Past event

Looking North Part Two: Artists & Authors -- Mhairi Killin and Alastair McIntosh Alternative Approaches to Landscape and Energy Ethics in Scotland Part Two: Artists & Authors

Looking North is delighted to host Mhairi Killin RSA and the well-known activist, writer, and academic Alastair McIntosh for part two of ‘Alternative Approaches to Landscape and Energy Ethics in Scotland' which will focus on ‘Artists & Authors'.

Amongst many things, their perspectives are shaped by their experience of living on a Hebridean island. Many perceive the Highlands, and especially the islands, from a point of view that is tied to the southern mainland. Historically, that perspective tends to characterise the North and islands as “remote”. However, they have a rich history shaped and defined by community and exchange which stands in stark contrast with stereotypical assumptions of isolation.

Mhairi and Alastair engage directly with those themes through their work as well as their lived experiences, upon which they will elaborate in their conversation. Both are engaged in community-oriented and activist work. Alastair is perhaps best known for his involvement in returning the Isle of Eigg into the hands of the local community, though this is only one of his many contributions to this country and its people. Despite being an artist on an island with a small number of inhabitants, Mhairi Killin has managed to not only sustain her own artistic practice but also to run a silver smithy and provide studio spaces to local artisans and micro-businesses on Iona.

In her previous talk, Mhairi reflected on her work and how it is shaped by her collaborative and holistic mindset. On Sonorous Seas brought together a multitude of people with different areas of expertise and talents, while exploring the invisible impact of military sonar on the more-than-human world. She accesses that world by focusing on whales – beings with whom the islanders have long had relationships on either the sea or their beaches. Whales are often thought to be spiritual beings and, more generally, the Hebrides are often thought of as places with a special spiritual energy that is contained by its ancient rocks, once volcanoes. Living on a Hebridean island dictates a very particular relationship to the natural world. Wind and weather impact everyday life in ways that differ significantly from the mainland. For Mhairi, this sense of cohabitation with the more-than-human is reflected in her aspiration to avoid leaving negative spaces. It is a different type of relationship and one which Alastair and Mhairi will discuss.

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