Birsay, Orkney, Scotland
Sat 24 Aug – Sat 31 Aug 2024


The Museum of Loss and Renewal is delighted to invite applications for the Group Residency DRAWING WITH PLACE.

DRAWING WITH PLACE has been devised around the relationships of ‘Air, Sea and Soil’, encompassing the Orkney Islands’ remarkable natural environment. Residents will be welcomed to the Birsay area of Orkney, where the bespoke programme will take place in Linkshouse’s excellent accommodation and studio facilities, and through visits to Neolithic Orkney’s World Heritage Sites.

DRAWING WITH PLACE will be lead by Tracy Mackenna (The Museum of Loss and Renewal) and invited subject experts. Between us we activate diverse skills and expertise when we employ drawing (in an expanded sense), publishing and performative modes of working to investigate place(making), (un)belonging, memory, (personal)narratives and imaginary futures.

Applications are welcomed from creative practitioners and researchers who think through drawing and for whom drawing is a way to investigate and understand place, and from practitioners who have a strong interest in drawing as an area of practice. The max. number of participants is 10.

‘Drawing’ is understood as creative, critical and situated, and as an area of practice in its most expanded sense. In other words, drawing that is experimental, inventive in its form, and responds to place.

As an example of a site-specific Group Residency, see the activities and work generated during the PLACE, PEOPLE and TIME: DRAWING DEEPLY GROUP RESIDENCY, 2023


– Immersive experience
– Semi-structured programme
– Expert facilitators and guest contributors
– Supportive, caring, non-hierarchical environment
– Fully catered
– Drawing, and drawing in an expanded sense
– Experimentation
– Interdisciplinarity
– Technologies
– Co-learning
– Individual practice
– Collective platform for encounters
– Location specific including Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site
– Natural environment of exceptional significance


The aim of the Group Residency is to develop drawing and approaches to drawing that are experimental, inventive in their form, and that respond to place by collectively investigating a site of global importance. Bringing together residents form a range of areas of practice and research, the potential to create an international network is made possible.

The Group Residency will provide opportunities for creative practitioners and researchers to share and establish a bank of knowledge and creative strategies, both globally interconnected and hyper local, digital and analogue, for imagining new responses to places and the multiple, layered and contested histories they hold. Residents will have ample time to pursue and share their individual projects.


Working together across drawing practices residents from diverse cultures and creative disciplines will focus on different ways of responding to place through drawing in its most expanded sense.

Residents will work collectively and individually. Value will be given to the individual knowledge and experience of each resident, exploring the act of drawing as a fundamental means to analyse, document, record and translate the worlds we inhabit. The residency experience is designed to stimulate experimentation through collective and individual production, research, and co-learning. Participants investigate, share and connect their experiences of and ways of working through ‘drawing’ and in their own place in the world with those of others through facilitated co-creating and co-presenting modes. Over shared meals, residents and facilitators will maximise the time for exchange, sharing information and knowledge, and developing relationships and networks.

The Group Residency programme is designed around a bespoke itinerary, with carefully crafted indoor sessions that focus on historical and contemporary ways of drawing, discussion, presentation, making and sharing. Outdoor sessions will introduce residents to the stunning natural landscape and world-class archaeological sites. By walking, listening, looking and making, residents will activate drawing, a sophisticated means of thinking and communicating, to investigate sites. Residents will step out of Linkshouse on to the St Magnus Way pilgrimage route that is inspired by the life and death of Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint. At the Atlantic Ocean, Birsay Bay’s 400 million year old spectacular rock structures reflect how landmasses have moved, and how glacial erosion has sculpted the islands that we know today as Orkney. Intricate and immersive patterns draw us in whilst helping us consider climate change in the past, perhaps helping us predict future scenarios. These locations along with RSPB reserves and world heritage archaeological sites will be the sites for a series of tailored drawing exercises.

Designed to be supportive, the partially-structured and hands-on programme will enable residents to develop their skills and understanding of drawing across a range of approaches and technologies. The residency experience will stimulate new ways of thinking and experimentation through production, research, co-learning and presentation.

The Group Residency will have a focus on co-learning and knowledge exchange, creating opportunities for residents to learn from each other. A series of group sessions supported by specific learning models will enable residents, without hierarchies, to explore their own practice and the assertion that drawing underpins systems and principles of visual language. ‘Visual Dialogue’, ‘Slow Looking’ and ‘Listening Environment’ will focus on attention to detail. An underlying theme of ‘Micro-Macro’ will connect the group to the residency location and to the wider world, in consideration of what one brings from a place and what is subsequently left in a place.


The residency programme will take place in Linkshouse, beside the Atlantic Ocean, and at sites of archaeological, historical and social importance in Orkney, accessible by foot and minibus.

Residents will be accommodated at Linkshouse, The Pier Arts Centre’s accessible residency facility with studio provision, that is a bequest from Barbara and Edgar Williamson, whose son artist Erlend Williamson drew inspiration from Orkney’s landscape and environment. Linkshouse is situated on the St Magnus Way pilgrimage route, on the Atlantic Ocean and amidst farmlands. Twin and double bedrooms are available. One room is partly accessible.

Linkshouse is fully equipped, and comprises twin and double bedrooms, one of which is partly accessible. Work spaces include ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ spaces.

photography: Studio Niro


Orkney is an archipelago of about 70 islands (16 inhabited) off the north coast of Scotland. The highly respected Pier Arts Centre is based in Stromness and curates a year round programme of changing exhibitions and events, and its permanent collection is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland. Orkney is famed for its natural beauty, archaeological sites and its First and Second World War heritage. It contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe and the ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Orkney also has an abundance of marine and avian wildlife, and the sea is almost always visible wherever you are located. Orkney is home to a significant number of artists, writers, musicians, archaeologists etc. and to University bases and a research campus that hosts Orkney’s wide range of energy and low-carbon expertise.

The residency will be centred in the area of Birsay, Orkney’s ancient capital, in the islands’ West Mainland. Birsay has sustained communities of Neolithic peoples, Picts, Vikings, Scottish Royalty and today is home to a multi national community. Outstanding sites include prehistoric and Norse settlements on the tidal island of Brough of Birsay, and the ruins of the Earl’s Palace in the village.


The residency will be lead by Tracy Mackenna (The Museum of Loss and Renewal) with bespoke sessions provided by subject experts.

Tracy Mackenna (RSA, Professor Emerita; SCO-IT) & Edwin Janssen (Dr; NL) are the founders and co-curators of The Museum of Loss and Renewal. The Museum of Loss and Renewal’s key areas of focus are social relationships, the way places are inhabited and how personal objects reflect who we are. In her individual practice and research Tracy employs drawing, video, walking and writing as dialogical processes to activate playful, provocative and non-linear properties of language within visual art practice, giving new and refreshed voice to collaborators and subject-matters. Tracy & Edwin work with international partners to devise and present multifaceted exhibition projects that address issues of societal concern such as well-being, care, (personal)histories, (in)formal collections, land use / land futures, habitation and sustainability. Tracy and Edwin are highly experienced, award winning educators who have devised and lead multiple group learning projects situated within the international museum and gallery sector, and higher education.


The Residency Programme is operated on a non-commercial cost-covering basis, and is financially supported by The Museum of Loss and Renewal in order to keep fees low. The residency fee is £1500 GBP paid by the resident. It includes the residency programme, accommodation, full board, collection/return to nearest airport/ferry station, accommodation in a variety of spacious en-suite rooms, and studio spaces. Catering (3 meals each day) includes locally sourced Orkney ingredients, and meals prepared by our cook. Vegan and vegetarian diets can be catered for.

A 50% deposit is payable within two weeks of accepting a place on the Group Residency. The remaining 50% is payable six weeks in advance of the start of the Group Residency.

You will be responsible for funding and organising your own travel, your own insurances and any visa requirements particular to your country of origin. Travel information will be supplied (Kirkwall Airport and Orkney Ferries), and collection/drop-off at the beginning and end of the Group Residency will be arranged.

We do not have external funding for this project, so regret that we are unable to offer assistance with fees, flights, production costs or other subsistence. Typically, successful applicants source funding by applying to their national arts funding bodies, personal fundraising, or through academic institutional support. Formal Letters of Invitation can be provided to assist in this process.


Day 01

Arrival (collection at Airport and Ferry Terminals, Orkney), orientation, introductions, dinner

Days 02-07

Residency Programme e.g. guided walk, tour of archaeological sites, subject-specific sessions, individual and group sharings, guest presentations with specially devised exercises, studio time, The Pier Arts Centre; Curator’s introduction to the collection.

Day 08
Reflection, departure (transport to Orkney departure points)

A detailed programme will be provided to residents before arrival.


The selection process will consider the quality of your work, reason for participation and the potential impact that DRAWING WITH PLACE might have on your practice and/or research.

Applicants should email one PDF document containing the following information to

– Statement: tell us about your practice (300 words)
– Motivation: explain why you wish to participate in this residency. Describe what skills and experience you would like to gain, and what you could contribute (300 words)
– 5 key words that describe your main interests: these will be shared amongst residents prior to residency
– CV: maximum 1 page. Outline your education and recent work (i.e. exhibitions, commissions, performances, curation, publications)
– Contact details: full name, phone number with country/area code
– Link: to your website/online platform or documentation of visual/textual info (max 2 pages A4)
– Access: Information about any access requirements if applicable

Title your PDF application doc: FirstNameSecondName_GRDWP_2024

If you are more comfortable submitting an application in another format e.g. recorded audio, video or a combination of these or through a phone call or with the assistance of another person, please email

Successful applicants will be notified within 1 week of deadline.

N.B. Applicants who will apply to funding bodies can apply immediately (before DRAWING WITH PLACE deadline). If the offer of a residency place is made this can help support funding applications.

Please note that feedback on unsuccessful applications cannot be provided.


– You can be at any stage of your (creative) career
– The programme may best suit (creative) practitioners who are seeking to develop their knowledge and skills within an environment of learning and discussion
– More experienced applicants are very welcome to apply
– Open to (creative) practitioners based in any country but applicants should have a good working knowledge of English
– Applications from duos and partnerships are welcomed