Green Space Dark Skies: The team of artists working with local communities to bring events to life

Green Space Dark Skies, produced by Walk the Plank and commissioned by UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, has revealed the artists who will bring Scotland's August events to life!

Green Space Dark Skies: The team of artists working with local communities to bring events to life

Article Source: UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK
First Published: 4 August 2022 10:36
Updated: 4 August 2022 10:36

Thousands of people across the UK have been recruited to create large-scale interactive artworks in 20 of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes for Green Space Dark Skies - a participatory series of outdoor arts events forming part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, from April to September 2022.

The artworks will be created at dusk by local participants, referred to as Lumenators. They will be guided along pathways or waterways carrying smart lights that will enable digital choreography captured on film, while also being sensitive to the night-time environment. Each short film will incorporate the stories of the people and places featured and will be available to watch for free on Green Space Dark Skies website after the event. Lumenators will also be encouraged to share their own connections to the landscape and the local areas as part of their involvement through Green Space Stories - a citizen science project to find out what people think of the landscape in 2022.

Green Space Dark Skies will enable people from all walks of life to forge new connections with the countryside by supporting those who face cultural and physical barriers to experience our iconic landscapes. The series of gatherings will celebrate the countryside as well as encouraging our responsibility to take care of it for future generations.

In Scotland, the events will take place in some of the country's most stunning locations throughout August including the Cairngorms National Park, Orkney Mainland and North Ronaldsay. The Cairngorms event on Thursday 11 August is recruiting final Lumenators to join the gathering on both land and water, using paddle boards and kayaks. Aside from creating the choreographed movements in the evening, Lumenators will have exclusive access to a packed daytime programme of outdoor activities from live music and storytelling workshops to VR experiences and water sports lessons. Participants can register individually or as a group here to be a part of this unique project.

Music Directors Kapil Seshasayee and Willie Campbell (The Dalmar Chorus) will work with local musicians in each area to write soundtracks for the films, influenced by their participation in local workshops and their own experiences of the landscapes and communities. The Dalmar Chorus, formed by Willie Campbell (Isle of Lewis, Western Isles and Outer Hebrides) and Scottish-Indian artist Kapil Seshasayee (Glasgow), was originally commissioned to write songs for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance ‘Common Ground Festival’ at COP26. They have since continued to perform together, writing songs that echo those same sentiments, covering subjects such as climate change and creating a better society.
Willie Campbell says: “Green Space Dark Skies is interesting, ambitious and a really exciting opportunity for us to do something new. Working with Kapil is always a pleasure, and Dalmar Chorus is delighted to take part in this amazing project with the creative people involved.”

Scottish Film Director, Rupert Shanks will document all the events, turning them into short films for each location.
Rupert is driven by moments of wonder and his mission is to share that feeling. The natural world and people’s reactions to it are a great source of inspiration for him but, more than this, he is energised by anyone with a passion whose story he can share.
Shanks says “My feeling is to create something that is both atmospheric and personal. I want to convey the character and history of the locations - possibly through spoken word and music. Visually, I’d like to accompany this with landscapes and details that make the location unmistakable. Alongside this, I want to share the intimate reactions of those present as they connect with the landscape and each other."

The project’s Lighting Director, Nich Smith, is the design director behind Nich Smith Lighting Design (NSLD) - an award-winning, independent lighting design studio in Glasgow. NSLD has evolved from lighting works, based predominantly in arts and entertainment, to a fully-fledged lighting design studio working across architecture, arts, landscape, urbanism, culture, heritage and design.
Nich Smith is the author of the lighting section of the Glasgow Public Realm Design And Maintenance Guide. He has over 30 years’ experience in lighting. NSLD designs are visually stunning and creative yet practical, sustainable and maintainable.

Writer Merryn Glover was the first Writer-in-Residence at Cairngorms National Park and is behind the Storylands Sessions - music and storytelling workshops - alongside musician Hamish Napier. She is an award-winning, published writer of fiction, drama, poetry and BBC radio plays. A qualified English and Drama teacher, she also has extensive experience of community arts. For Green Space Dark Skies, Merryn will be leading workshops and collecting words inspired by people, nature and place from the local community in different languages (Scots, Gaelic, English and other languages) to create text for the film soundtrack. She will engage groups including Cairngorm Wild Swimmers and Colourful Heritage, which highlights South Asian presence in Scotland.

Movement Coordinator Jo Davies, from Just Dance Orkney, started dancing at the age of four and is trained in a wide range of styles. Jo has toured Scotland and was selected as a dancer for the Commonwealth Games Handover Ceremony 2010. She represented the Royal Academy of Dance in the live broadcast of the Parade for the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations. Jo’s choreography work includes local productions of musicals which feature her talented pupils, and she has also choreographed numerous pantomimes and cabaret shows.

Helping Jo at the Cairngorms project, Heather Cooney gained her Msc in Dance Movement Psychotherapy at Queen Margaret University during which time she also performed in and co-created the opening ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics. First brought to the Highlands on a one-year contract with Eden Court Creative as a dance development worker, she founded The Cairngorm School of Dance in 2014, and opened their Aviemore studio in 2019.

Emily Dodds, the project’s Workshop Leader, is a storyteller and science spoken word artist with an Msc in Communicating Science underpinning her work. She has developed and delivered education programmes for the Scottish Seabird Centre, Edinburgh International Science Festival, National Museums Scotland and Our Dynamic Earth and will now work with Lumenators at Green Space Dark Skies Scottish events.

Emily is also a CBeebies screenwriter and author of over 20 fiction and non-fiction books including ‘Can’t-Dance-Cameron: A Scottish Capercaillie Story’, set in the Cairngorms, and ‘Surfing the Moon’’ about a boy with autism who learns to surf and has a love for the moon. Her mental health themed radio play ‘Black Holes and Hot Chocolate’, about a mother and son stargazing together, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Participants will also be able to experience Scotland’s natural beauty in a bold and dynamic new way, thanks to an exciting collaboration from coders, musicians, graphic designers, and filmmakers. Miro CoLabs - a British AR/VR collective - will immerse Lumenators in bespoke virtual-reality concerts which combine live music and virtual landscapes for performances which are guaranteed to engage all the senses.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.

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