Since 2014, ATLAS Arts had been working with the Staffin Community Trust (Urras An Taobh Sear) to develop a proposal for a contemporary memorial to acknowledge the nineteenth-century crofters’ land struggle in the Staffin area. The project opportunity attracted proposals from across the world where two practices were asked to develop their initial ideas further.
Lateral North and artist Henry Castle explored the history and significance of the crofters’ uprisings which took place across twenty-three townships in the area throughout 2018. From conversations with local crofters, academics, studying archival documents, and visiting the sites of significance, both have built on their initial ideas and developed an exhibition which was showcased in the village centre.
In particular, their research has become focused on the history of Loch Leum nam Bradh (Loch of the Leaping Quern Stones) and the significance of quern stones to the crofters in the area and on using mapping and digital technologies to investigate how augmented reality and audio/visual experiences could be used to bring a memorial to life.
A central aim of these commissions was for the artists to contribute to the awareness and understanding within the local community of the potentially positive impacts and benefits of a commissioned public artwork/contemporary memorial.