SHETLAND Arts have announced their latest exhibition, Dispecta Est Thule, a photography exhibition featuring work by local photographer Dave Donaldson, who was commissioned to document the demolition process of the old Anderson High School.

The exhibition is due to open on 1 May 2024 in two locations – Twageos Road and Mareel’s Upper Cafe Bar. The photographs at Twageos Road (1 May – 1 June 2024) will focus on the demolition and infrastructure, while the portrait series in Mareel (1 May – November 2024) will celebrate the people that came to Shetland with Central Demolition to carry out the work.

“These striking black and white photographs document a valuable element of Shetland's history and provide a wonderful insight into the work and the people involved in clearing the Knab site. As a place that holds so many memories for so many people we're delighted to have had the opportunity to commission this archive of images.” - Jane Matthews, Creative Project Programmer

‘Dispecta est Thule’ is taken from the Anderson High School motto meaning 'Thule is seen' [Thule – the Greek and Roman name for the most northerly known land in the Atlantic].

In 1862 the Anderson Educational Institute was opened in Lerwick, named after Shetlander Arthur Anderson, entrepreneur and co-founder of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. It became the Anderson High School which, with the addition of many buildings, remained for 155 years, until the school’s relocation in 2017 to its new site at Clickimin Loch.

Shetland Islands Council’s redevelopment plan will transform the Knab to meet the future needs of Lerwick and the community of Shetland as a whole. The only original buildings that will remain are the Institute, the Bruce Hostel, the Janet Courtney Hostel and the Science Block.

Dave Donaldson is a Shetland-based photographer whose editorial and commercial work is well-known throughout the Isles. In partnership with SIC, Shetland Arts commissioned local photographer Dave to document the demolition and clearing of the site. His photographs chart this stage of the site’s evolving history through 2023, including the people and the processes involved.

Shetland Arts is grateful to Lerwick Community Council for their support with the staging of Dispecta est Thule.

For more information on the Knab project visit

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