The Kids Are All Right
The Las! / Ignite! Festival offers a major platform for talented youngsters
CREATIVE young islanders from the Outer Hebrides will be taking over one of Scotland’s key arts centres this month, staging a dynamic new festival celebrating youth talent.
Curators and programmers at An Lanntair in Stornoway have handed over control to Board Not Bored, a group of volunteers aged 16-26 who have planned and organised a week of cultural events showcasing the creative diversity of young people throughout the Western Isles.
The Las! / Ignite! Festival, which has been funded by Event Scotland as part of the Year Of Young People, includes an exhibition of visual art, youth theatre productions, gigs, gaming competitions, open mic nights and a symposium of arts industry leaders.
Ella Macaulay, the festival co-ordinator, says the event is all about sparking change, showcasing local talent and shaking up the arts, as well as providing opportunities for the younger community and addressing some of the bigger issues facing them on the islands.
“Las is the Gaelic translation of the word ‘ignite’ – and our theme for the festival is change,” Ella explains. “We’re trying to change the conversation, so as well as the arts we’re also talking about things like mental health and giving young people a platform they wouldn’t otherwise have.
“We want to keep the programme very arts-focused, but mental health is a concern in the community, and so that’s something that we wanted to focus on well.”
Young people on the islands – anyone aged 27 or under – have been invited to submit work for a visual art exhibition that will be selected by a committee of young curators. Ella and her team have also been working with colleagues at Shetland Arts on Between Islands, an exchange programme involving filmmakers, artists and weavers that will showcase their work in both venues.
The festival funded a place for one young islander to take part in Muir Is Tìr – Land And Sea, a residency of international artists on a sailing boat that travelled around
Promoting the Year Of Young People at An Lanntair