Artful Migration Conference

An exploration of artists-in-residence, birds on the move, and habitats in transition. 
The Artful Migration programme is developed by Upland in partnership with Moving Souls Dance. 


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Image: Leeming + Paterson
Talk by artist John Wallace
Keynote speaker Sacha Dench

The Artful Migration programme is developed by Upland in partnership with Ginnie Wollaston and Nicholas Paton Philip of Moving Souls Dance. Our first Artful Migration Conference was held at Easterbrook Hall on Friday 20th October 2023 and live streamed online, aiming to: 

  • Reveal the achievements and challenges of three innovative artist residency programmes developed by Upland and Moving Souls Dance, hosted in local areas of wildlife importance. We will hear the artists’ views about the opportunities to make and exhibit work, and their engagement with local people, on the shared theme of migratory birds and their habitats.
  • Reflect on how the artists have responded to the challenges facing these birds, including shifting weather patterns and changing management of habitats.
  • Listen to keynote speakers from conservation and ecological art perspectives illuminating further the contexts and approaches involved in this work, encompassing artistic practice, conservation, citizen engagement, sustainable land management and the manner in which these approaches overlap.
  • Consider the implications of Artful Migration for global agendas on the conservation of migratory species and the complex mix of values and contexts at stake.
  • Celebrate the partnerships and collaborations stimulated by Artful Migration, and discuss where these might lead in future!

Who was this conference for?

  • Bird enthusiasts and anyone concerned with nature conservation
  • Young people engaged with climate change activism/ climate science and environmental issues
  • Organisations and audiences who engage with the arts in a place-based context
  • Artists, enthusiasts, volunteers, activists with an interest in the natural world and commitment to sustainable lifestyles and creative practices
  • Academics and scientists who research and contribute to the fields of policy and decision-making in conservation, sustainable land management, eco-tourism and related disciplines
  • Policy makers, land management agents/agencies, farmers and publicly owned venues concerned with management of the natural environment of Dumfries & Galloway
  • International conservationists and organisations concerned with migratory species and their conservation needs

Keynote speakersSacha Dench (UN Ambassador for Migratory Species) Co-founder of Conservation without Borders, scientist, campaigner for climate action and Chris Fremantle, Research Fellow and Lecturer at Gray's School of Art, producer of public art and design projects, a writer/editor in particular on


With thanks to our supporters: Moving Souls Dance, Creative Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland, and The Stove Network

This event was part of the Wild Goose Festival 2023 programme. For more information about the Wild Goose Festival, visit The Stove Network.  


The talks from the keynote speakers were recorded and can be viewed here: 

Sacha Dench - Keynote Speech

Chris Fremantle - Keynote Speech

 Artful Migration Artists-in-residence



The Artful Migration residency programme offers artists a unique insight into the migratory birds of Dumfries & Galloway through partnership working with local nature reserves and the opportunity to create new, high quality artworks in response for public display.

The programme is developed by Upland in partnership with Ginnie Wollaston and Nicholas Paton Philip of Moving Souls Dance. It is also supported by Creative Scotland. This years project partners are Forest and Land Scotland and RSPB Scotland.

Artful Migration was set up to honour the legacy of Virginia Wollaston’s uncle George Clark and his brother John Clark, a keen artist who lived for many years in Gatehouse of Fleet. Virginia wanted to give this legacy to Dumfries and Galloway in memory of both uncles, enabling artists to create work inspired by the unique environment and migratory birds associated with the region.

Find out more about Moving Souls Dance HERE

This year's Artful Migration Residency was awarded to Leeming + Paterson, whose work explores the landscape and our human interactions therein in the context of climate change and biodiversity loss. The natural world forms the basis of inspiration for many of their collaborative images and projects.

Ted Leeming and Morag Paterson's research took place at Lochar Mosses (approx. 4 miles from Dumfries) and they worked closely with Forest and Land Scotland who enabled access to the site and supported the artists to view the birds in their natural habitat.

Find out more here: Artful Migration 2023


The artists shared their work at Gracefield Arts Centre 14th October - 11th November in the Much Ado About Nightjars exhibition 






With grateful thanks to our supporters:

CS (creativescotlandbw.jpg)                  Wild Goose Festival logo (wildgooselogofinal.jpg)            Forestry and Land Scotland logo (flslogosmall.jpg)            RSPB logo (rspbscotlandstandardstackedrgbaw.png)