Throughout the programme, we are joined by friends and contributors to learn with the school, and to share their interests and knowledge through talks, workshops, walks, readings and screenings.
Artist and filmmaker Andrew Black has been meeting with the school regularly whilst on Skye producing a new ATLAS commissioned film. We've been considering together the island's histories and mythologies of activism, migration, oral history, storytelling, land struggle and colonial wealth on the island.
Andrew’s experimental videos often look at local ways of being, and queer relationships to place, memory, and the body. Speaking with a range of people from around Skye and Lochalsh, the film will build a picture of Skye’s past and what we might bring with us to the future.
The film will be screened in August 2021 in a series of events and conversations reflecting on the process.
Catherine MacPhee is an archivist who grew up on the Isle of Skye, using her strong knowledge and deep cultural connections to Skye she engages with community groups across Skye and Lochalsh. Preserving and protecting the culture for current and future generations. Currently she is studying for her MLitt in Archives and Records Management with Dundee University.
Having the opportunity to work with the School of Plural Futures group has been encouraging and exciting for the future of Skye. There is an exciting energy from the group, having the power to take charge of their futures by imagining the possibilities.
Lea Shaw is an award-winning Mezzo soprano from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Colorado. Now based in Scotland, she graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2021 with a BMus first class honours, a Masters of Music and a Masters of Opera.
An accomplished soloist in concert, opera, and improvisation, she has performed both locally and worldwide with repertoire spanning from Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John passion and the works of Britten, Handel, Bernstein, Purcell, Strauss, and Humperdinck, to the works of Vaughan Williams, Turnage, Ravel, Macmillan, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Maxwell Davies’ The Medium.
In her solo pursuits, Lea is passionate about the ways in which music can instigate social change and start conversations about the problems we face in contemporary life, and collaborates regularly with living composers and artists to create installations and new works.
Rory Pilgrim (Bristol, 1988) works in a wide range of media including songwriting, composing music, film, music video, text, drawing and live performances. Centred on emancipatory concerns, Pilgrim aims to challenge the nature of how we come together, speak, listen and strive for social change through sharing and voicing personal experience. Strongly influenced by the origins of activist, feminist and socially engaged art, Pilgrim works with others through a different methods of dialogue, collaboration and workshops. In an age of increasing technological interaction, Rory's work creates connections between activism, spirituality, music and how we form community locally and globally from both beyond and behind our screens. Solo Shows include: Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2020), Between Bridges, Berlin (2019) Andriesse-Eyck Gallery, Amsterdam NL (2018), South London Gallery (2018), Plymouth Art Centre, Plymouth (2017), Flat Time House, London (2016), Site Gallery, Sheffield (2016) and sic! Raum für Kunst, Luzern CH (2014). In 2019, Pilgrim was the winner of the Prix de Rome.
Rufus Isabel Elliot
Rufus Isabel Elliot is a composer and musician from Tower Hamlets, based now near Gairloch.
Rufus has written funerary music for doomed spaceships and orchestral music about rotting seaweed. It cares about honesty and openness. Its work is concerned with testimony, the conditions in which one speaks out, and how those stories are passed on.
In the last couple of years, Rufus has worked with the likes of sound festival scotland, Red Note Ensemble, Magnetic North, and the Nevis Ensemble, with whom it was composer-in-residence in 2019. Current projects include a new album with composer/violinist Harry Gorski-Brown, and a new longer-form vocal piece.
Recent collaborations have included joint composition and performance work with artist Iman Tajik and composer Fergus Hall, and several projects with poet Ella Frears. Rufus has performed as an improviser both as an instrumentalist and as a laptop performer, and as a performer in diverse experimental contexts, from Fluxus concert works to site-specific performance events.
In addition, Rufus produces OVER / AT, a trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse music-making world, which encompasses live touring projects, recording projects, workshops, online learning resources, and more.
Rufus recently completed a masters degree in composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, studying with David Fennessy. Its postgraduate studies were supported by the EMI Sound Foundation and by a postgraduate scholarship from the RCS Trust. In 2017, Rufus graduated from the University of Oxford with first class honours.
Matthew Arthur Williams
Matthew Arthur Williams is a visual & sound artist, freelance
photographer and DJ who livws in Glasgow. As a DJ Matthew has
coordinated multiple night spaces in the Glasgow and is a regular host
on Glasgow-based radio station, Clydebuilt Radio. Matthew is interested
in archival material and the documentation of black existence and
resistance, he works across mediums to encourage different narratives.
Matthew worked with The School of Plural Futures to document and take portraits of the group whilst also taking part and deepening the conversation over the weekend.
Ruth joined the school to talk about her work as a writer, dramaturg and thinker in relation to making work in collaboration with living systems, as well as speaking about a project she co-directed called Cape Farewell, where she led expeditions with artists and scientists around the Scottish Highlands and Islands and the Arctic.
Ruth Little is a dance and theatre dramaturg, a teacher and writer. Her research and teaching in ecologies of performance is informed by the science of living systems and by two decades' experience of commissioning, developing and curating live art events. Her work has encompassed national arts organisations, rural communities, site-specific production and large and small-scale exhibitions. She has worked with community groups, policy makers, academics, and artists across all forms, and has led workshops nationally and internationally. She lectured in English literature at the University of Sydney, and was literary manager at Out of Joint, Soho Theatre, the Young Vic and the Royal Court. Ruth was associate director at Cape Farewell, curator and producer of Sea Change, a programme of interdisciplinary research, sailing expeditions, events and exhibitions across the islands of Scotland. She is dramaturg with Akram Khan Company (Gnosis, Vertical Road, Desh, iTMOi, Dust, Techne, Until the Lions) and has worked with Banff Arts Centre, Sadlers Wells, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Spitalfields Festival, Barbican, National Theatre Connections, Fuel Theatre, Siobhan Davies Dance, Dance Umbrella and many others. Publications include The Young Vic Book (Methuen, 2004), The Royal Court Theatre Inside Out (Oberon, 2007), ‘The Slow Art of Contemporary Expedition: Islandings’ (in Expedition, University of the Arts, 2012), ‘Art, Place, Climate: Situated Ethics’ (InArt and Ethics, Springer, 2014), ‘War in the Body’ (La Monnaie/de Munt, 2014), 'The Meteorological Body' (in Imaginative Bodies, Antennae, 2017).
Ari joined the school in June 2021 to speak about her involvement in Rory Pilgrim's work The Undercurrent. Ari spoke about her interest and passion for farming, soil, plants and animals.
Ari is a 20 year old college student studying Botany. She lives in Boise, Idaho. Ari is interested in Native American traditions and her hobby is drawing.
Cal joined the school in June 2021 to speak about their involvement in Rory Pilgrim's work The Undercurrent. Cal spoke about their interest and passion for farming, soil, animation and directing.
Calcifer Earl is 17 and lives in Idaho. They feel a little out of place where they are. A creative by nature, they know there are bigger things, places and opportunities waiting for them out there. They have stories to share and so much they want to tell people. They have been on a journey to understand themself over the past years, like everyone, and have been learning a lot about loving themself and loving the home they have.
Liam joined the school in June 2021 to speak about their involvement in Rory Pilgrim's work The Undercurrent. Liam spoke about their involvement in the Fridays for Future movement, activism and the importance of working intersectionally.
Liam Neupert (they/them) is a 19-year-old student/artist/activist based in New York. Currently studying Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design, Liam spends their free time working on climate justice and other intersectional issues. Liam's passions lie in crafting storytelling experiences, whether through imagery or word, in the hopes to inspire others to share their story and build community.
Mairi is a freelance researcher, educator, writer, facilitator and activist organiser, now living in Abriachan near Inverness. She has a background in academic research and teaching in the fields of ethnology, cultural anthropology and human ecology. Since moving north from Edinburgh, she has been exploring the contours of a criticality and practice rooted in a creative ethnology, engaging with themes connecting across heritage and tradition, music, land, geopoetics, alternative economies and hopeful futures. Her most recent work has been as a member of the Enough! collective, exploring ideas and action around degrowth and climate justice. www.mairimcfadyen.scot / www.enough.scot
Raghnaid is a Gaelic speaker who grew up in Lochalsh. She lives today in Strathnairn, at the same latitude, at least, as her first home. She has a background in teaching and worked for several years as a curator of Gaelic manuscripts at the National Library. She is involved in several community groups - Farr Conversations, a conversation series that aims to ‘oil the wheels of engagement with issues affecting Scotland by hosting lively nights in a Highland hall’, the local Fèis and an allotment project. She has been exploring and researching her new home for several years and documents some of this work in her blog. She is looking forward to the day the hall opens again for action! www.raghnaidsandilands.scot
The poet and writer Myles Campbell lives in Flodigarry on the Isle of Skye. He has published nine collections or booklets of poetry, two of them co-authored, and eight children’s novels. He wrote the book Island Conversion with his wife, Margaret, telling how he came to the Christian faith. His poetry has won many awards, including the Dunleary Féile Filiochta cup, 1998, and the Gaelic Wigtown Prize, 2008. A collection of his short stories, Dòrlach Sìl, is expected from Luath Press later this year.
Iain MacKinnon belongs to the crofting township of Camuscross in south Skye and works for the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University. His research uncovers colonial relations involving Scottish Gaels and seeks to recover Gaels' sense of being indigenous to place. He has recently returned to Skye after several years away and is enjoying reconnecting with the island, returning to old friends and making new ones.