Tag: history

Celebrating youth

Welcome to this November issue of Shetland Life. This issue is a celebration of Shetland’s young people who are doing wonderful things, and we explore these this month. You may have noticed the colourful cover? This is an illustration by talented Westside artist Marcus Johnston. Marcus tells Shetland Life all about his love of drawing, painting and writing. We meet local musical quartet Fjanna who are set to release their second studio album, and we travel to Northmavine where Roy Mullay shares his research on a fascinating piece of maritime history he has carried out about the 17th century Battle of Ronas Voe.

Elsewhere, Ali Grundon Robertson tackles recycling, the myths and the facts. This is a must-read for anyone who has concerns about what happens to our recycling in Shetland.

November is a month of remembrance, and Jon Sandison shares the story of the Hardy family and their strong connections to the War Memorial in Lerwick.

Dale Smith shares some photographic highlights from last month’s School of Ballet performance, Ebb & Flow and Alex Garrick-Wright meets the dinosaurs in Eid that have been brought back to life with a new lick of paint.

We would love to hear from you for our December issue. Are you going away for the festive period, or are you a home bird that plans to deck the halls at home? Does the thought of going away leave you feeling homesick or are you counting down the days till you jet off? Whatever you’re planning, we’d love to hear from you!

All this and more in the November issue of Shetland Life – OUT NOW!

Remember to send any comments or suggestions you may have to sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk. And, whatever you’re up to, we love to hear about it, use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

Even if you’re not in Shetland, you can still keep up-to-date with all the latest. Remember you can subscribe to Shetland life online at https://shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk/pages/subscriptions#shetland-life and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk.

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life – OUT NOW!

Gone fishing

Excuse us; we’ve gone fishing… but we’re taking you with us!

Join Shetland Life for this fishy March issue as we take to the high seas with a trip through Shetland’s pelagic past and present. Ryan Taylor explores the history of the Swan as she enters uncertain waters and we settle down and chat to Bobby Polson from the pelagic trawler, Serene, and find out what it’s really like to skipper one of these impressive mid-water trawlers.

Elsewhere in the issue, Ali Grundon Robertson, our environmental guru delves into the peat and explains the importance of peatland restoration, while Alex Garrick-Wright reports on the success of the Imposters’ first ‘away game’ in Edinburgh.

There’s so much to shout about in Shetland at the moment, and with spring just around the corner, we’re keen to keep in touch with you. Give us a shout with any comments or suggestions at sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk and remember to use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life!




Alex Garrick-Wright reports on Project Octagon. You can read Alex’s personal reflections on the experience in August’s Shetland Life, and see more of Calum Toogood’s stunning photographs too.

In May 2016, myself and dozens of other men were brought into Project Octagon; a dynamic arts/ theatre project that commemorated the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, designed by conceptual artist Jeremy Deller.


1500 men were involved as soldiers across the UK. Each was assigned a soldier who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and given a replica of his uniform that was as historically accurate as possible (the uniforms were specially made in Poland and are to be kept as a set, and rented out for film use).


The vision was for these men to appear in locations around the UK and simply… be there, in that moment. Not to speak or really interact, only to hand out a card with their soldier’s name, details, death and a social media hashtag on it.

Above all was the need for secrecy- the project relied upon people not knowing what was going on, and talking about it on social media using the hashtag #wearehere, which was printed on each of the soldiers’ card. By lunchtime, it had reached the top trending on Twitter and been shared over 100,000 times.


The details of the project- who these men were and what was going on- was only revealed at 7pm, in a BBC interview with Jeremy Deller. By that time, millions of people across the UK had heard of, seen, or had a personal experience of these soldiers.

In addition to involving 1500 uniformed men, a whole network of organisers across the UK would need to be involved.

The Scottish side of Project Octagon was being managed by the National Theatre for Scotland- covering Glasgow and Shetland. The Shetland side was managed by Associate Director Chris Grant, who had the unenviable job of not only finding dozens of able-bodied, military age men willing to take part, but also keeping it secret in Shetland.

Preparation for the 1st July took weeks. Workshop Facilitator Chris Wright trained participants in the formations and movements they would be performing. Costume Supervisor Cara McDiarmid measured and organised the uniforms and props. Stage Manager Lisa Ward liaised and organised with Octagon down south.

Research Facilitator Lauren Doughton looked into our soldiers’ stories, and researched any WWI family connections we may have. In the course of doing so, she discovered two of the Shetland group- myself included- may be related to two of the assigned soldiers.

In addition to this were a whole cast of Costume Assistants, Stage Managers, caterers PR people, and the staff of the National Theatre of Scotland.


The public only saw the soldiers, and that is how it was intended.