Looking North Through Art

Over the course of eight events, four artists – to be paired with writers/ researchers in the second round – Looking North Through Art will explore concepts of landscape and nature in Scotland. Through discussing some of their projects and thoughts, speakers will provide alternative approaches and perspectives which stand in contrast with and move beyond mainstream narratives surrounding the idea of “Scottish landscape”. This series invites speakers and participants to reflect upon those themes through the lens of art and writing, guided by questions of climate change, ecocriticism and energy ethics. The first round of talks ran from August through October 2022. 

Part 2 of the series which is running between April and May 2023 features conversations between the artist from part 1 and Scottish authors. Check out the Looking North website for more details.

Looking North Through Art is co-hosted and co-produced by Anne Daffertshofer and Tori Champion, PhD Candidates in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews. The series has been made possible through funding from the Centre for Energy Ethics,  St Andrews Network for Climate, Energy, Environment and Sustainability, St Leonard’s Postgraduate College and the Centre for Contemporary Art.


Series Recordings

Artist Alex Boyd

24 August 2022

For years, Alex has focused on militarised landscapes in Scotland. The Ministry of Defence’s estate is one of the biggest in Scotland. Their estate includes the Hebridean range, which is still used for military tests and training – and therefore not always or fully accessible. roam. “Tir An Airm (Land of the Military)” bears visual witness to Alex’s visits and provides a context in which one can explore a wide range of environmental themes and questions around “Scottish landscape” and the ethics of energy.

Artist Sekai Machache

8 September 2022

Sekai Machache is a Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work is a deep interrogation of the notion of self, in which photography plays a crucial role in supporting an exploration of the historical and cultural imaginary.  In her moat recent work, Profound Divine Sky, shot at Forsinard at the Flow Country in the Scottish Highlands, Sekai explores the ways in which Black bodies exist in rural landscapes.

Artist Mhairi Killin

16 September 2022

Living on Iona exerts a distinct influence on Mhairi’s artistic practice, which explores the physical and metaphysical spaces that surround her, taking into account the multi-faceted belief structures – religious, mythopeic, and socio-political – which shape them. This is also reflected in her most recent work On Sonorous Seas, an interdisciplinary and collaborative project that began when a whale carcass was found on an Iona beach in August 2018.

Artist Sophie Gerrard

03 October 2022

Sophie’s photographic practice has been evolving for 14 years, and is characterised by sensitive and evocative visual exploration of the natural environment and landscape and our relationship to it. The central concerns of her work are people, environmental connection, identity and belonging, drawing from archives and personal narratives. Her work is often as much an exploration of others’ lives and connections with landscape as her own.