The Bhaltos Crofters and the Land Wars

lf the front line trenches of the Land War of the 1880s were in Kilmuir and Staffin, Glendale and Braes, the information and command centre was in Portree, the most politically motivated town in the Highlands at that time. Its name was heard in the corridors of Westminster, usually with misgiving.

Skye Camanachd – A Century Remembered by Martin MacDonald 

In 1877 in the Trotternish Peninsula of north east Skye, crofters were in dispute with landowners due to high rents, their lack of rights to land, and the prospect of eviction to make way for large-scale farming operations. After years of unrest, and following the 1883 Napier Commission recommendations, the Crofters’ Act was finally passed in 1886.

Through this project we intend to offer a series of pilot commissions as part of a feasibility study investigating the potential for creating a permanent, contemporary memorial that acknowledges the historically significant crofters’ land struggle in Staffin.


This project has been supported with assistance from Creative Scotland’s Public Art Research and Development Fund.



The Artist/s will be required to:

  • Demonstrate experience of working in; the public realm, social practice, public art
  • Be interested in proposing an artwork that might challenge expectations about permanently-sited sculptural installations
  • Visit the Isle of Skye as required
  • Develop a good understanding of the context for the proposed memorial, through; becoming familiar with the local area, participating in meetings with the commissioners and spend time with the wider community to develop a greater understanding of the area from a local perspective
  • Provide a range of visuals/audio/writings/scores/texts – to articulate ideas and establish proposal
  • Work to an agreed timeline and within budget
  • Develop/participate in community engagement events/talks

ATLAS Arts will:

  • Work in collaboration with the Artist/s and the Staffin Community Trust
  • Provide opportunity to bring criticality to the Artist/s’ practice

Staffin Community Trust/Urras An Taobh Sear will:

  • Work in collaboration with the Artist/s and ATLAS Arts
  • Provide the historical context of the Staffin Crofters’ Uprising
  • Introduce the Artist/s to members of the Staffin community


The Artist/s will:

  • Report regularly to ATLAS Arts
  • Contribute to the documentation of the project for use in reports and presentations
  • Produce blog entries for agreed websites



Proposals should be sent to: or
ATLAS Arts, PO Box 6318, Portree, IV51 OAF

To apply please send all the required information to ATLAS Arts no later than 9.00am on 28 February 2017

Your application should include:

  • A short statement outlining your interest in the commission including how you might approach community engagement
  • CV and a detailed portfolio of relevant past projects or links to work that illustrates your artistic practice/maximum of six images
  • Your availability through 2017
  • How you heard about the project

Due to the nature of the project and its focus on collaborations and engaging with the community/place we do not expect finished proposals.

It is anticipated that ATLAS Arts will contact selected applicants in late March 2017. Applicants will then be invited to an initial meeting in Skye, the costs of which will be covered.

Unsuccessful applicants will also be informed around this time. We are unable to offer feedback to applicants who do not make it to the shortlisting stage. The decision of the selection panel is final.


It is anticipated that three artists will be invited to take forward their ideas to a research stage.
The three selected candidates will each be offered a fee of £500 to cover costs of developing a detailed proposal.


A fixed fee for these artists will then be offered, to spend more time in Skye and to further develop their idea.

Please download the full brief and guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions.


This project is being undertaken by ATLAS Arts as project producer and commissioner, in partnership with Staffin Community Trust/Urras an Taobh Sear.


An award winning organisation founded in 2010 with the aim of generating and presenting innovative, ambitious contemporary arts projects. A pioneering producer and commissioner of contemporary art creating connections between artists and audiences, and responding to the unique qualities of the region, its landscapes, its culture and its people. ATLAS aims to inspire and explore the specificity of place within a local, national and international context.

Staffin Community Trust

Founded in 1994, to serve a population of 600, half of whom are Gaelic speakers. Its aim is to enable proactive community, cultural, social and economic development in north-east Skye. Successful projects include a major harbour development, renowned Gaelic courses, the Skye Ecomuseum and indigenous tree planting.