A new project giving artists the opportunity to research and creatively explore the subject of climate change in relation to the unique landscape of Dumfries & Galloway.

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Leeming & Paterson, Glenhoul
Leeming & Paterson, Glenhoul

Energise is a new project being run by Upland CIC which gives artists the opportunity to research and creatively explore the subject of climate change in relation to the unique landscape of Dumfries & Galloway. The project aims to connect artists and communities in order to explore perceptions and responses to climate change with specific regard to renewable energy, in an imaginative and positive way.

The focus of the project takes the form of two overlapping artist residencies that will generate exploratory and meaningful work in response to energy generation within a specific area of Dumfries and Galloway known as the Galloway Glens.

Focussing on ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ the residencies will investigate the history of the Galloway hydro-electric scheme (a series of dams and power stations built in the 1930’s) considering its legacy and explore present day attitudes to renewable energies with the surrounding communities mapping the scheme’s impact to the present day through both people and place.

The project aims to connect with local communities, including young people and schools, to actively engage in the development of creative outcomes through working with the resident artists to explore energy generation, considering both the positive and negative impacts it has on the region’s landscapes.

In addition to the two artist residencies the project also consists of a professional development opportunity for an artist wishing to gain experience in participatory practice, community engagement through various workshops with the resident artists, a small exhibition for Upland member artists at the new Kirkcudbright Galleries and related talks / events.

The resident artists for the Energise project are Leeming & Paterson and Jason Nelson.

Photographers, Ted Leeming and Morag Paterson are based in Dumfries & Galloway and work both collaboratively and as individuals. Collaboratively Leeming and Paterson have been focused on environmental arts projects including collaborations on their ‘7 year Zero Footprint’ and ‘3 year Polphaill’ projects exploring carbon footprints and the conflicts of man and nature in the context of the oil and gas industry.  They also created the ‘In Flight’ installation in Dumfries in 2016 exploring issues around migration and climate change. 

Jason Nelson is an artist based in Dundee who has over 15 years experience as an artist and educator. Over the past several years the term that would best describe his practice would be ‘participatory’.  Embedded in Jason’s practice is the way in which activity can empower and enable expression and action. His work is often a response to context and exists as a result of direct engagement with people, their environments and their relationship to it.  Regardless of the scale of project the underpinning concepts that drive his work are notions of learning, social structure and ideas of identity, community and ownership.

Leeming & Paterson will firstly focus on research relating to the factual history of the dams construction and collate information on the local environmental impact of the dams (past and present) versus the global benefits of using water as a clean energy. They will then seek to gather both memories and current attitudes to renewables through a series of workshops. Visual artist Jason Nelson will also connect with various groups and members of the community through a series of creative workshops which will enable the participants to consider energy consumption with relation to the Galloway Hydro Scheme.

The project is running from October 2018 – April 2019. As the project progresses we will be creating a blog and posting information on related events and workshops. More info coming soon!


For information on the Energise Upland Members Exhibition at Kirkcudbright Galleries running from 13th October - 9th December, including info on an artist talk by Leeming & Paterson,   visit here.


The Energise project is supported by Creative Scotland and the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership.