Photographer McCullin inspires a new generation

The Young Ambassadors with mentors Liz Musser, Calum Toogood and Lewie Peterson (back row).
The Young Ambassadors with mentors Liz Musser, Calum Toogood and Lewie Peterson (back row).

The work of war photographer Don McCullin will be shown at Shetland Museum and Bonhoga Gallery as part of a programme that will see local artists and musicians create a multi-media account of the photojournalist’s life.

The “young ambassadors” involved in the scheme are working as part of three groups – photojournalists, film-makers, and singer-songwriters – to create original work that ties in with McCullin’s exhibition and which is hoped will act as a permanent legacy to the project.

The local group, which has dubbed itself “Northern Lights”, will be showing off the fruits of its creative labours over the next three months. It is associated with the Artist Rooms On Tour exhibition, in association with Shetland Arts and Shetland Museum and Archives.

Don McCullin's  Shell-shocked US Marine, Hue, 1968. Photo: Don McCullin
Don McCullin’s
Shell-shocked US Marine, Hue, 1968. Photo: Don McCullin

Jane Matthews, who is managing the youth ambassador scheme for Shetland Arts, said: “This is an incredible opportunity for our 17 young ambassadors to gain professional experience and create new work with our three local experts on the project. Their work will be a unique legacy to this ground-breaking exhibition in Shetland”.

The photojournalists, assisted by local photojournalist Calum Toogood, will be working as a team to highlight the contemporary issues of Shetland life, experiencing life in photojournalism and producing work that will be showcased at the opening of the exhibition.

People under the age of 26 from diverse backgrounds have been involved in the project. Some are at school or college while others are working.

The filmmakers, led by experienced broadcast journalist Liz Musser, will use McCullin’s life and career as a platform for their own short film, which will be screened throughout Shetland and online.

The singer-songwriters, helped by Lewie Peterson of The Revellers, will be working on original music that explores Shetland as home, and what this means to different people.

Mr Peterson said: “When you think of the concept of home, then you might get stereotypical views of what Shetland has to offer, but we have young people from various backgrounds – their perspective should come with something very different.”

He  said that the young people involved had a very positive attitude to the project and had been happy to give up their weekends to be involved. The music produced for both the photographic and film exhibitions would be different but linked.

The young ambassadors’ scheme is funded jointly through the Artists Rooms touring group by The Art Fund and Creative Scotland. Don McCullin’s images of conflict and social breakdown will be showcased at Shetland Museum and Archives and Bonhoga Gallery from 29 November to 22 February.

Lewie Peterson (left) on stage with fellow Revellers Erik Peterson and Craig Birnie

The Artists Rooms On Tour programme enables modern and contemporary art to reach audiences throughout the UK with an emphasis on inspiring young people.

The works to be displayed are taken from Artist Rooms, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and The National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund.

The Artist Rooms tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014. The tour is made possible thanks to the support of Creative Scotland and in England the Arts Council England, the Art Fund.


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