Roxane Permar, Highlands & Islands

Creative Industries

Funded Septmber 2015.

Northern Exchange: Cold War Histories and Nuclear Futures.

 Project in collaboration with artist Susan Timmins.

RPermar Recount Sumburgh Post Shetland RPermarSTimmins 2013Recount, Permar, R. and Timmins, S. 2013, socially engaged project comprising environmental sculpture, knitted textiles, sound, public events, dimensions variable, Shetland, Scotland: Luminate Commission Accompanied by publication: Recount,Permar, R. and Timmins, S. 2014 Shetland, 16 p. and ‘Art, Engagement and the Cold War in Shetland’, paper presented at Relate North 2013: Art, Community and Engagement Symposium, Reykjavik, Iceland: Nordic House, University of Lapland and Iceland Academy of Arts.

This project employs a variety of strategies drawn from contemporary art and place-based education to engage RPermar 6 Countdown Film Still Countdown, Permar, R. and Timmins, S. 2012 installation comprising film (00:04:20) and 20 black and white photographs 30 x 15 cm each, overall dimensions variable. Exhibited in ‘Numbers’ Group exhibition 2012 Shetland: Bonhoga Galler; Relate North: Art, Community and Engagement 2013 Group exhibition 2013 Reykjavik, Iceland: Nordic House accompanied by exhibition catalogue publication; ‘Northern Exchange’; Solo exhibition and workshops 2015 Helmsdale, Scotland: Timespan Museum and Heritage Centre. Film screenings: Film Al Fresco 2012 Philadelhia, USA: Galleries at Moore; Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2013 York, England.communities in Iceland in an exploration of the Cold War period as it exists physically in the landscape and in the memory.


The research will use art to re-imagine this period and ask how the presence of Cold War military installations impact on the population in both past and present. Field work based in Keflavik, Hofn and Langanes/Porshavn will involve participants in creative activities and experiences using the Cold War installations sited in each of these locations as the core subject. The Lead Researcher will work with a Co-Investigator from Iceland, traveling together to each site to work with local residents to explore the legacy of the Cold War and the question of our nuclear futures.  


From a pedagogical perspective the project will consider the potential for place based art education to generate a sense of place and attachment. This form of pedagogy focuses on particular places as a way to learn and experience the world around us. The research will consider how place-based methods can facilitate the excavation of hidden memories and stimulate new understanding of our nuclear futures. Results from this project could feed into a larger collaborative investigation which employs a variety of strategies to engage communities in the northern and Arctic regions from both sides of the former Iron Curtain in an exploration of memories of the Cold War and/or perceptions of the Nuclear threat past and present.

RPermar NORTHERN EXCHANGE installation view R PermarSTimmins TimespanNorthern Exchange, Permar, R. and Timmins, S. 2015 Solo exhibition and workshops, Helmsdale, Scotland: Timespan Museum and Heritage Centre


Roxane Permar is a visual artist and lecturer who works in the field of social practice, responding to issues of location, history and community. Her career has been based in the UK, initially in London and latterly in Shetland.

The Shetland context underpins her social practice, where she has initiated and realised projects since 1990. Her research centres on processes of creative engagement, participation and collaboration and how these experiences foster meaning, knowledge and relationships within communities, between cultures and across generations.The ethics of social practice as well as the importance and impact of legacy within community based practices underpin her research. As lead researcher for the Artworks Scotland Pilot Research Project based at Shetland College, University of the Highlands and Islands, she worked with students to test the feasibility of networked teaching for participatory practices in the visual arts across the region.

A Virtual Symposium examining Social Practice within the Higher Education context linked students, researchers and practitioners across the UK and has become an annual event organised in collaboration with Middlesex University.

In 2014 she was awarded a Creative Scotland Artist Bursary with artist Susan Timmins to support the research and development of a new work addressing issues related to the Cold War that bridge both sides of the Iron Curtain, including Scotland, England and Russia.

Carnegie Research Incentive Grants

The next deadline for applications is 15th March 2017.

To learn more about our scheme and how to submit an application, visit the Research Incentive Grants page.