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A newly formed group, the Pelagic Sculpture Partnership, have recently commissioned a sculpture for Lerwick’s harbour front. The four organisations – Shetland Catch, Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Lerwick Port Authority and fish agents LHD - are working with Shetland Arts, who manage the project, and Arts & Business Scotland, who provide match funding.

Jo Chapman, the commissioned artist, arrived in Shetland to commence her 10-week residency on 16 October. She stayed in Hoswick until the end of November when she moved to The Booth in Scalloway until the end of her residency on 22 December.

The months of October and November were about public engagement and informal consultation with the community. The start of December marked a quieter, more reflective phase of the project. This has enabled Jo to draw together her research and develop her ideas into drawings and maquettes for three possible design solutions. These will be presented to the four project business partners on Monday 21 December, when they hope to select a final design for fabrication.

Community engagement

Community engagement activities continued throughout November and included workshops in several schools: Whalsay (secondary), Brae (primary and secondary), Skeld, Outer Isles (Fair Isle, Foula, Skerries), Nesting and Lunnasting. Workshops were also carried out in Shetland College with BA Contemporary Textiles students and with adults with learning disabilities. Jo met with the eight pelagic skippers, Lerwick Port Authority, the SFPO, with a member of Whalsay history group, and a representative of Skerries Community Council. Clair [Aldington, Project Manager] and Jo also met with the Whalsay herring gutters and a SIC Community Involvement and Development Officer.

From these meetings and workshops, Jo and Clair have selected individuals to be part of the Community Advisers’ Group. They are Magnie Shearer, Margie Pearson, a student from Shetland College, a secondary school pupil, Aubrey Jamieson, George William and Laureen Johnson. This group will meet on Sunday 20 December in Mareel for a presentation about Jo’s work and contemporary sculpture. This meeting will also be a preview of the three design proposals and be an opportunity for the group to have input into the final selection process. Shetland Catch and the Artist Adviser will be present at this meeting.

Project launch

There was a project launch on Saturday 28 November from 11am - 3pm in the Shetland Museum Learning Room. Around 50 people participated in the drop in workshop or looked at the presentation of Jo’s work. Ninety postcards were handed out about the project. Children were given Fish Van Collection stickers.

The Fish Van Collection will be exhibited in Bonhoga Gallery cafe (wall and glass cabinet) from 5 March - 17 April 2016. This will be in the printed and online gallery programme for 2016, which is published in January.

Living Lerwick are happy to support an opening event for the sculpture unveiling in any way they can during late May 2016. This includes the possible loan of market stalls, shop windows with a fishing/ sea theme, shop windows displaying the Fish Van Collection and baskets of flowers being up in the street.

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