AAS Launch International Exchanges Project

Applied Arts Scotland announces the launch this week of an international exchange project comprising three international residencies bringing together makers from Mexico, Canada, Thailand and Scotland who will create new collaborative works for an exhibition and international symposium in Caithness in 2020.

The organisation was awarded funding by Creative Scotland for this project which has the overarching themes of identity, sustainability and collaboration. Makers and designers will consider these topics in their broadest terms, challenging the concept of identity and what this means in a globally connected world.

The project begins this month (18-26 September 2019) when textile designers Fiona Hall from Aberdeen and Drymen based Kate Davies collaborate with artisans and designers Pilar Obeso, Soledad Ruiz and Dalila Rubicela from Oaxaca, the most culturally diverse state of Mexico, home to 16 indigenous groups, all of whom maintain their distinct languages, dress, gastronomy, and traditional ways of producing craft. The residency will take place across two sites, Ness on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles and Braemar in Royal Deeside with the aim of providing inspiration for the development of new creative work and opportunities to consider new ways of working.

The new works will be shown in an exhibition at Thurso Art Gallery in July 2020 which will take place alongside an international symposium at North Lands Creative in Lybster on 2/3 July 2020.

The exhibition will also include new works created through a residency by Grantown-on-Spey based lighting and product designer Clare Waddle of Yellow Broom in Oaxaca, Mexico in November 2019 and from Shift Canada, which will see four Canadian makers from Nova Scotia and four Scottish makers take part in exchange residencies during October 2019 and May 2020. Details of a Thailand residency will be announced soon.

Jessica Bonehill, Creative Industries Officer (Crafts), Creative Scotland said “We are delighted to be supporting this timely project for the craft sector, offering talented makers from Scotland and abroad opportunities to collaborate, learn new skills and develop their practice, as well as widening craft’s reach among audiences and customers – both in Scotland and internationally.”

Chair of AAS, Carol Sinclair, said “In our experience the process of making is a strongly unifying force that transcends cultural divides and unites makers globally. Communication through making processes overcomes language barriers and brings people with very different cultural backgrounds and identities together to co-operate, exchange and share skills and ideas. Making communities worldwide share the desire to preserve and update traditional craft skills, ensuring sustainability of materials, business practices, the environment and communities.”

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