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Artists in Residence

We welcome creative practitioners from all artforms to spend time at the Grinneabhat Residency.

Our programme is designed to work in partnership with the local crofting community, offering the opportunity to experience a biodiverse and culturally rich place first hand.


For more information on availability or to sign up to our Residency Newsletter contact:

Read about some of the artists who have stayed at Grinneabhat below.

Jemima Hall


Jemima Hall is an artist and educator of ancestral skills, based between the cities and islands of Scotland. Within her art practice she enters Scotland’s remotest landscapes to study the ethnobotanical uses of the natural material present. She explores natural building techniques through experimental and experiential architecture. Jemima is currently working with seaweeds because of their changing textures and their incandescent and translucent qualities. Jemima’s work exists through sculpture, visual poetry and performative art. Drawing and writing equally play an important role in her practice.

Following the opening of her solo exhibition at Grinneabhat on the 9th of February 2024, Jemima spent a week-long residency working in the gallery and along the shores of Bragar to develop new paintings and writing, and to explore new building techniques to create one of her seaweed sculptures. Jemima gathered dead willow from along the shoreline and tied together bundles with twine to create a ring-shaped structure which she suspended from the ceiling of the gallery space and draped in oarweed and kelp gathered from North Bragar beach. Four rocks weigh down the sculpture, holding it steady and are reminiscent of the rocks weighing down the thatch on the traditional black houses on Lewis. Standing or lying underneath its shelter, you are filled with the smell of seaweed and showered in its golden green light.

Jemima Hall, Seaweed Shelter
Jemima Hall, Grinneabhat

Within her art practice, Jemima Hall explores a story of human adaptation between changing environments. She imagines humans in a landscape between land and sea, rocking to land, nibbling seaweed off the rocks. Seaweed, with its minerals and vitamins, allowed us to grow hair to withstand the weathers above sea, to grow nails to hold the rock as tide pulled us back to the ocean, and to grow bones that could stand in the gravity of land. Building shelters with the material left by the sea we might have stayed close to its smells and sounds.
‘Can we, as humans, adapt and move between changing climates and environments?’ Jemima asks, echoing our current shifting climates, understanding that we must learn to find abundance in landscapes that to some, might seem uninhabitable.

Jemima Hall’s solo exhibition ‘Seaweed Shelter’ takes us into the ‘moons-land’ between land and sea of the Shiant Islands where Jemima Hall spent 33 days of winter 2023 in solitude. The ethnobotanical ruminations of seaweeds converse a story of human adaptation, imagination and survival.

Jemima Hall, Grinneabhat
Jemima Hall, Seaweed Shelter, Grinneabhat


Beti Bricelj, Leon Patchett & Kimmo Ylönen

Beti Bricelj residency work in progress beach sand profiles

Beti Bricelj (Slovenia)

Kimmo Ylönen

Kimmo Ylönen (Finland)

Leon Patchett

Leon Patchett (UK)

Ripple/Kare is a project creating contemporary visual art about and ultimately from water.

The original core group - Caroline Dear (UK), Heli Konttinen (FI), Leon Patchett (UK) and Kimmo Ylönen (FI) was formed in 2016 after they finished a project using the common reed as a material for developing work for exhibition.

Since then, the group has gathered at residences to discuss, plan and experiment with different methods to tackle a subject of a truly global scale. In September 2017 Ripple/Kare stayed in the village of Norup, Assens, Denmark. In June 2017 the group visited Saari-residence, Mynämäki, Finland. In August 2018 the Finnish half of the group visited Stockholm, Sweden.

The subject of an individual work of art can be anything from pure aesthetics of water to searching for the origin of water in the universe. To this day artists in the group have mainly been working with their own medium of choice. Depending on venue or the event the group may also build a collaborative piece or host a workshop.

Whatever work the artists produce there will always be a strong emphasis on encouraging the public to pay close attention to the value of water. Artists’ approaches to the subject can be incredible varied, a work of art can even take direct action to solve a specific water related problem. For example, Ripple/Kare carried out an AQUATTACK in the Saari Residence to clear a pond with microbe bombs.

Ripple/Kare is looking forward to building an international network of artists and searching for venues and events to attend. Composition of the group arriving to the Isles of Lewis and Harris is Beti Bricelj (SLO), Leon Patchett (UK) and Kimmo Ylönen (FI).

The residency has been developed in partnership with An Lanntair.

Work has been supported by: Kone Foundation; Finnish Cultural Foundation Art Promotion Centre Finland; Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation; Visual Artist and Craft Maker Award, Creative Scotland.

Click on the images above for more information about the artists.

Mhairi Killin at grinneabhat

Mhairi Killin

Mhairi Killin lives on the Isle of Iona in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, where she works with the precious relationships between land, sea, humans, and other living beings.  Her practice explores the island landscapes that surround and are her home, and she seeks to understand how belief structures – religious mythopoeic, and socio-political – have shaped the physical and metaphysical spaces she journeys through.


Her most recent project, On Sonorous Seas, 2022, is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative project which began in 2018 when a whale carcass washed ashore on the Isle of Iona, and at Bragar. Finding out why the whales had died led the artist on a journey into the tangled overlay of two cryptic environments: the habitats of the military and the habitats of deep diving whales. It took her on a ten-day sea voyage aboard the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust research vessel, The Silurian, during the largest tactically focussed, NATO-led, military exercise in Europe - Joint Warrior - and immersed her in a pelagic world of sound.

What became of the Iona and Bragar whales is a story told with the voices of science, art, music and poetry. It interrogates the 

power of, and reliance on, sound as a survival tool for both the whales and the military, and the complex relationship between the militarisation of Scotland’s seas and their existing ecosystems.


 Mhairi Killin was at Grinneabhat for a week long residency in August 2023, bringing the Bragar Cuvier’s Beaked Whale skull home to hold a series of “conversations through a whale”, and to learn more about Bragar’s long relationship with whales. Mhairi was last in Bragar 5 years ago working with stories of the conch call to prayer and the absence of the bell in the post Reformation soundscapes of Lewis and Iona.


As part of her residency Mhairi hosted a talk about On Sonorous Seas, and what it means, for her, to be an artist with an island as a context. During the residency, the studio was open to visitors, and on the final evening an informal event was held to allow Mhairi to share the work carried out during the residency.


On Sonorous Seas became a living project through the support of: Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, An Tobar and Mull Theatre, Creative Scotland, CHArts, The Space CIC, Scottish Association for Marine Science, and National Museum of Scotland.

Click here to read Mhairi's residency blog

Mhairi Killin Conversations through a whale

Caroline Dear mini residency, July 2023

Caroline Dear walk Bragar
Caroline Dear workshop Grinneabhat
Caroline Dear workshop Grinneabhat
Caroline Dear workshop Grinneabhat
Caroline Dear workshop Grinneabhat

Caroline introduced her work and we explored local traditions of making string/rope from plant materials at the Tuesday coffee morning, using artefacts from the collection of Comann Eachdraidh an Taobh Siar.


Caroline then led a walk on the Bragar machair to look at some of the plant materials available locally. This was followed by a workshop at Grinneabhat, learning how to make rope from a variety of grasses, reeds and rushes.

Caroline will exhibit at Grinneabhat in summer 2024.

Carolinje Dear String

We were very fortunate to have Iona Davidson perform at the coffee morning, fresh from her debut at the Heb Celt Festival. Iona is from Barvas, and has strong links to Bragar.

Fionn Duffy

My residency was primarily concerned with researching Barvas Ware, a type of pottery produced just up the road, at the turn of the twentieth century. I first came across the pottery in a programme for the International Exhibition of 1901 in Glasgow 6 years ago and was taken with  the caption “a survival of primitive times”. During  an iteration of the same exhibition ten years later an entire “Highland Village” was reconstructed complete with actors dressed up imitating an idealised daily life of residents of this imagined village for the entertainment of Glaswegians and industrialist visitors from across the British Empire. Looking at the form of the tea set I wondered what was seen as primitive about this pottery which looks so similar to some popular ceramic work produced now? And what are the political implications of exoticising a speculative past in the present? 

Fionn Duffy

Barvas Ware was produced purely for a tourist market, modelled on China tea sets produced in factories and popular at the time but made with techniques used for domestic functional ware - simply produced and easily discarded. The pots were produced with humour and a knack for tapping into the economy of identity - playing on outsiders preconceived fictions of a primitive  rural culture to generate effective financial gains. But these methods of firing unprocessed clay and sealing it with milk have siblings across the world -  Ukrainian milk glazing and Tibetan black pottery sealed with whey are just two I have come across in  my research. These processes require a sophisticated knowledge of material and place, one  that has never been stuck in time, continuing to evolve and drawing on both practicality and play.


It’s rare to spend time a place where the past lives so close to the surface of things. Pottery erupts from the peat by the shore in Arnol, bone needles  come out with potatoes at the machair, the schoolhouse itself still holds the names of those who built it, right there in the walls. It’s easy to get swept away in the romance of the past, to inhabit a space apart, to be the outsider, the observer, the postcard sender. But if I took anything away from my time at Grinneabhat it was     the care with which these legacies are held by those  that live there, in CD’s of songs that were sung together, in the upkeep of the graveyard, in coffee mornings and Gaelic classes and in the experiments that artists were already doing with clay and milk and fire, which served me well in figuring out my own interpretation of the methods used to work with the clay there.

To read the full text of Fionn's blog, with images, click here.

To see the work that resulted from the residency, presented at An Lanntair, Stornoway, click here.

Carol Mannas: Print Artist

Carol Mannas is a Canadian print artist who spent a month as resident artist at Grinneabhat.

“What I can fully appreciate after a month is the sense of calm, rugged beauty and permanence that are present here.  The vastness of the Atlantic Ocean along the west and north of the Isle of Lewis is inspiring to me – the weather it brings from other parts of the world and the potential dramatic systems it can carry to this ancient coastline.   Rock cliffs, in all their magnificence, appear as a protective wall – buffering the sea and keeping it at bay so that the citizens of this Isle have the land to live on and cultivate to provide for themselves.”

Read more about Carol’s time at Grinneabhat here.

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Ways of Dispersal - Saoirse Higgins

Climate Beacon Residency

Saoirse at callanish

This Climate Beacon residency continues an exploration and ‘looking out to’ what is in the ocean from an islander viewpoint- a ‘terrestrial Jacque Cousteau’ angle of vision. I am concerned about the macro scale and complexity of the seas changing ecosystem and how we as artists, designers, scientists, policy makers and community collectively try and understand and attempt to deal with the enormous situation we are faced with now for the future. I am interested in invasion and protection in the context of survival and climate change – ‘getting places’ on the back of objects and species. Nowhere is too remote to encounter objects and species rafting and floating in from far away places, collecting time as they travel on the air and ocean currents.

Click here to continue reading Saoirse's blog.

Ruta Vitkauskaite

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Our first artist in residence at Grinneabhat was Glasgow based Lithuanian composer and researcher Ruta Vitkauskaite, who was here on an An Lanntair residency. Ruta’s work spans from ensemble and orchestral, to collaborative opera in the dark, to experimental projects for one listener. Her interest in community projects resulted in Walking Opera and currently she is running CoMA – Contemporary Music for All, Glasgow branch. She has recently received a PhD in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.


Ruta says of her time in Bragar:

My two week experience of Lewis started with a cancelled ferry due to a storm, which never truly settled down for my entire stay, locking me indoors for many days and nights in the row. Nevertheless, when leaving Stornoway two weeks later, after, again, a row of cancelled ferries, I felt deeply enriched with culture, music and wonders of the world, more than I could have ever expected.

Truly, my residency started months before my trip to Lewis – with our virtual conversations with Jon Macleod from An Lanntair. Being new to Scotland and not knowing much about, well, anything, I was gradually introduced to Gaelic culture,  music, language, stories, symbolism, and ways of living and being. I developed an interest in onomatopoeic words in music and language, and the Modern Chants project was born, gathering a team of composers, musicians and a poet, supported by Creative Scotland, which included my residency in Lewis for further research.

When I finally arrived to Bragar in January 2022, I was met and greeted by Jon, and by Tina Macphail, a manager of Grinneabhat Community Centre, who took absolutely wonderful care of me – not only in a practical sense, but also in leading me in my research and integration into community.

I had several sessions on song-sharing with James Mackenzie and Katie Mackenzie. Most interesting for me was work with Puirt á Beul, bagpipe tunes, and flute music, which started with choosing melody, joining a few shorter tunes into a continuous piece, and working our way around that. We tried integrating some Lithuanian songs, and my original music with the local tunes, which worked in very surprising and unexpected ways.

One of the highlights of my residency was visiting a Gaelic service and hearing Hebridean psalm singing, at the Seminary in Stornoway. It is hard to describe the impression of the event. I knew about harmonic structure beforehand. Yet, that does not depict nor explain the actual impression of the psalms. It was this melody waving its way up and down, stretching community voices to the highest registers as the service progressed, and therefore bringing more exposition, power and energy to the flow of the song. It was really very deep, very honest spiritual experience, created there and then by the whole community, impossible to copy – a true prayer through song.

Click here to continue reading Ruta's blog, My Time in Bragar, on the An Lanntair website, and to hear a piece of music inspired by her time here.

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During the two-week residency Ruta worked collaboratively with Shawbost-based musicians and composers James and Katie Mackenzie, James is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Piping Degree Course. In 2019, he won the Silver Medal for Piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting Piping Competition. A former member of folk band ‘Breabach’, James is also a member of ‘Tryst’. He has produced three solo albums. His latest album ‘Fìbhig’ was released in December.

Katie is a Gaelic singer and harpist. She studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, specialising in Gaelic Song with Kenna Campbell. Katie has released one album to date, The Lassies Reply, which was nominated for Album of the Year at the Scots Trad Awards.

The residency culminated in a concert at Grinneabhat featuring Ruta, Katie and James.

James Mackenzie piper Isle of Lewis
Katie Mackenzie musician Isle of Lewis
Alex Hackett, Because they cannot lay an egg in the sea
Alex Hackett, Pink egg

Alex Hackett, pink egg

Alex Hackett because they cannot lay an egg in the sea 

Tent Gallery, Edinburgh 2018.

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