YAARP – Looking at the Archaeological Landscape Differently

DSC_0069The latest video results are now in from the Yesnaby Art & Archaeology Project team who were working in the field during the summer.

The team led by University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute archaeologist Dr James Moore and visual artist Rik Hammond use the shared language of the disciplines of art and archaeology to explore the landscape of Western Orkney through a different lens. The research project aims to use both disciplines as tools to understand the continuously changing physical environment and people’s perceptions of a specific area on the island.

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James continues, “Everyone perceives a landscape differently, depending on your own experiences, background and so on. An archaeologist would read a location differently to someone who has say trained in geography. A person brought up in an urban environment will see something different to someone who grew up in a rural setting, or on an island. Using GPS, video and a variety of other arts-based techniques we can create maps of activity, and diverse images of the landscape, which consider the ways in which members of the team experience different aspects of the environment, and provides a way of challenging our own perceptions of the landscape. By combining these ideas with our understanding of the locations and distribution of archaeological material obtained through our more traditional survey work we can hopefully begin to think about the ways in which people in the past might have understood and experienced the landscape in which they lived.”

One feature of the project involved placing a camera on the slope overlooking the valley and, using timelapse techniques, create a video to explore the landscape over a period of nine weeks….through sunshine and rain, night and day. The result not only tracks the changing environment of Yesnaby over a defined time period, but in many respects forces us to look at the archaeological landscape in a different way.

This is the third year of YAARP and this year the team have focused on creating unique digital and traditional artwork in the field based on the natural and cultural landscape. The team are looking forward to presenting a taste of the results by staging an exhibition in Orkney during spring 2018. There will be more from the team soon.

Follow YAARP social mediaFacebook @YesnabyArtArchaeologyResearchProject and Twitter @YAARP_Orkney and Rik Hammond @rik_hammond

Thanks to Orkney Islands Council Culture Fund for supporting the project.

Ness to Ness: Art & Archaeology Workshop 2017

NesstoNessfPosterJul17The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute have teamed up with Orkney College Art Department to offer a summer Art and Archaeology workshop.

  • Dates: 17th-20thAugust 2017
  • Venue: Orkney
  • All welcome. No experience necessary.
  • Cost: £220 per person for 4 days (accommodation and food not included)
  • Contact Mary Connolly at studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk or 01856 569225 to book a place

The schedule for the four days includes:

Thursday 17th August. Field Day. Ness of Brodgar and Ness Battery

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After an introduction to the workshop, we will visit the excavations at the Ness of Brodgar. You will enjoy a bespoke tour of the site with Site Director Nick Card and see its unique art with Neolithic art specialist Dr Antonia Thomas. In the afternoon we will have a tour of the remarkable buildings at the Ness battery and its unique WW2 painted murals with archaeologists Andrew Hollinrake and Dan Lee.

Friday 18th August. Studio Day. Printmaking with Charles Shearer

A&A 1For today’s session, we will be based in the art studios at Orkney College UHI in Kirkwall with designer Kirsteen Stewart. Inspired by the previous field days, you will develop your creative ideas through the medium of print with world-renowned printmaker Charles Shearer. You will also have the opportunity to learn the process of collagraph print production from drawing and cutting using a range of tools, through to the application of textures and materials that help give this process its unique character. Professor Mark Edmonds will also give a guest lecture where he will discuss the intersection of art and archaeology and his own printmaking practice.

Saturday 19th August. Field Day. Pier Arts Centre and Warbeth Beach

For today’s field trip we will have a dedicated tour of the Pier Arts Centre and its world-class collection of British Modernist paintings and sculpture, led by Education Officer and artist Carol Dunbar. The afternoon will be spent on Warbeth Beach where we will explore the materials used for art making in the Neolithic, and find our how this striking landscape inspires modern and contemporary artists.

Sunday 20th August. Studio Day. Printmaking with Charles Shearer

During this workshop, you will be able to develop your ideas from the previous three days further and continue to work on collagraph printmaking with Charles Shearer and explore other forms of mark-making with designer Kirsteen Stewart.

Cost: £220 per person for 4 days (accommodation and food not included).Contact Mary Connolly at studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk or 01856 569225 to book a place.

 

Bud(dough) Biscuits kept us going on Art & Archaeology Field Workshop

Students travelled from all over the United Kingdom – from Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Berwick, Aberdeenshire, Moray, the West Midlands and Orkney – to take part in the Art & Archaeology Orkney Workshop that was held at Orkney College from 30th March to 1st April.

Eleven students studying the Art & Archaeology Masters Module arrived on Thursday to begin a three-day workshop exploring Orkney, its art and, of course, its archaeology.

Having spent the first part of the course meeting on screen through video conference lectures and seminars, the group travelled to Orkney from all over the UK for our 3-day field workshop – it was really great to meet everyone in person at last.

We started in the Orkney College Art & Design Department with Rebecca Marr’s talk on Tom Kent, followed by a practical studio photography workshop, working with artefacts and objects, some made by the students themselves.

The session was entitled Photography: the Present in the Past and examined the representation of objects and how documenting artefacts will always be influenced by the choices made during the photographic process.

IMG_4003In the evening, following a few hours discussing the course and exploring Kirkwall, the group attended the Endeavour – A Creative Collaboration event at the Pier Arts Centre. This event involved artist Neville Gabie, the Centre’s Piergroup and students from Orkney College UHI’s Art and Design Department.

The weather was not kind on Friday as a sea fog enveloped the islands closely followed by torrential rain. It was, of course, the day assigned for our students to visit the World Heritage Site. The rain cleared as the mini-bus approached the Ring of Brodgar allowing everyone to enjoy the experience and discuss Neolithic art present at the Ness of Brodgar and elsewhere. The afternoon was spent in Stromness Museum which had been the focus of our first project.

Despite a rather drizzly start to Saturday we headed out to the West Shore near

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Stromness. Photograph thanks to Helen Garbett

Stromness for a morning of drawing, recording, casting and generally ‘making things’ in the landscape. We then ended up at the Pier Arts Centre to look at the collections and to discuss our first project which had focused on objects in the Stromness Museum. Buddo was the most popular choice of subject and had been ‘recreated’ in clay and dough –  the recipe for the biscuits will be shared later!

It was a very intensive and creative 3 days with many ideas for further collaboration coming out of the general discussion. Everyone is now looking forward to meeting up again, both on the VC and in person and all agreed that the Art & Archaeology Orkney Field Workshop was a great success and should be repeated very soon!

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“Thank you Anne Bevan @OrkneyCollege @UHIArchaeology for 3 inspiring art and archaeology days….bursting with ideas now. ” Helen via Twitter


If you are intrigued by the art, history and archaeology of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and want to learn more then either drop us a line through studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk or go to our guide to courses on this blog or visit our University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute web page

Ness of Brodgar Artist in Residence Video

The Ness of Brodgar artist in residence, Karen Wallis, was on site during the excavation of August 2016 and produced a collection of excellent images of people at work – some of which were showcased on the BBC News website in September.

Karen has now created a “work in progress” video. These images capture something of the atmosphere of the dig that perhaps photography alone cannot.

ness720 from Karen Wallis on Vimeo.

To find out more about Karen’s work then click through to her website.

Art and Archaeology Masters Module Enrolling Now

ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY – CONTEMPORARY THEORY AND PRACTICE

Level 11: “Art and Archaeology: Contemporary Theory and Practice” (UV411013)

The University of the Highlands and Islands is pleased to announce the introduction a new innovative interdisciplinary masters module that can be studied either as a stand alone module or for Continuing Professional Development in the museums and galleries, community archaeology and the Creative Industries.

Designed and led by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and the Department of Art and Design at Orkney College UHI, this exciting course is a distance learning course and incorporates a three day residential workshop held in the beautiful surroundings of Orkney, Scotland. It is a 20 credit SCQF Level 11 module which will appeal to those who have studied archaeology, art history, fine art or related subjects at undergraduate level.

  • Lectures & Seminars: Fridays 9.00 – 11.00 starting Feb 10th 2017

Outline of content:

  • Introduction to Art and Archaeology
  • Virtual Fieldtrip
  • Seeing, Engaging and Recording in Archaeology
  • Taking Art and Archaeology into the Landscape
  • Contemporary Art and Archaeology
  • Artefacts & Objects
  • Drawing Workshop *
  • Photography Workshop *
  • Landscape and Creative Mapping Workshop *
  • Looking at Prehistoric Art
  • Group Presentations/ Seminars and Essay
  • Assessment and feedback
  • 3 day residential workshop in OrkneyMarch 20, 31st & April 1st 2017

*Residential workshop: Travel & Accommodation costs not included

Entry requirements:  BA degree or equivalent

Costs for CPD/ stand Alone

  • £520 for credited (ie assessed)
  • £650 for non-credited study (non assessed)

Also note: Easter Break – April 3rd – 14th 2017

You can download the application form here: oc-application-form-for-2016-17-entry

Send to: Admissions,Orkney College UHI, East Road, KIRKWALL,Orkney KW15 1LX or e-mail a completed form to studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

For further information please contact studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1856 569225


Note that students are required to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses for the three day residential workshop. For students who are not already enrolled on a programme the costs are: £650 for non credited study (non assessed) and £520 for credited (assessed).

The course is also an optional module for students studying the Fine Arts MA, the Archaeological Studies MLitt, the Archaeological Practice MSc in addition to other related Music and the Environment, History, Cultural or Nordic Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Module code: UV411013

The Artist and the Archaeologist

GPS day 1

The wild landscape of Orkney lends itself well to collaboration. When the winds whistle across the sea, you soon find out that working with your neighbour is a good way to conduct your life.

In fact, collaboration seems to come naturally in such an environment. And so in this vein Dr James Moore, an archaeologist working at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, and Rik Hammond a visual artist resident in Orkney, came together to devise an innovative programme combining art and archaeology.

The Yesnaby Art and Archaeology Research Project (YAARP) was thus created…melding together the principles of both archaeology and art in order to bring the archaeological landscape of Orkney to life.

The project is in its second year and aims to explore the development of the archaeological landscape of Yesnaby and to consider the ways in which the environment can be interpreted and represented using a range of methods…from the traditional to the experimental. The main area of study this year centres on the area around East Bigging in Yesnaby, West Mainland, Orkney and runs from 18th July to 29th July.

This area of Orkney is particularly interesting in terms of landscape archaeology as there is evidence of human activity from the Bronze Age all the way through to the Second World War. This project will investigate, through the use of gephysics, field walking and test pitting, the evolving landscape of Yesnaby.

Each day during field work the team are presented with one of a series of ‘Provocations and Interventions’ to undertake collectively. One of these creative challenges involved a member of the project team gathering GPS data while they worked on an archaeology project during the day. Each track was shown on a map and in effect the process of undertaking archaeology created art (see the photograph above).

James and Rik take up the story by outlining their first day…..”Seven members of the fieldwork team assembled on Day One at the UHI Archaeology Institute at Orkney College for the fieldwork briefing and equipment check, before heading out to the area around East Bigging/Pickabigging in Yesnaby – the main focus of our landscape survey this season. After parking up and introducing ourselves to the neighbours, team members donned wearable GPS receivers and opened our first ‘Provocations & Interventions’ envelope – a daily task/instruction unknown to the wider team, randomly chosen, which today suggested two team members focus on recording audio and video in the landscape. Sarah Jane chose the video camera and Holly the iPad, and spent the day recording.

We then walked the perimeter of our primary survey area – a couple of fields and an enclosure totalling roughly 8 hectares – orienting ourselves within the immediate landscape, in addition to going through a project health and safety checklist, before breaking for lunch. We shared a packet of biscuits for pudding – and began a daily biscuit scoring chart (expertly drawn out on our portable chalkboard by Holly). Today’s ‘Rainbow Cookies’ didn’t score as well as we first hoped, despite their promising packaging! Will tomorrow’s fare better?

After lunch James instructed the team in the setup of the Trimble GPS (which is used to accurately map out a grid across the fields prior to geophysical survey) as the rain became heavier. We eventually abandoned the field a little early – as the rain was clearly not about to stop any time soon – and the team headed home to dry out and prepare for day 2.”

 

Check out www.yaarp.org.uk for more information on this innovative project.

Photograph by Rik Hammond http://www.rikhammond.com/


Supported by Orkney Islands Council’s Culture Fund.

Map Orkney Month: New Paper Published

Map Orkney Month: Imagining archaeological mappings has just been published in a new open access online journal Livingmaps Review (Vol. 1, No. 1).

The paper is based on Dan Lee’s (Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist)  contribution to the wider Public Archaeology 2015 project, in which 6 archaeologists and 6 non-archaeologists each had a month long project throughout the year.

Map drawn by volunteer
Participant mapping of Stromness

Map Orkney Month proposed new forms of creative mapping for archaeology. When volunteers were asked to map their world for a day, the idea was to create a new collaborative map of the Orkney archipelago based on everyday journeys and places; a kind of countywide archaeological walkover survey with a twist. In the process, the project challenged traditional archaeological power structures, destabilised the way archaeological knowledge is produced by using non-specialists, and experimented with new modes of archaeological mapping. In the end, each contribution became its own map without the need for traditional archaeological cartography. In particular, the role of imagination in both traditional and experimental mappings became an important theme. Above all, mappers were challenged to think about archaeology in a new way, and in the process contributed something new to the discipline.

After a month of collaborative mapping a new map of Orkney has been created. By thinking big, Map Orkney Month seems to have captured people’s imagination. Our map looks like Orkney, however it is far removed from the Ordnance Survey and the tourist trail of Neolithic World Heritage Sites, brochs and bird watching. Our map is an unfamiliar Orkney, revealed through the experience and creativity of its inhabitants.

The emphasis was on everyday journeys, less familiar places, and recording individual stories and memories of place. The only loose instructions were to record journeys for a single day within March using a handheld GPS or smart phone, and record one site of significance.

You can access the article free here (just register): https://www.livingmaps.review/journal/index.php/LMR/index

A new research paper: “Imagining Archaeological Mapping” has just been published by Dan Lee (Lifelong Learning and…

Posted by Archaeology Institute UHI on Thursday, 17 March 2016