Shift is a project that was developed by Pamela Conacher and Emergents over 3 years. In the project’s initial phase, makers and designers from the Scottish Highlands & Islands and Iceland collaborated. In it’s current phase, Shift is ‘shifting’ to Canada…


Shift began with an initial scoping visit made to Iceland in 2015, continued with an exhibition of Scottish and Icelandic makers existing work in 2017 and culminated in an exhibition of new work by Scottish and Icelandic participants as part of both Design March in Reykjavik and XpoNorth 2018 at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Over the course of the project eight Scottish makers took part. Eileen Gatt (jewellery and silversmithing) and Hilary Grant (knitted textiles) exhibited existing work. Diggory Brown (kiltmaker), Julia Smith (ceramics), Yellow Broom (lighting and products), Jen Deschenes (textiles) and Lucy Woodley all developed new work for 2018.

This film details the project in 2018 as makers and designers were preparing works for the final exhibition.

The immediate benefits reported by makers at the end of the project were:

  • 15 new product ranges developed, some as prototypes and some market ready
  • 8 collaborative partnerships developed, all have borne fruit
  • A network of international collaborators created, 20 members at its core and a significant number more customers, designers and supporters engaged in the project
  • At least 5 new commissions made in 2018 with confidence more will follow
  • Press and social media interest resulted in publicity and increased profile for the participants
Work by Scottish makers and designers participating in Shift, 2017/2019

One year on, the benefits to the makers who participated in Shift are still accruing.

  • Yellow Broom’s ‘Reykjavic’ lights, inspired by the architecture of Iceland’s capital, were selected for the Visual Arts Scotland 2019 exhibition in which they won the prestigious Inches Carr Mentoring Award
  • Lucy Woodley’s new work is currently being exhibited at An Tobar, Mull
  • Netty Sopata of Diggory Brown has been invited to join the Circumpolar Crafters Network travelling to work with the Sami people in north Norway, and the Crafting Futures Mexico project to meet makers in Oaxaca.  Netty has now also joined the AAS Board so that she can work to create valuable international opportunities for other makers, and is the lead on our new Crafting Futures project in Afghanistan
‘Reykjavic’ lighting, Yellow Broom, supported by the Inches Carr Mentoring Award


Shift is now entering a new phase as an AAS project, managed by Pamela in her new (ish!) role as an AAS Board member. We are delighted to be working with our new partner in Scotland, Dr Juliette MacDonald Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and Distinguished Research Fellow at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD).  Juliette is leading on the academic strand of the project and has brokered the relationship with NSCAD who are our Canadian partners in this project.  And we are also delighted to have the support of Creative Scotland to make this project possible.

This residency will bring four Scottish and four Canadian makers together at three points:

  1. Residencies in Nova Scotia, autumn 2019
  2. Residencies in the Scottish Highlands, spring 2020)
  3. Old stories, new narratives: identity, sustainability and collaboration‘ international craft symposium and ‘Meet Make Collaborate’ exhibition, postponed from July 2020.