The Life of Islands Residency

3rd – 9th Aug 2024, Mallaig – Mallaig, £795

We are excited to announce the fifth year of the Life of Islands Residency. Facilitated by artist and musician Laura Copsey, the residency explores ‘islandness’ – the special nature of islands – with a particular focus on inhabited places. The week will offer artists a space to explore notions of remoteness, connection and identity, at the intersection between land and sea.

This residency has a greater focus on exploring ashore than most in Sail Britain’s programme, with a focus on inland connections. We will make inland visits to island friends and actively explore the connections between us as crew using Merlin, the boat as a metaphor for a community in which we will share our values and ideas. In addition to some wonderful sailing between islands, expect evenings to go roaming ashore, spending time developing personal projects and discussing creative approaches to collaboration and communication. The residency will encompass the surrounding seas and will be an opportunity to experience the ocean first hand in a very intimate way. Travelling by sail allows an appreciation of distance, separation and the elements and opportunity to develop as a crew. The boat, as our island, will bring us together to develop and exchange perspectives.

Laura Copsey is a visual and experiential storyteller, educator, and researcher with a background as a therapist and musician. Her creative work surrounds history and narrative through experience of place and weaves through various realms, bridging seemingly disparate worlds, with a disobedient spirit and hopes for more collective ways of being. 

In 2022 she worked with the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration on a major project related to the marginalised histories of the New River in London. Laura also plays in a band, Firestations, signed to the label Lost Map based on the Isle of Eigg. She teaches illustration animation at Kingston School of art where she specialises in expanded approaches to storytelling through interaction and experience. 

During the week, Laura will present prompts and provocations that intriduce Island themes through creative action. She will also link with her network of islanders to develop an exchange of ideas and support creative responses. 

Come along with a willingness to engage in conversation and active exchange with a view to developing a collective outcome that will be designed together by our shared experience.

There are 6 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. We hope participants will be eager to actively share in supportive creative environment. The resident artists should bring any materials or equipment required for their research, but please be aware space onboard is very limited and emphasis on packing light is strongly encouraged!

Application Process:

We ask applicants to submit a brief project proposal and no more than 5 images (or other supporting documentation such as video, sound etc.) as an emailed PDF with images, and/or links so that we can learn a bit about you, and to ensure that all applicants will get as much as possible out of the programme.

Applications should be sent to, subject – Life of Islands Residency Application + [your name]

The deadline for applications is 1st March 2024, but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

All equipment, sail training, food and a cosy berth onboard is included in the residency fee of £795 which also covers the cost of the boat and supporting 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.

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

The residency will begin at Mallaig marina at 15.00 on Saturday 3rd Aug, and finish back in Mallaig at 15.00 on Friday 9th Aug. *These timings may change to best suit travel connections to Glasgow once the summer train timetable is released.

Photos from the 2022 and 2023 residencies