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Cyanotype image of three feathers.

Learning + Living Wildness

Reduced rate partial tickets now available!

Visit, experience, learn about and respond creatively to Balranald Nature Reserve on the Isle of North Uist, through this four-days event combining visual art, photography and nature. Explore the machair, a beautiful, wildlife-rich grassland haven, a natural environment unique to the Outer Hebrides. Surrounded by marshes, sculpted sand dunes, sweeping sandy beaches and a rocky foreshore, this is a perfect place to engage with the landscape. Along with an opportunity to learn about the processes and rhythms of crofting agriculture and life, there’s also a good chance you’ll get to see a corncrake, as well as other migratory birds, as they arrive on the island.

This exciting event has been created for anyone with an interest in our natural world, wildlife, photography, printmaking and exploring!

Black and white photo of an eagle standing on a hilltop with a lapwing flying overhead.

[Image copyright: Cliff Redditch]

With a focus on analogue black and white photography, and zinc hard and soft ground etching processes, you will enjoy and be inspired by informative activities provided by leading practitioners, augmented by peer discussion groups and organised talks, all of which will provide encouragement, creative insights and technical support.

Some knowledge in either printmaking processes or analogue photography is desirable but not essential. 

Age 16+

We are offering a special reduced rate ticket for the Uist and Barra creative community to support those living and making nearby. If you live on an island between Berneray and Vatersay, enjoy a 25% discount on the standard price by choosing the Uist + Barra ticket option.  Reduced rate partial tickets are now also available – see the ticket options below.

For more detail, please download the full schedule to choose which days interest you most: Learning + Living Wildness Schedule 

Please contact taigh@taigh-chearsabhagh.org if you have any questions about the event.

Balranald Bird Reserve building, a low whitewashed building with two benches in front.

[Balranald Bird Reserve image copyright: John Kippin]

Contributors’ Biographies

Professor (Emeritus) John Kippin has photographed in the landscape for over 40 years. His work has been widely exhibited both in the UK and overseas. He has presented his work to numerous conferences and seminars, and he is widely known for his contribution to the development of Landscape photography. He has contributed to numerous publications. His most recent book publication is ‘From a True Story’, and he is co-author with Nicola Neate of the landscape and culture book ‘In this Day and Age’ The Outer Hebrides (short-listed for the Nature book of the year award). He is known for his large-scale colour and black and white works, many of which are in public and private collections, and he is widely experienced in both analogue and digital photography.

Nicola Neate has an MA in Printmaking PGDip in Photography. Her practice is inspired by the unique landscape of North Uist. She makes work by photographing and using discarded objects, foliage and other materials that she collects through walking or otherwise physically engaging with the landscape. She has over 20 years of experience in printmaking and is the Print Workshop and Darkroom Coordinator at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Art Centre.  Her work has been extensively exhibited in London and the North of England, and is co–author with John Kippin of the landscape and culture book ‘In this Day and Age’ The Outer Hebrides (short-listed for the Nature book of the year award).

Jamie Boyle has worked for the RSPB since 1984. He was posted to Balranald Bird Sanctuary in 1989 and has been working in North Uist ever since. Balranald has a unique mix of farmland, machair, coastline, wetlands and lochs, making this home to a large variety of birds. With 34 years of experience in managing wildlife on the machair, Jamie will take you on a guided walk. At this time of year (20th – 23rd April), there will be a lot of species of birds to see – particularly wader birds. Jamie will talk about the ecology and history of this place and how it differs from the mainland.

Shona MacLellan is the Community Engagement Officer for the RSPB in the Outer Hebrides. Shona lives in Lewis but is a native Gaelic speaker from South Uist. She is a keen amateur wildlife photographer who uses photography and the Gaelic species names to talk more about them. As part of the session on The Gaelic Names of Birds and Species, participants will learn more about the Gaelic names of birds and species in the Outer Hebrides.  The session will look at how their names can explain more about a bird’s colour, size, behaviour or habitat that it can be found in. This session will also include some storytelling about how some species got their name. By looking at the Gaelic names, the session aims to inspire participants to create.

[Banner image copyright: Nicola Neate]