In August 2013 we set sail from Stromness on our second Sea Change expedition, aboard Lerwick community boat The Swan, with a crew of 27 artists, scientists and informers. More ›

The Crew

The expedition crew of 27 includes a wide range of scientific and creative folk.
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Video highlights

Watch video highlights from the expedition ›

Walking the cliffs with Morag


Morag MacInnes invited us to visit her in Quoyloo, north-west of Stromness, to follow up on a conversation we had last year, when she talked of the disconnection between developers, policy-makers and local people around the industrialization of new renewables – wind and tidal energy – on Orkney. ‘I want to say to everyone who makes decisions that affect our lives, come and walk the cliffs with us.’ Her own experience reflects that of many communities in Scotland’s islands and Highlands, affected or likely to be affected by the growth of new technologies, by the trials of pioneering wave and tidal installations and their onshore infrastructure. ‘This is technology right on the edge – shiny and wonderful. But the development of these projects has been piecemeal and negotiations private. I love renewables’, she says, ‘but I hate the idea of structures not in tune with the landscape. Too often, people are ignored in favour of big ideas. To make structures function in the landscape and be useful, people need to own them and make them together.’

We walk the cliffs with Morag and local farmer John, whose land is of interest to turbine developers, and who has to balance the need for income with the prospect of profound change on his land and to his way of life – and that of his neighbours, including Morag: ‘The history of islands is that people come, take what’s useful and bugger off, leaving their detritus.’ Morag fills us with cullen skink, Orkney cheddar and oatcakes, reads her rich, wry poems in Shetland dialect, and local artists talk about their work. We’re enveloped in Orkney hospitality, in laughter and kindness and in the contradictions and complexities of living on the edge.


Hoy green



Author: Ruth Little


Joins the expedition for week 1, 2 and 3 Ruth Little is a theatre and dance dramaturg, a teacher and writer. She lectured in English literature at the University of Sydney, and was artistic associate at the Young Vic. She was literary manager at Out of Joint, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. Ruth is currently associate director at Cape Farewell, where she is curating Sea Change, a 4-year programme of interdisciplinary research.
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Recent posts by Ruth Little


  1. Thank you, found this site by accident today!! Really enjoyed reading about the project and your adventures.
    Wish i was there painting with you all.

  2. avatar Amy Liptrot says:

    Hi Ruth. Interesting to follow your voyage. This is my Dad’s (John)farm that you visited.

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James Brady’s expedition blog for ecoartscotland

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See James Brady’s blog here:   http://ecoartscotland.net/    

Leaving Fair Isle

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Andy Crabb’s Sea Changes Part 1 now on vimeo

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Sea Changes, part 1 featuring Karine Polwart from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. Part 1 of a film about Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition, on board the Swan LK243. The Swan is a traditional Shetland fishing sail boat, restored and operated by a community based trust in Shetland swantrust.com/. She is a truly beautiful boat. The film... Read more ›

Carbon Cycle

1.carbon sink
CARBON/SINK Site-specific organic drawing, North Haven pier, Fair Isle (peat and fresh water / 12” x 120”)     A musing on the ecology of the Carbon Cycle and the human intervention within it’s system: the symbiotic links between the entropy of organic matter – moorland as a carbon sink – fossil fuels – carbon... Read more ›

Wind, stone

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Wind, stone: by Teresa Elwes

Fish For The Table

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FishForTheTable 03 vimeo from Tam Treanor.

Microcosms: Eons, Tides and Dreams

‘I go to the rockpool at the slack of the tide to mind me what my poetry’s for.’ –      Jen Hadfield (from the poem, Daed-traa*)           ‘The parent materials were gathered together as volcanoes poured them out in fiery streams, as waters running over the bare rocks of the continents wore... Read more ›


bunk and deck
quota n 1. the proportional or part of a whole that is due from, due to, or allocated to a person or group 2. a prescribed number or quantity, as of items to be manufactured, imported, or exported, immigrants admitted to a country [from Latin quota pars how big a share?, from quotus of what... Read more ›

Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013.

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“Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013. from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. In August 2013 members of Cape Farewell’s “Sea Change” project explored the landscapes, history and future of the Orkneys whilst sailing on board The Swan, a beautifully restored Shetland Fifie. The group consisting of artists,... Read more ›

Pelagic Gannets

When the seas calmed and I was no longer confined to my sick bunk, it was wonderful to be on deck and to observe my new watery surroundings, I saw gannets flap and glide past the Swan and was amazed to see their large wingspan for the first time. They truly are a majestic bird!... Read more ›

Sea change See change

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Poet. Climate change.  Environmentalist.  Scientist. Carbon economy. (Ex-)soldier. Renewables. Conservationist.  Fishing quota.  Artist. Sustainability. Writer.  Everyday words susceptible to our own interpretation, predisposition and characterisation.   Words that can be polarising and divisive.  So what happens when you mix them with a few associated ingredients?  On the one hand there is the potential for an explosive... Read more ›

Big words + Lumpy times

scalloway map
LUMPY adj lumpier, lumpiest full of or having lumps (Transport / Nautical Terms) (esp of the sea) rough confused seas We headed south on ‘lumpy’ seas from Scalloway towards Sumburgh Head.  Our direction towards the East side was guided by the weather forecast and I was pleased to be moving at last. I have been... Read more ›