Cromarty Lighthouse to illuminate stories of female scientists after receiving National Lottery Funding

Published: 31 Oct 2019

Cromarty Lighthouse against a grey sky with some trees.

Cromarty Lighthouse will be seen as never before next March with a new art installation inspired by pioneering women scientists which is being supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund.

Bones + Stars is a sonic and visual installation inspired by astronomer Caroline Herschel and fossil collector Mary Anning which will celebrate the work of the women who research the earth and the skies.

The installation, which will be free to attend, will divide the lighthouse into conceptual strata, fusing original music and poetry by Lucie Treacher and projected animation by Saskia Tomlinson.

This fascinating installation will transform the historic Cromarty Lighthouse as we take a journey into the past to share the lives of two incredible pioneering women.- Vanessa Boyd, Interdisciplinary Performance Officer at Creative Scotland

The work is being supported by the Open Project Fund. Artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts and creative industries throughout Scotland receive National Lottery Funding through Creative Scotland with the Open Project Fund awards, which are made monthly. Bones + Stars is also being supported by funding from Sound and Music.

Taking place from 17:00 to 21:00 on Saturday 21 March 2020, Bones + Stars aims to encourage members of the local community, and those from further afield, to discover the stories of pioneering women scientists and explore the lighthouse in a new way.

Audience members will be invited inside the lighthouse in small groups. There will be interactive sound sculptures, immersive animation and story-telling about the two women, their lives and work. The voices of contemporary women scientists will also be heard through interviews available on 'sound shells', that the audience will be able to pick up and listen to during their time in the lighthouse.

Lucie Treacher said: “I’ve always deeply admired Mary Anning (I myself am a hoarder of stones), and I recently discovered Caroline Herschel, who was cataloguing stars at the same time as Anning, during the early 1800s.

“Yet I was heartbroken to find out that these two women never met considering they only lived around 60 miles from each other. I was struck by the similarities in their stories and their ingenuity and perseverance in the face of hardship.

“This installation is a literal meeting of their - and other women scientists who research the earth and sky - minds. The lighthouse itself is coincidentally a centre for Marine Biology research and so lends itself to shining a light on the work of women scientists. It's wonderful to use this very special building which is rarely opened to the public.”

Creative Scotland’s Vanessa Boyd said: “This fascinating installation will transform the historic Cromarty Lighthouse as we take a journey into the past to share the lives of two incredible pioneering women.

Bones + Stars will celebrate their work and the contemporary achievements of women scientists through music, poetry, theatre and visual art, bringing their stories into focus for the local community and visitors.”

In addition to Bones + Stars, Highlands-based recipients of the latest round of Open Project Funding are Caithness artist Karlyn Sutherland, who is being supported to attend the renowned Emerging Artist in Residence programme at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, USA, and the second SEALL Festival of Small Halls, a nine-day multi-artform winter festival taking place on the Isles of Skye and Raasay.

Iain Munro, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland, said: “Bones + Stars is a fantastic example of the diverse range of projects Creative Scotland is supporting across Scotland.

“These projects are helping to transform community spaces into hubs for creativity, to develop artistic practice and having a profoundly positive impact on the lives of individuals across the country for the better.

“The National Lottery will shortly be celebrating its 25th birthday and we are proud to be able to support this fantastic creative work, thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players.”

A full list of projects and activity awarded through the Open Project Fund in this latest round can be viewed at the end of this page. In this round, over 30 creative projects and activities taking place across Scotland have received more than £600,000 of National Lottery Funding through Creative Scotland.

Over £583m National Lottery funding has been awarded across Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries over the last 25 years. Nearly 16,000 individuals, projects and organisations have benefitted from this enabling people and communities to bring their ideas to life. To find out more, visit the National Lottery 25th Birthday website.

Photograph: Courtesy of Lucie Treacher


Open Project Awards September 2019

View the Open Project Funding Awards for September 2019 in Excel spreadsheet format.