Spring newsletter


This is the Cianalas project An Lanntair newsletter for Spring 19

I’m Paula Brown

Purvai, drumming, singing and a potential new project
Since last summer’s Purvai South Asian arts festival at An Lanntair, where we toured festival performances around care and day centres, we have continued working with Dal on developing this work.

Best practice teaches us that doing something to or for people is not quite as good as doing something with people, so we developed the work into participatory drumming and singing sessions. The height of best practice is to facilitate work by the community, and when Gaelic speaking elders started leading the session with their own songs, we recognised the value of this work and we are actively working towards a new project along these lines.

Working with Lucy Robertson and Dementia Friendly East Lothian

Work funded by DEEP between two friendship groups in Lewis and East Lothian has continued this Spring. The Cianalas project is rooted in research this time and Lucy Robertson’s PhD research at Duncan of Jordanstone into textiles for wellbeing has brought us wonderful opportunities to look at personhood, our past, present and future through soft circuits and thermochemic inks. We are looking in to how we share what makes us unique and connected through creating books to share, filled with our new designs.



The Material Culture of Basketry, Bloomsbury

Our Woven Communities project work with Dawn Susan and Dr Stephanie Bunn has flourished into an academic book, which will be published later this year. Jon MacLeod and myself have each written a section of the book. It is called The Material Culture of Basketry and will be published by Bloomsbury.

Lewis Hou has been back

He held a well attended double session at Western Isles Library for Science Ceilidh and in collaboration with our project with Maggie Smith, fresh back from speaking for us at Skye at Aros with Luminate.

I had a lengthy Skype meeting with Erica on the Science Ceilidh team, to contribute to their evaluation.


Barvas ware

Beach firing day – Our Barvas Ware project in collaboration with Museum Nan Eilean and Western Isles Libraries had a paper kiln firing day on Bosta Beach. Ceramicist Jana Grimm joined us with Helene from the Library team.

For Dementia Awareness Week 2019, 3rd – 9th June, we will be showcasing some pieces of this work at An Lanntair.


BBC Alba news An La

In March, the BBC Alba team filmed us for an An La slot about our memory boxes in collaboration with Western Isles Library and Museum Nan Eilean. Maggie Smith worked with the box, talking about the project and the contents.

Aros on Skye for Luminate with Maggie

Maggie and I travelled to Aros on Skye to give talks on ‘what makes a good art project for older people and people living with dementia?’

It was a thought inspiring day with a great opportunity to catch up with the local Alzheimer’s Scotland and NHS team as well as local projects. Caroline Dear was exhibiting, so I managed to get a personalised Artist’s talk!

Maggie gave a wonderful talk about her cultural Gaelic project work, complete with scarves and we enjoyed a q&a time at the end, before meeting for dinner to continue conversations.

The event was supported by Luminate and we will be welcoming Luminate back in June, when we will have Eyes as Big as Plates on the island, as part of the Luminate festival.

DEEP gathering in Inverness is this weekend, on Sunday  28th April at Evanton Woods, our dementia friendly woodland.

In September we will be hosting a DEEP gathering as we did last April – let me know if you would like to attend. DEEP can be a friendship group gathering or it can be grass roots campaigning. If you have dementia and want to be part of a national network of friends, let me know.

Life Changes Trust local events

Aberdeen – the Aberdeen event was very helpful to start imagining what the Western Isles event might look like in September. Representation from local government, housing, police, local groups, services. It was an informative, inspiring and helpful day.

Life Changes Trust work began with a meeting on our event in September. Meetings in Benbecula mean spectacular flights! There will be a three day event across the Western Isles in September. Work on planning continues!

New Play Based on Research about Self Management for Dementia

Ron is creating a new play with support from  An Lanntair, Louise for dance choreography and Rachel for performance direction  – additional funding from DEEP has been awarded to support performance and set design. This play details Ron’s research project around AI and self management of dementia.

Ron’s research work features in the Journal of Dementia Care right now.


New Deep Ness Group

There is a new Deep group coming in Ness headed up by Ron Coleman,  with a jewellery making class and a tango class from An Lanntair.

Tuesday Ceilidh

As ever the hospital ceilidh continues each Tuesday. The Chest, Heart and Stroke Association have joined the partnership with NHS Western Isles, Alzheimer Scotland and An Lanntair Cianalas Project.

Lucy Robertson has been including the ward ceilidh in her sessions of intelligent textiles, including thermochromic ink and soft circuits.

Valentines – this ceilidh featured love poetry, roses and chocolate. We had heart shaped balloon decorations too. Chat was about love, marriage and sweethearts.

Dal & 3rd birthday

We had 20 people at the Tuesday Ceilidh 3rd birthday party this week! Dal offered a fusion of Gaelic and Swahili folk songs, with everyone offering their recollections of lyrics and requests for songs. Dal drummed to a waulking song and Mull of Kintyre, while we heard tales of singing men in Glasgow pubs, ceilidh gatherings at homes at 9pm until gone 1am the next day ‘and we didn’t mind getting up early the next day because we remembered the night before’.
Romantic lyrics were discussed, giving voice to all kinds of experiences. ‘you had one man for life’…… ‘there were sailors and when they were gone, we’d be cheating on them!’…. ‘you had to try them ALL out’
(Raucous laughter)
That was a party 🎈
with NHS Western Isles, Alzheimer Scotland – Western Isles, An Lanntair

Barra and South Uist

Duncan has been working on local music, singing and imagery, photography and reminiscence on Barra for us for almost three years. He is working on the Transport Memory Box and podcasts with the community now, as well as ceilidhs across Barra and South Uist.

We have also been linking our Between Islands work at An Lanntair with Sacred Heart Care Centre and the beautiful yarns and patterns between the two islands.  We have been working with traditional Shetland and Uist yarns and patterns and connecting the two communities through work and family ties.

Winter 18/19

Over the winter we offered several screenings and sessions around local crofting films

Celebrated the old new year at the museum on 12th January with Maggie Smith and Euan Macleod.

We worked with Dawn Susan and Dal over several sessions

Lots of ceilidh trail sessions and studio recordings of local village songs and tunes. CD and podcast will be available in the Autumn.

Coming in the Summer/Autumn:

Nevis Ensemble – live music at Western Isles Hospital, August Bank Holiday. Click link for Nevis Ensemble

Curious Shoes performances in care centres – click to visit the website  27th and 28th June

Eyes as Big as PlatesLuminate brochureportrait photography project and exhibition


Would you like to take part in one of our latest art projects and have your portrait taken?

Eyes as Big as Plates is an ongoing collaborative project by the Norwegian-Finnish artist duo Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen.

Over the course 27th of May to the 4th of June Riita and Karoline will be inviting older islanders to have their own outdoor portraits taken using the different landscapes and materials around them. If you would like find out about having your portrait done please get in touch with Jon Macleod at jon@lanntair.com

On Thurday the 30th of May Eyes as Big as Plates will be giving an artist talk in the community room at An Lanntair. The talk is free but booking is essential.

Luminate: Scotland’s creative ageing organisation

#creativeageing #anlanntair #luminate #festival #highlands #stornoway #olderpeople

DEEP gathering for summer on the mainland in June

DEEP gathering 10th/11th Sept in Lewis

LCT engagement and conference in Sept across the Western Isles 17th/18th/19th Sept.




Links and social media

Instagram @cianalas_an_lanntair

Twitter @dfclanntair

Facebook @cianalas

Deep website https://www.dementiavoices.org.uk/

LCT website www.lifechangestrust.org.uk

Big lottery website https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes?location=scotland