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Creative retreats

June 17, 2014



As many of you will know, issues of sustainability and environmental awareness are central to the ethos of Iona Hostel. The marriage of hostel, land / croft and a creative response to cultural landscape are close to my heart and I’m keen to develop a more overtly artistic opportunity and response to this remarkable place. Though I have little artistic skill myself (I guess I view Lagandorain as my canvas!) the artistic process, metaphor and interpretation are close to my heart. I’m reassured by the idea of the poet, the Makar, being at the right hand side of God. Good company.

I’ve decided, therefore, to offer four week self-directed residencies over the winter in the Shepherd’s Bothy. Between mid October and the end of February, visual artists and writers now have the opportunity to pursue a personal project on Lagandorain. As many of you will know, Lagandorain and the North End were the creative and spiritual home of the Scottish Colourists.

While there is no theme specified for the residency, successful applicants will be expected to reflect Iona and an awareness of environment and sustainability in their finished work. I am keeping this deliberately loose as it’s creative interpretation and interplay rather than polemic that interests me and seems to better reflect our human nature.

Along with the Bothy, the Byre will also be available as a big workspace.

If you are interested in terms and prices, please do get in touch.



5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 17, 2014 12:09 pm

    Hi John,

    I can chat to you about it in a few days but I would like to be considered for a residency over the winter months in the bothy. I have just finished my HND in Photography (A+ commendation) and island life means a lot to me. I have applied for a degree but now feel I just want to shoot.



    Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:51:30 +0000 To:

  2. June 23, 2014 11:46 am

    WOW! What an opportunity!

    And on a different but related note, I’m cooking up a new project – in addition to the annual writing/poetry retreat I lead at the Argyll each April – and once it’s moved into anything more than a glimmer of steam on the horizon I will be in touch…

    All best, Roselle

    • June 23, 2014 5:20 pm

      Hello Roselle,

      Good to hear from you and I gather you had a successful writers workshop in the Argyll Hotel earlier in the year. I had some of your folk staying with me and they seemed very happy. Always interested to hear of new projects!

      Best wishes,


  3. Loma Eaves permalink
    May 22, 2016 7:52 pm

    This sounds like it was an amazing opportunity. Will you be offering it in 2016-17?
    Loma, San Jose, CA, USA
    Author, Speaker, Spiritual Counselor

    • May 25, 2016 3:22 pm

      Hello Loma,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’m afraid that the residencies are now fully booked for ’16 / ’17. If you have any other questions please ask. The best way to get me is to email on

      Best wishes,


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