I am a visual artist with a practice that includes working and engaging with people while also making art that is generated through my own personal research. My most recent work has been influenced by nature and landscape, so the idea of National Scenic Areas was a very intriguing description of place and space. To be honest, I had not heard of the designation NSA before applying for the position but it instantly captured my imagination.
There are 40 NSAs in Scotland. I limited my focus to 3 that I could demonstrate had a link with my interests and practice but as it is only a 4 month residency, the plan is to narrow down my field of research to just one area.
To do this however I felt I had to make a more informed decision. So I am currently spending an intense week in each area walking and talking to people who are guiding me and introducing me to their place. So far I have been to Wester Ross, and Glen Lyon/ Loch Rannoch and next week I will be in Ben Nevis/Glencoe.
My guides over the past few weeks have been crucial in helping me gain a better understanding of the places I have been visiting. I have leaned heavily on SNH staff and their community contacts. Everybody has been extremely generous with giving me dedicated time and local knowledge, which has been invaluable.
A big thank you to: Mary Gibson, Eoghain MacLean, Rachael Thomas, Iain Thow, Helen Taylor, Ann Benson, Mary Chambers, Martin Faulkner and Derrick Warner.
Now off to pack for my trip to Ben Nevis and Glencoe, after which I will pick an area where I will be based for a couple of months. So more reflection will be needed on my return to assess where will be the best place to position myself…its not going to be easy to pick just one!
I will keep you posted and if anybody has any top tips for places to see when I am in Ben Nevis and Glencoe let me know!
Rachel – firstname.lastname@example.org