Dark Ocean Residency

8 – 15th July 2023, Stornoway to Mallaig, £955

An experiential journey into the heart and imagination of the sea.

What role does the ocean play in our imagination? How can we become kin with the sea in an era of climate crisis and disruption?

The vast and mysterious spaces of the sea have inspired writers and artists throughout time, both the deep ocean and the teeming shoreline, especially among island nations. But what kind of regenerative work can we make, when the oceans of the world are imperilled by industrialised civilisation – by acidification, current disruption, plastic pollution, overfishing, mining, and melting ice? How can we regain an elemental relationship with the salty biome that sustains life on Earth?

Flat periwinkle. Littorina littoralis (Photogram: Anna Campbell). 

Join Charlotte Du Cann and the Sail Britain crew on a week’s voyage to explore the ‘dark ocean’. We will be diving into the myths and narratives of the ancestral sea, connecting with the more-than-human world and our own creaturehood – keeping a log of our encounters with the fish, birds, winds, rocks and tides of the Western Isles, as well as experiencing working together as a crew, physically on deck and creatively in our hearts and imaginations.

Charlotte is an editor and co-director of The Dark Mountain Project, a collaborative network of writers, artists and thinkers responding to ecological and cultural collapse. Founded in 2009, their work revolves around the publication of two book collections a year, as well as hosting teaching courses, gatherings and events.

This week-long voyage will take us from Stornoway on Lewis south through the islands to finish in the fishing port of Mallaig. The route will be decided in accordance with wind and tide, but will take in the dramatic scenery of the east coast of Lewis and Harris, the Minch and the mountains of Skye. There will be ample opportunity to explore the land as well, and we’ll be able to go ashore to explore during the evenings in the dinghy. While no formal sailing experience is necessary to join the crew, it would be an advantage as the seas en route have a reputation for being stormy, and we may be spending long days at sea if the wind is against us.

There are 5 places for this residency.

Applicants should have an interest in working within a strong team environment in collaboration with other artists, including a willingness to discuss and share ideas, and to work together as a crew to sail the ship. The resident artists should bring any materials or equipment required for their research if applicable, but please be aware space onboard is very limited and emphasis on packing light is strongly encouraged!

Application Process:

Applicants should submit a proposal no longer than 1 page detailing what they hope to explore/create during the week, and no more than 5 images (or other supporting documentation such as video, sound, or writing etc.) which outlines their practice, as a PDF (which can include links). 

Applications should be sent to charlotte@dark-mountain.net and info@sailbritain.org, subject – Dark Ocean Residency Application + [your name]

The deadline for applications is 1st March 2023, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

The trip fee covers the cost of the boat, crew, all equipment and training you’ll need onboard, as well as your food and a cosy bunk onboard. Not included is your travel to and from the start/end points of the voyage and any expenses ashore, although these tend to be very limited out in the wilds!