The Life of Islands

Week 1: 31st July – 7th Aug 2021, Mallaig – Mallaig

Week 2: 7th – 14th Aug 2021, Mallaig – Mallaig


We are very excited to be running The Life of Islands residency for a second year, exploring ‘Islandness’ – the nature of islands, what makes them special, and what they might offer as alternative models for society. The residency will focus on the Inner Hebrides and will give artists a space to explore notions of remoteness, community and ecology with a strong connection to nature.

The residency will be led by artist and musician Laura Copsey whose practice surrounds history and narrative. She is interested in Islands – borders, utopias as well as the seclusion, unique historical functions and ecosystems islands have developed. Although an island hosts the potential for seclusion, romance and freedom, for many throughout history the reality of island life is hardship, self sufficiency and the enduring presence of the sea. Throughout the week, Laura will be leading workshops exploring the theme of Islands, accumulating in an exchange of ideas and personal responses to the theme.

The residency will have a greater focus on exploring ashore than most in Sail Britain’s programme, so in addition to some wonderful crossings between islands under sail, expect long evenings to go roaming on land, meeting the local people, or spending time working on personal projects. Nevertheless, this residency will encompass the surrounding seas – a vital component of ‘Islandness’ – and will be an opportunity to experience the ocean first hand in a very intimate way. We will be travelling between islands by sail, a slow form of transport which allows an appreciation of distance, separation and the elements. It also brings people together as a crew to explore collaboratively, and to develop and exchange ideas.

All equipment, sail training, food and a cosy berth onboard is included in the residency fee of £695 which also covers the cost of the boat and crew. Please see this page for suggestions on funding your place. Also have a look at our FAQs page for an insight into life onboard. The resident artists should bring any materials or equipment required for their practice, but please be aware space onboard is limited and creation of large scale works may not be possible, at least during the week. However we encourage participants to think outside the box!

For any questions about the programme, please send us an email –