Artful Migration: 3rd Artist in Residence programme April – October 2023

Artful Migration: 3rd Artist in Residence programme April – October 2023

The Artful Migration residency programme 2023 offers artists a unique insight into the migratory birds of Dumfries & Galloway through partnership working with local nature reserves and the opportunity to create new, high quality artworks in response for public display. MSD continue to work with Upland as our main partners and this year welcome new project partners: Forest and Land Scotland and RSPB Scotland.

The 2023 artist in residence programme will focus on the elusive nightjar in partnership with Forest and Land Scotland (FLS) and RSBP Scotland The residency has been awarded to Leeming & Paterson, whose work explores the landscape and our human interactions therein in the context of climate change and biodiversity loss. The natural world forms the basis of inspiration for many of their collaborative images and projects (

The artist’s research will take place at Lochar Mosses (approx. 4 miles from Dumfries) and they will work closely with Forest and Land Scotland who will enable access to the site and support the artists to view the birds in their natural habitat. The artists-in-residence will be present when key conservation activities take place such as ringing the birds.

The Nightjar is one of Scotland’s rarest and most unusual birds, which appears to be thriving in Dumfries and Galloway, with the majority of the population nesting in South West Scotland. Due to their largely nocturnal habits, nightjar populations are estimated by counting the number of males heard singing, or ‘churring’, after sunset. The UK nightjar population suffered historical declines due to habitat loss, and nightjars are now amber-listed birds of medium conservation concern.  Nightjars only stay in the UK during the summer, spending their winters in central and south eastern Africa. The birds usually arrive in the UK between late April / mid-May and mainly leave in August.

During this residency there will be the opportunity to tag some members of the adults who have migrated to this Lochar Mosses habitat. Little is known of the bird’s migratory journey, which provides an opportunity for new research with the project partners. The nightjar has secretive behaviour and an almost supernatural reputation, being only visible at night. The information that will eventually be downloaded from the birds when they return in 2024. This data will provide for the first time details of where these particular birds spend their winter period in southern Africa.

An exhibition of new work by Leeming & Paterson will be held in the Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries at the end of their residency period from October 20th – 30th.   This centre is open from 10am – 5pm and located on 28 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries, DG1 1JQ