Media release: Cromarty Lighthouse art installation to illuminate stories of female scientists after receiving National Lottery funding

Cromarty Lighthouse courtesy Lucie Treacher

CROMARTY Lighthouse will be seen as never before next March with a new art installation inspired by pioneering women scientists which is being supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund.

Bones + Stars is a sonic and visual installation inspired by astronomer, Caroline Herschel, and fossil collector, Mary Anning, which will celebrate the work of the women who research the earth and the skies.

The installation, which will be free to attend, will divide the lighthouse into conceptual strata, fusing original music and poetry by Sutherland-based Lucie Treacher and projected animation by Saskia Tomlinson.

Bones + Stars is also being supported by funding from Sound and Music.

Taking place from 17:00 to 21:00 on Saturday 21 March 2020, Bones + Stars invites the local community, as well as audiences from further afield, to discover the stories of pioneering women scientists and explore the lighthouse in a new way.

Audience members will be welcomed inside the lighthouse in small groups to experience interactive sound sculptures, immersive animation and story-telling about the two women, their lives and work. The voices of contemporary women scientists will also be heard through interviews available on ‘sound shells’, that the audience will be able to pick up and listen to during their time in the lighthouse.

Lucie Treacher said: “I’ve always deeply admired Mary Anning (I myself am a hoarder of stones), and I recently discovered Caroline Herschel, who was cataloguing stars at the same time as Anning, during the early 1800s.

“Yet I was heartbroken to find out that these two women never met considering they only lived around 60 miles from each other. I was struck by the similarities in their stories and their ingenuity and perseverance in the face of hardship.

“This installation is a literal meeting of their – and other women scientists who research the earth and sky – minds. The lighthouse itself is coincidentally a centre for Marine Biology research and so lends itself to shining a light on the work of women scientists. It’s wonderful to use this very special building which is rarely opened to the public.”

Creative Scotland’s Vanessa Boyd said: “This fascinating installation will transform the historic Cromarty Lighthouse as we take a journey into the past to share the lives of two incredible pioneering women.

Bones + Stars will celebrate their work and the contemporary achievements of women scientists through music, poetry, theatre and visual art, bringing their stories into focus for the local community and visitors.”

In addition to Bones + Stars, Highlands-based recipients of the latest round of Open Project Funding are Caithness artist Karlyn Sutherland, who is being supported to attend the renowned Emerging Artist in Residence programme at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, USA, and the second SEALL Festival of Small Halls, a nine-day multi-artform winter festival taking place on the Isles of Skye and Raasay.

A full list of projects and activity awarded through the Open Project Fund in this latest round, is available here. In this round, over 30 creative projects and activities taking place across Scotland have received more than £600,000 of National Lottery Funding through Creative Scotland.

Over £583m National Lottery funding has been awarded across Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries over the last 25 years. Nearly 16,000 individuals, projects and organisations have benefitted from this enabling people and communities to bring their ideas to life. To find out more, visit

Notes for editors:

Caroline Herschel (1750–1888) was a pioneer in her field and is considered the first professional female astronomer.

Mary Anning (1799–1847) was a fossil collector whose discoveries were some of the most significant geological finds of all time.

Lucie Treacher is a sound artist/composer and performer based in Skelbo, Sutherland and London. Her work is characterised by vivid and highly textural sound worlds, which are playfully woven into her multi-disciplinary work, merging theatre, performance, film and community arts.

Saskia Tomlinson is an animator and maker whose work focuses on storytelling as well as combining handcrafted elements with contemporary technologies.

Cromarty Lighthouse was built by Alan Stevenson, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson, and operated by the Northern Lighthouse Board from 1842 until it was de-commissioned in 2005.

Open Project Funding is available to a wide range of organisations and individuals working across Scotland in the arts and creative industries. It supports a broad spectrum of activity including creative and professional development, research and development, production, small capital requirements, touring and collaborations, festivals, arts programming, audience development, etc. Support is available for projects of different scale and duration with the maximum period of award being set at two years. Awards are made in the range £1,000 to £100,000 (or up to £150,000 by exception). Application guidance and forms can be found here.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. Further information at Follow us @creativescots and

Media contact:

Claire Thomson, media relations and PR coordinator

+44(0)141 302 1708 | +44(0)7747 606 146

Image credit: Lucie Treacher

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