robert Short
Room 13’s Dada Day was attended by Art, Music and History classes from Lochaber High School, and curious members of the public.
The event featured film screenings, sound installations, and visual displays representing the spirit and history of dadaism. Participants were encouraged to try out a variety of art techniques popular with the dada artists: Poem recipes, photomontage, experimental film-making and not forgetting to pay a visit to the Toilet Gallery!
Audrey followed up with a final visit to Lochaber High School on Wednesday 29th June to pose questions to pupils and reflect on their experience of Dada Day. She found that the teenagers have a lot to say in relation to recent events and political upheaval. Audrey explains:
“I am interested in the artistic movement Dada or Dadaism to provoke young people to think about the ideas behind this movement and provoke conversations on what current issues are important to them. It happened that my visit fell in the wake of the referendum. In their responses to questions such as ‘What issues are important to you and why?’ the pupils showed an acute awareness of recent events and concerns for their future.”
Audrey’s role, and the many projects she has effected during her time with Room 13, was made possible through project funding made available to Room 13 a partner in Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.
As well as supporting an artist to work with Lochaber High School and Room 13 Community Studio, this 2 year project has enabled Room 13 to deliver a range of different activities across Lochaber, involving over 300 young people aged 5-25. Room 13’s programme for Highland Youth Arts Hub has included workshops for Very Young Artists, mentoring and development of a youth volunteer group at Room 13 Community Studio and a series of workshops aimed at helping schools and remote communities to Grow Your Own Room 13.
The principles of Dadaism centred on deliberate irrationality, anarchy and cynicism, and the rejection of the laws of beauty and social organisation.
Artists, musicians, writers and intellectuals discussed their love of the irrational and the nonsensical in terms of a rejection of the political and cultural values which they argued had created the war in the first place. The movement was based on the principles of deliberate nonsense and ‘childish’ responses; th
Lochaber High School students Maddie Lennon, William Landsborough and Jennifer McKenna worked with Room 13 Artist in Residence Audrey O Brien to present Synaesthesia, an interactive art workshop using new digital media to explore Synaesthesia, a condition that can make you see sounds as colours.
Taking over a corridor on the second floor of Lochaber High School, the artists splashed colour into the minds of a lunchtime audience. The school is newly refurbished and it is forbidden to hang anything onto the walls. Artist Audrey has been encouraging the group to take ownership of the white spaces and propose changes through visual art ideas and events. This temporal event was the outcome of the Ideas group which developed through a series of quick lunchtime conversations, building tours and ideas sharing.
The idea came from one of the artist’s experience of synaesthesia. The artists used technology new to the school – a creative electronic tool with touch sensors to present this invention to their audience. Four musical tracks were selected from Maddie’s personal collection and uploaded to a touch board. People touched the interactive surface to set off an audio sensor. MP3 files were played and the audience was to select a colour to represent what they “saw” when listing to the four musical tracks.
Pupils and teachers found common ground in thinking and discussing colour and sound perception, and the following comments were made in response to the piece:
Interesting project – I could “see” shape easier for violin but colour for the others.
Very interesting, I loved the idea of this.
I seemed to relate a colour to trumpets and violins which coincided with someone else’s’ choice → weird!
I was most confident of the drums – pink and red and pulsing. The violin was pretty intensely purple too. Very cool, thought provoking project!
Very interesting and fun. Have been using colour as a relaxation tool, related to memory and the colour → related to a shape and sound.
Interesting, weird, but very easy to see colours – so cool!
This is a great idea! it really made me think about the sounds.
Love the idea of this and its a great way to try and understand how some people see, hear, touch and smell the world.
Its really strange but it shows how certain colours mean different things to people.
Artists: Maddie Lennon, William Landsborough and Jennifer McKenna
Photography & Film: Jennifer McKenna, Zuzia Kruk, Audrey O’Brien
Technology: Bare Conductive Touch Board
Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Wynton Marsalis – I Can’t Get Started
Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade- IV. Festival at Baghdad – The Sea – The Ship Breaks [Part 4-4]
Spirited Away OST One Summers Day
Audrey O Brien was appointed by Room 13 International in 2015/16 to work with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements at Lochaber High School. Audrey’s role, and the many projects she effected during her residency with Room 13, was made possible with project funding from Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.
When sound triggers the visualization of colored, generic shapes, sound-to-color synesthesia is at play. For certain people, the stimuli are limited, and only a few types of sounds will trigger a perception. However, there are cases wherein many different sounds trigger color visualizations. Usually, the perceived colors appear in generic shapes – squares, circles, etc. http://www.synesthesiatest.org/types-of-synesthesia
Synaesthesia is a condition where a sensation in one of the senses, such as hearing, triggers a sensation in another, such as taste. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/synaesthesia/Pages/Introduction.aspx
The five most common forms are:
Young artists from three Lochaber schools have been making use of Outlandia, the treehouse and artists’ field station in Glen Nevis, as part of a programme of workshops for very young artists being run by Room 13 with support from the Highland Youth Arts Hub. In May 2016, three school groups were invited to Outlandia to participate in a series of projects with local artists Ali Berardelli and Jen Deschenes.
Spean Bridge Primary School P6/7 class worked with the artists to illustrate an ancient Gaelic poem, Allt an t-Siùcair (The Sugar Burn) by Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair which explores the landscape around a burn in west Lochaber and used screen printing to create final images that have been on display in Outlandia. A sound work accompanied the images. The group travelled to Glen Nevis and walked to Outlandia to view their artwork and also to participate in a drawing and printing activity making mini sketchbooks from Outlandia. The groups were accompanied by Ruari Watt, Forestry Commission’s Communites, Recreation and Tourism Ranger who provided activities and information for all the pupils leading the pupils on adventures through the forest.
A group from the Learning Support Base at Lochaber High School worked with music therapist and teacher Clare Reynolds when they spent time at Outlandia. The group also worked with Ali Austin, the Nevis Property Manager with the John Muir Trust making journey sticks, a method of interpreting and illustrating the journey to Outlandia.
Lundavra Primary 6/7 class visited the West Highland Museum as part of the Outlandia project to view the [wish] [miann] exhibition by Ali Berardelli and Jen Deschenes currently on show until later in the summer. The group then walked from Lundavra School across the Cow Hill to Outlandia where they participated in a drawing workshop and forest craft with Ruari Watt from Forestry Commission Scotland.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for young people to explore Glen Nevis and Outlandia; the pupils tried out different drawing techniques and were encouraged to look closely at the environment and make images that related to this. Taking groups to Outandia has been a real adventure, travelling on the different routes there and everyone enjoyed the experience. Working with a variety of people, artists, rangers, teachers has been very successful and we hope to be able to expand on this project in future years.We are thankful to Room 13 International who have afforded this opportunity.”
Ali Berardelli, lead artist ‘Very Young Artists at Outlandia’ project
This project has been a great example of partnership working within the Lochaber community, from schools, Nevis Landscape Partnership, Forestry Commission Scotland, John Muir Trust, Room 13 International, the Highland Youth Arts Hub, and individual artists. The outcomes from the project and images will be available on the Outlandia blog and website.
Post Author: Ali Berardelli
Ali Berardelli is a visual artist and project manager who lives locally in Fort William. Having been brought up in Lochaber, graduating from Glasgow School of Art in Illustration, and working within the Highland Council in arts development, Ali has been very involved in local community development work and has a strong interest in the visual arts. Ali has a young family and has worked with schools and community groups throughout the area helping to foster creativity in our community.
Jen Deschenes is a textile based artist and designer who comes from the island of Whalsay, off the Shetland mainland. A strong interest in history has led her to design intricate embroidery work and explore printed mediums. Jen has made her home in Spean Bridge and has two children. She has exhibited her artwork widely to international acclaim.
Clare Reynolds is a cellist, music therapist, and support for learning teacher who works with over 100 children from age 6 months to 18 years on a weekly basis in Fort William. She was raised in Lochaber and returned to the area with her family and has since provided extensive musical knowledge and developed unique opportunities for people to engage with music across the community.
Outlandia is an off-grid, treehouse studio imagined by artists London Fieldworks and designed by Edinburgh based Malcolm Fraser Architects. Inspired by childhood dens, wildlife hides and bothies, by forest outlaws and Japanese poetry platforms, it is located in a copse of Norwegian Spruce and Larch in Glen Nevis on Forestry Commission land at the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, approximately three miles from the town of Fort William. Outlandia is an artist-led project built as a multi-purpose platform for the use of diverse community groups as well as selected artists and is in line with The Scottish Forestry Strategy that aims to create opportunities for more people to enjoy trees, woods and forests in Scotland, and to help communities benefit from woods and forests.
Other participating organisations:
Forestry Commission Scotland http://www.forestry.gov.uk
John Muir Trust https://www.johnmuirtrust.org
Highland Youth Arts Hub http://hyah.co.uk
Congratulations to 17 year old Emma Cameron from Strontian, winner of The Rotary Club of Lochaber’s Young Artist of the Year Award, 2016.
Emma attends Ardnamurchan High School, and has been a regular at Room 13 since the age of 8! She was delighted by her win and said: “Thank you to the Lochaber Rotary Club and Room 13, I’m glad that my art was received so well as I’ve put a lot of work into it over the past year.”
Emma won £100 voucher for ArtMedia store in Inverness. Runner up this year was 8 year old Matilda Van de Peer, also from Strontian, who won a £50 voucher.
A further 3 young artists had their work Highly Commended. They were: Bethan White, from Ardnamurchan High Shool, Joanna Wood and Francesca Marie Rose from Lochaber High School.
The prizes were awarded at a presentation and reception for the entrants and their parents hosted by Room 13 Community Studio on 25 May 2016.
The selection panel were delighted by the quality of the entries this year. Portfolios were submitted from across Lochaber and the award winners were chosen by Lorna Finlayson from Art Lochaber, local artist Ali Berardelli, and Margaret Boyd, representing the Rotary Club of Lochaber.
Both Emma and Matilda’s work will be on display at the Art Lochaber exhibition taking place at the Ben Nevis distillery between 20th May and 1st June. The exhibition showcases local artists working in oils, acrylics, watercolours, pastels, batik, wood turning, and papier-mache sculpture.
Room 13 International have have been running the award on behalf of the Rotary Club of Lochaber for three years. The Rotary Young Artist of the Year Award is open to young artists aged between 7 and 17 living and working in Lochaber. The winners are selected for demonstrating originality, development and enthusiasm as artists.
Young artists across Lochaber are encouraged to start thinking and preparing for next year’s award straight away!
It’s a first!
In 2015, Scotland hosted the prestigious Turner Prize exhibition for the first time.
The Turner Prize, organised by Tate, is awarded to a British artist under the age of 50 for an outstanding exhibition in the preceding year. The Turner Prize introduces us to new artists and new ideas in contemporary art.
We took this opportunity to organize a visit to Tramway in Glasgow view the exhibition. We were joined by 26 young people and teachers from Lochaber High School and Ardnamurchan High School. This excursion was supported by Highland Youth Arts Hub, as part of our new venture in working more closely with the local high schools.
At Tramway, we had the chance to examine the work of the four nominees up close, and took part in a workshop to explore the processes behind creating a prize-winning contemporary artwork.
We watched a series of performances of ‘Doug’ by Janice Kerbel. The work takes the form of nine songs for six voices and calls on the history of physical comedy, animated cartoons, narrative ballad and operatic librettos.
Pupils who studied Advanced Higher music immediately related to the use of operatic techniques and the artists concept of applying them in her opera. The songs were imagined disasters of a character called Doug. One pupil recognised the use of glissando (is a glide from one pitch to another) and pitch inversions in performance ‘slip’.
On our tour, we were prompted to discuss how we felt inside Nicole Wermer’s installation ‘Infrastruktur’, consider the use of materials, and how the arrangement of the objects related to the artist’s message in her work.
We completed Turner Prize educational worksheets as part of our tour, besides which each person in our group filled their own custom made sketchbooks. These were created by Room 13 Artist in Residence Audrey O’Brien and filled with questions and prompts on visual literacy.
After our tour, we returned to the studio where there were four activities to help us further explore the four artists. We were really keen to hear how each of the young artists responded personally to the exhibition.
Post trip, Lochaber High School art teacher Miss Blair along with an advanced higher pupil, wanted to put the trip into context and allow pupils who did not attend the trip to be involved in the Turner Prize debate. They organised a re-creation of the four activities and hosted a debate at lunchtime on 7th December (the day the Turner Prize winner was to be announced).
They used a long piece of string to represent a scale by which to measure the pupils responses to the question: Is it art?
The majority of the pupils at the debate said yes because:
“Their work is original and they think of it themselves” and “It takes time and effort to do the art pieces”.
They also created a survey monkey poll for the school to hold their own vote on who should win. The majority voted Assemble. Later that evening, the judges of the Turner Prize came to the same conclusion as Lochaber High School.
Post Author: Audrey O Brien
Photos: Audrey O Brien
A visual mass of ideas, transforming and diverging to form new lines of thought…
Following 3000 Ideas our mass exercise in creativity, an installation is on display as part of Lochaber Ideas Week 2015 in the Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William. Open 10am – 5pm throughout Ideas Week 16 – 21 November 2015. Supported by Lochaber Ideas Week and Lochaber Chamber of Commerce.
Join artist Richard Bracken in generating 3000 ideas for Lochaber Ideas Week 2015.
Everyone is welcome to take part. Ideas can be about anything and may be practical, social, community, creative, environmental or even purely fantastical!
Workshops will take place in the Window at Unit 1 Glenloy Street, Caol:
Wednesday 28th October 6.30 – 8pm
Friday 30th October 6.30 – 8pm
Monday 2nd November 6.30 – 8pm
Wednesday 4th November 6.30 – 8pm
Monday 9th November 6.30 – 8pm
Wednesday 11th November 6.30 – 8pm
Each workshop will include a 15 – 20 minute talk, followed by an interactive process of generating ideas.
Participation is free but spaces are limited so please click here to book your place.
The result – a visual mass of ideas, transforming and diverging to form new lines of thought – will be displayed at the launch of Ideas Week 2015 in the Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William and then throughout Ideas Week 16 – 21 November 2015.
Our thanks to all applicants who submitted proposals in response to our brief for an artist to join our team in Lochaber.
After much deliberation, with all candidates being of a very high standard, we are thrilled to announce that we have appointed Audrey O’Brien as a new Artist in Residence working with Room 13 in Lochaber. Audrey will focus on developing and delivering a new series of projects and creative engagements with community groups and local schools, particularly Lochaber High School.
Audrey will work closely with Richard Bracken, who is currently the lead artist for Room 13 in Lochaber and the Room 13 International team. We are very excited about working with her too! She is very passionate about the project and we think she will bring a lot of experience and enthusiasm to the role.
Visit Audrey’s website to take a look at her previous work:
This new role will expand the team of artists working with Room 13 in Lochaber and creates new opportunities for us to promote engagement and understanding of contemporary arts practice among the community and reach out to groups already keen to work with Room 13.
With Audrey on board, we will have greater capacity enthuse, involve and mentor a core of young people as collaborators in visual art projects in and out of school.
This new residency opportunity has been created as part of our delivery as a partner in the Highland Youth Arts Hub and is supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine Fund.
Our thanks to the interview panel including HYAH representative and youth volunteer who gave up their time to help us in the selection process.