The efforts of a Community Arts Initiative focused around a ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) windfarm, now has a worldwide audience following the launch of a new website.
Inspiring Landscapes is a community-wide visual arts project which draws inspiration from the surrounding landscape and Black Law Windfarm to the north of Forth village in South Lanarkshire and provides opportunities for local people to develop skills in wool crafts and tapestry, digital photography and creative writing.
SPR completed Black Law Windfarm in 2005, after a painstaking regeneration process to reverse the effects of a ‘defunct’ open cast mining operation. As part of the installation of the 54 turbines, an extensive habitat management programme was put in place and the area is now a haven for birds and wildlife.
The effort and work to improve the environmental and community legacy of the windfarm played a key role in SPR being granted permission to increase the site’s output by an additional 69 megawatts (MW) in 2010. Plans are currently underway to add a further 13 turbines at Black Law.
Since 2005 SPR has also invested over £1 million in a fund to support local projects, like the Community Arts Initiative and this figure could be set grow when the proposed additions to the windfarm are completed.
Inspiring Landscapes encourages local people ‘to look and look again’ at the landscape, to re-connect with the environment, to explore the ecosystems which have existed on the site and that are being encouraged to regenerate – the flora and fauna - and interpret landuse changes through wool related crafts to reflect the traditional agricultural base, words and creative writing to express the changes, and photography to create a unique visual record.
Since 2010, professional artists have been working with the community to lead a series of workshops and raise the artistic ambitions of local people taking part to create new art works.
John Alexander, Project Director for ScottishPower Renewables said: “ScottishPower Renewables is delighted that this website has been created and that even more people will get a chance to see the fantastic efforts of the community.
“Black Law has always been a regular attraction for photographers and other artists and we have been blown away with some of the stunning creations.”
Speaking on behalf of Forth & District M. Wall Hanging Group, Anne Carruthers said:
“Inspiring Landscapes is a fantastic community arts project and over 150 local people have taken part to date.
“We are grateful to Creative Scotland, the Rural Communities Heritage Fund and the Renewable Energy Fund for their support and to the artists Kenny Bean and Kitty Wingate for their expertise and instruction. Further exhibitions are planned in 2012 and details are advertised on our website www.inspiring-landscapes.co.uk "
Image copyright Kenny Bean and Forth & District M. Wall Hanging Group