screen dance in the landscape


This took place between 7th – 13th July 2018.

Look out for new dates for Summer 2019.

A rare opportunity to spend 5 days engaging with the creative and practical possibilities of making dance for the screen, under the guidance of the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning director Katrina McPherson.

Taking place on the stunning and unique island of Easdale on Scotland’s west coast, the focus of this residential workshop will be the potential and possibilities of making screen dance in the landscape.​

On Easdale, Katrina will lead the group in a mixture of practical exercises, both collaborative and individual, designed to encourage exploration, skill-acquisition and inquiry into the form. Opportunities will be created through: facilitated exercises; research of proposed themes; open time for play and experimentation; pushing boundaries while searching for new possibilities; and the opportunity for students to create and share their own work.

As well as exploring the creative possibilities offered by the natural landscape, Katrina is interested in sharing her observations around the nature of the dancing, embodied camera, and the inter-changing role of dancer and camera, the observer and the observed, while filming and dancing.

Participants will have the opportunity to film and edit their own short dance film during the week, working in teams with the other participants, as well as two professional dancers employed for the first three days of the workshop. There will be also be scheduled time for reflection on process, one-to-one tuition, curated screenings and group discussion.

Katrina will be joined in facilitating the workshop by her brother, the photographer Colin McPherson, who will share his 25-years of landscape and people-based image making to support and enhance the experience for participants on the course.

This course is designed for people who wish to build on their know-how and experience to learn more and dig deeper into their own practice. Participants should ideally have a basic ability using a digital camera and editing software, although tuition and exercises will be offered to support the further development of these skills. Both Katrina and Colin have a wealth of expertise in making work in the landscape, as well as teaching and mentoring professional level camera and artistic moving-image work.

The ultimate aim of the week is to give you a break from your daily activities and to allow you to benefit from the physical and mental space to focus on making new work, exploring new possibilities, and forging new friendships, connections and collaborations, living in comfort in the most beautiful of landscape

Where is it happening?​

Easdale Island is a unique and lively place, and offers a rich variety of locations and environments for creating work on site. Once the centre of the Scottish slate mining industry, the abandoned quarries and tiny white-washed cottages give the place an historic atmosphere. Along with the stunning land and sea-scapes and different geological and geographical characteristics, the island provides an inspiring context for practical and creative exploration of performance in the landscape.

Access to the tiny island is via a three-minute passenger ferry which serves as a lifeline for the 65 permanent inhabitants. There are no cars on this inner-Hebridean island, but it does have a pub, tearoom/restaurant, museum and plenty of people coming and going. Set against dramatic coastal and mountain scenery, it is the perfect place to get away from the day to day business of life, be inspired, share ideas and experiences, and engage with making art in the landscape.

Participant numbers for the workshop will be between 8 – 10 and you will be accommodated in comfortable and modern cottages which boast all amenities on an island which looks out over the Firth of Lorne to the neighbouring island of Mull. Each participant will have their own separate bedroom, with shared kitchen and bathroom.

To participate on the course, you are asked to submit a bio and a link to view relevant work, so that we can ascertain what level you have reached in your practice. People with different experiences and backgrounds are very welcome although we reserve the right to select the most appropriate participants for the course based on the overall mix of the group coming forward. We will not have time to teach absolute beginners on this course, so practical knowledge and experience in ‘handling’ a camera is essential and basic editing skills are desirable.

As Easdale Island is only accessible by a small boat and there are no smooth roads or pathways on the island which means sadly this particular workshop venue is not suitable for wheelchair-users, however other disabilities can be supported. Please do get in touch to discuss as necessary.

Your arrival will be timed for late afternoon of Saturday 7th July. We will use the evening to introduce ourselves and each other and share a meal. The following morning, we will begin our journey.

Easdale Island . Photo: Colin McPherson

What is included on the workshop:

  • All teaching, guidance and encouragement to explore themes and practice, both individually and as a group. There will be two professional dancers employed to be part of the filming processes. We have a large communal lounge with big screen for looking at and reviewing work. Theory and practice will take place both inside and outside, on location. The structured teaching days will be Sunday – Thursday inclusive.

  • Your accommodation. We have six bedrooms for participants, in two separate cottages, Chattan and An Rubha. (Katrina, Colin and the dancers will stay in separate accommodation on the island). Each cottage has its own well-equipped kitchen, generously-sized bathroom and communal area for socialising. Both cottages have gardens, with Chattan also having a patio to the rear.

  • Meals. The following will be offered as part of the course fee: continental breakfasts on the six mornings of your stay, including day of departure. A light lunch, consisting of soup, sandwiches and salad on each of the five full days of the course. Five simple evening meals, which will be eaten communally. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided. On the third evening, we recommend the short trip to the island’s award-winning Puffer restaurant to sample some of the finest local seafood and other produce from Argyll. There will be a supplement charged for this, but it’s well worth it and we encourage all the participants to join us for the meal.

  • We can arrange free travel to-and-from Oban, the nearest major town to Easdale island (15 miles by road). Oban has railway and bus stations and is a two-and-a-half hours drive from Glasgow airport.

What is not included:

  • Travel to and from Easdale island. You will be asked to make your own way to either Oban or down to the island and to time your arrival for the late afternoon of Saturday 7th July. The course ends on the evening of Thursday 12th, with goodbyes and vacating the properties by lunchtime Friday 13th July.

  • Cameras and other equipment for your use. We recommend you bring your own camera, with a small selection of lenses if appropriate, a tripod and suitable clothing for all weathers, including robust footwear. Either a laptop or external hard-drive to store images is essential and desirable for editing (although we will have some laptops with editing software available for use).

  • Your personal insurance. Easdale Experiences, who are hosting the courses, have all the necessary insurance policies in place for your protection, however, we recommend you have your own travel and personal insurance in the event that you are unable to attend the course after booking, are delayed in your arrival/departure or that your equipment becomes faulty or damaged.

We are delighted to offer places on the workshop for a fee of £700, with an early-bird discount of £25 if booked before March 1st 2018.

Payment can be made by bank transfer, credit/debit card or PayPal and once accepted on to the course, participants would be asked to pay 50% immediately to secure your place, with the balance due by two months before the course. Cancellations and refunds will be possible, however, deductions may apply.

To register interest, or if you have any questions, wish to know more about the island, the course or the teachers, please get in touch using the form below.We look forward to hearing from you.

Easdale Island. Photo.Colin McPherson

Register Interest Here