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Scotland Climate Change Photography Competition

Historic Environment Scotland is launching a photography and artwork competition to showcase the impact of climate change on Scotland ahead of the COP26 summit which Scotland is hosting in November.



Today, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) launched its ‘Visions of Climate Heritage’ competition in which people from around Scotland are asked to submit photographs or artwork which feature the impact of climate change in Scotland.


HES wants to tell the story of Scotland’s climate through the past, present and future with an online exhibition. The idea is to promote Scotland’s historic environment and cultural heritage which in turn will inspire climate action.


There are three themes in the competition and each submission must align with one of them. The themes are: ‘The Past was a Different Place’, ‘This is an Emergency’ and ‘A Greener Future’.


Images can be from before we learned about climate change, or the impacts we see currently around us such a moment of extreme weather, or the effect it has on our natural heritage. Artwork pieces such as painting, or a sculpture, can showcase our future hopes of a green, low carbon Scotland.


There will be £750 in prizes available across the competition categories including Best Photograph, Best Mobile Photograph, Best Artwork and Young Creative Awards for those aged 12 – 17.


Images and artwork will be judged on their ability to tell a story as well as its relevance to climate change in Scotland. They will also be judged on their visual interest and impact. The competition will close on the 30th of November with the shortlisted and winning submissions to form part of an online exhibition.


The judges chosen for the competition include a variety of highly esteemed and respected professionals within their fields. Professor Katherine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on understanding what climate change means for people and places. She was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People. Phil Astley is the City Archivist for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives with over 20 years’ experience in the archive sector. He is also a Scottish Council on the Archives Trustee. Beverley Gormley is the Heritage Trust Network’s Programme Manager, and she has previously managed local and national projects for the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust. Dr David Mitchell is the Director of Conservation at HES as he is responsible for the conservation of over 300 heritage sites and collections for technical and scientific research. He also leads the organisation’s response to climate change. Last but not least is Robyn who is a HistoricScot Youth Forum volunteer. They are passionate about fighting climate change and how it affects marginalised communities; they are also fiercely enthusiastic about photography.


Alison Turnbull, Director of Development and Partnership at HES, said: “Our historic environment and cultural heritage are on the front line of our changing climate, and both are already experiencing the impacts of climate change…Visions of Climate Heritage is the first crowdsourcing competition that HES has run so we are really excited to see the creative ways in which people respond to the brief, and …we are particularly interested in engaging young people with this project.


“Whether it’s delving into the family archives, scrolling through mobile phone photographs, or creating a work of art such as a sculpture or painting, we’re encouraging everyone to get involved to help us tell Scotland’s climate story.


“By showcasing how the Scotland our ancestors built has changed over centuries as well as the impact that changes in the 21st century are having - from the rise in homeworking during the COVID-19 pandemic to the adoption of greener methods of travel – we can play our part in responding to the climate emergency and ensure that our past helps to shape our future.”


The ‘Visions of Climate Heritage’ competition was developed by HES in partnership with the Heritage Trust Network and the Scottish Council of Archives in response to the climate emergency. Submissions are now open to the public and for those who wish to enter or want to know more, click here.




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