The blue on white sign was adopted by Shona Cameron, Producer at ATLAS Arts to be displayed outside their office in Portree in Skye for the whole of 2017. Over Christmas, ATLAS staff arranged to meet artist Susan Garde Pettie in Broadford on Skye for a handover of the sign, to be taken south to its new home outside Democracy House in Strachur.
ATLAS Arts was the host organisation for one of Ellie Harrison’s Early Warning Signs for 2017. The sign was on display outside the ATLAS Arts office, in Portree, Isle of Skye, overlooking the busy harbour.
The sign was especially relevant for us in 2017, as we focused our programming on the environment with multiple projects and events exploring this theme across the year. Having the Early Warning Sign on display offered us another way to engage with the growing discussion about climate change, industrial aquaculture and increasing tourism, and the impact these are having across the island.
The latter has become a major point for debate over the last year in Skye, which has caused people to consider their relationship to the island, its attraction to tourists and its future. During a research trip to Venice Biennale, the similarities between Venice and Skye became more apparent, especially in relation to the burgeoning cruise ship industry and the affect such liners, and their disembarking tourists, have on the place they are visiting and also on the surrounding water on which both communities depend.
The sustainability of communities in Skye in the wake of climate change became a major focus for our largest project in 2017, CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones. It sought to examine the aquaculture industry around Skye and looked at forms of eating that address environmental regeneration by promoting ingredients that proactively respond to the new ecological challenges of Scottish waters.
As an organisation without walls having the Early Warning Sign outside our office acted as a daily reminder to ourselves and the public of the pressing need to address these issues. To quote an audience member at a Climavore event: “My experience also renewed my faith in the power of creative responses to issues such as this”.
Members of the public would come into the office to ask about the sign and on a calm day we were even asked if we change currency!
Audience (estimated): 7300