RSPB Forsinard Flows; view from visitor trail, including snow-capped Ben Griam, Highland, Scotland

Using art as a gateway to the Flow Country

  • 2 million The number of trees we aim to remove to save the peat bogs
  • 4000 km2 Flow Country is the largest area of blanket bog in Europe
  • 50 years Trees planted in the 1970s have been slowly drying
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Artists interpret the Flow Country

To help people appreciate the special magic of the Flow Country, we have commissioned two visual artists to bring their unique perspectives. 

The Flow Country is a vast and mysterious landscape. Dominated by blanket bog – one of the world’s rarest habitats – the Flow Country is a vital home for wildlife and plays a significant role in reducing the effects of climate change; it also holds within its peaty depths a history of local communities. 

Understanding the intricate weaving of natural and social history in the Flow Country is a tricky business, so we invited artists Shaun Fraser and Hannah Imlach to undertake residencies, staying at our new Flows Field Centre – the perfect place for them to explore this astonishing landscape.

Forsinard RSPB reserve, bog pool with Cotton grass

Exploring Flow communities

Shaun focused his research on the local communities of the Flows, seeking to gain an insight into the ways that crofters, fishermen and estate managers work with the landscape. Through his investigations, he has been drawn to the material qualities of the peat itself and the notion that different readings of the landscape might reveal traces of episodes from the past. He is currently creating a series of bronze sculptures based directly on sods of peat collected in the Flows, and a series of screen prints inspired by aerial views of the landscape.

Moorland lochan, RSPB Forsinard Reserve

Understanding the ecology of the Flows

Hannah works predominately in sculpture and photography, responding to different environments and developments in scientific understanding. She has focused her investigations on current research being undertaken by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) of the University of the Highlands and Islands, based in Thurso, and the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. The research focuses on understanding atmospheric conditions and carbon exchange in areas of peat restoration, pristine bog and standing forestry. 

Helping people to appreciate the unique landscape of the Flows forms a vital part of raising support for their protection. Once the artists have completed their commissions, we plan to exhibit their work as part of the 2018 Edinburgh Art Festival, and then at a venue in the North of Scotland.

RSPB Forsinard Flows; view from visitor trail, including snow-capped Ben Griam, Highland, Scotland.

Thank you

Initiatives like this help us make the Flow Country a better home for nature

With your generous support we can continue with projects that showcase this special habitat