Altar at St Peters Seminary. Photo: James Johnson

NVA work with St Peter’s Seminary & Kilmahew Woodlands

Apr 29, 2009

NVA announce major role in plans to save St Peter’s Seminary and Kilmahew Woodlands

NVA have received an award from the Scottish Arts Council’s National Lottery Public Art Fund. The award is for the development of a commission plan for the creation of significant temporary and permanent artworks at St Peter’s Seminary and Kilmahew Woodlands, Cardross.

NVA have been exploring a variety of options for the transformation of the buildings and 120 acres of semi-ancient woodlands, following vital initial capital support from Dunard Fund.

Woodland, ecology and landscape character assessments have already been funded by The Gulbenkian Foundation, Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to ensure a dynamic and sensitive approach is taken to any future interventions. The work has been undertaken by ESS ltd and ERZ landscape architects.

“The support from the Scottish Arts Council to create a strong commission plan is the best possible start to creating a world-class creative landscape within St Peter’s and Kilmahew woodlands.

The site carries a remarkable 500 year history of human intervention, from the mediaeval foundations of Cardross Castle, the survival of natural woodlands and a stunning Victorian designed estate, to the powerful imposition of the 20th century seminary buildings. A creative landscape is driven not by a single focus or perspective on its heritage, conservation, environmental or leisure value, but by an inspired reading of the layers of history that underpin it, that define its complex character and the visionary artistic responses that can expand this narrative into a new century. The plan will allow us to look at temporary and permanent ways to take these ideas forward”
Angus Farquhar, NVA Creative Director

Local consultation

Detailed discussions have also been taking place with local residents in Cardross and Renton to develop a mix of possible strategies to achieve open public realm access, build training facilities for young people in the areas and expand resource management. This has led to the formation of the Kilmahew Woodland Restoration Group to take forward these community aspirations.

“It will be an amazing place if we can have the woodlands back and restore the special atmosphere and simply unique qualities of the location.”
Catriona Macaulay, Cardross resident & KWR group member

“The good thing and the great challenge of the new Kilmahew / St Peter’s proposals, is linking local people of this generation to the land that surrounds them. There is a rich cultural history that has been shared by many but particularly the villages of Renton and Cardross. We hope to reactivate a sense of pride and ownership for future generations to enjoy.”
Archie Thompson, KWR group member from Renton

The Scottish Art Council

Commenting on the NVA project Karen Ward Boyd, Senior Lottery Officer said:

“Our vision for Public Art in Scotland is ambitious; developing this area will take time as we want to explore the many exciting possibilities that public art can bring to communities throughout Scotland.
The NVA project at Kilmahew Woodlands will contribute to the creative transformation of this historical and culturally significant space and create a vibrant place for the people of Scotland.”

Links to Associated Press Articles:
The Herald, 29th April 2009
The Evening Times, 30th April 2009
Architects Journal, 29th April 2009

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