Wild at Art

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We curate and run immersive small group creative holidays, retreats and tailor-made art experiences in Scotland. Guests get to connect with Scotland’s places, history and people through creative activity – drawing & painting, photography, singing, pottery, weaving, pottery, creative writing and more. Doing art encourages visitors to slow down and really see our stunning locations. I (Ute Amann-Seidel, Wild at Art director) run the business from my home-office base and work with a growing network of local artists and other partners all over Scotland to develop and deliver the creative experiences for visitors from all over the world. Whenever possible, I welcome guests personally and accompany some of the groups myself.
Member since: 01 Mar 2020

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

When it comes to choosing tutors, suppliers and supplies we go for local options as much as we can, providing they fit the bill in terms of quality and inspiration factor. When paying our tutors we pay fair fees, using the rates recommended by the Scottish Artists’ Union for guidance. Many of our partners are charities or local enterprises, such as the Coorie Creative weaving studio in Stirling (from Autumn 2020), a social enterprise whose commercial workshops fund therapeutic weaving classes for people who have experienced loss or trauma. Linlithgow Union Canal Society (LUCS), our partner on the Gongoozler Canal Art Experience, is a 100% volunteer-run charity and its and their mission is to promote and encourage the restoration and use of the Union Canal, particularly in and around Linlithgow. One of LUCS’s boats will be our “floating studio” on the canal and we will also use their indoor space at the canal centre as our indoor studio. A small share of each booking under our Year of Scotland’s Coasts and Waters programme goes to LUCS. Our partner hotel Ten Hill Place in Edinburgh is owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and all profits go directly towards the training of surgeons worldwide. We always keep our eyes and ears open for local happenings, so we can build visits to local events, such as theatre performances or music nights our guests might enjoy, into our itinerary. This often happens quite spontaneously – we recognise an interesting opportunity when we see it!  

Environmental responsibility

With Scotland having such an abundance of stunning and wonderful locations it can be tempting to cram as much as possible into one trip. And we sometimes forget that ideally the point of going on holidays is to slow down and just experience a place. We believe that taking a slower pace allows our guests to better connect with a location and benefiting more from that life-enriching effect of a creative vacation. This is especially true for art retreats such as the Creative Retreat in Orkney, where the pace is slower overall and less transport is required.

Scotland, with its stunning landscapes and special light is beautiful all year round, not just in the traditional tourism season. In a move to make this out-of-season beauty more visible and accessible to visitors, we’re adding more creative experiences outwith the busiest months. Imagine walking on a quiet winter beach in Orkney or Skye to collect images and impressions, and then sitting by the fire in a cosy studio or cottage to paint them – what’s not to like! Similarly, there are less well known places in Scotland that are fantastic but often overlooked when holiday plans are made. On the other hand there are tourism hotspots in danger of over-tourism. That’s why you won’t find art holidays on Skye or in Edinburgh during the summer season on our website. We love finding the hidden gems – such as Angus and the Scottish Borders – and inviting guest to discover them too.

We are lucky to live and work in one of the most beautiful countries of the world and are committed to do our it for preserving its natural environment and minimise negative impacts.
Ways in which we do this include:
? Not having business premises, which means saving on carbon footprint of commuting and the energy and other use that comes with running an office. ?
Using small local transport providers and public transport rather than keeping our own road transport vehicles.
? Advising guest on public transport options for getting to and from holiday locations.
? Not using nor providing bottled water and handing out reusable water bottles to those guests who didn’t bring their own.
- Reusing art equipment and materials as much as possible and avoiding single use items such as wet wipes.
? Using recycled printer cartridges and printing only if absolutely needed.
? Avoiding single use plastic items (e.g. for snacks and picnics during trips).
? Recycling waste as much as possible.

Social responsibility

We love curating creative experiences and a lot of research and exploration goes into every single one of the itineraries. Those “ingredients” that are the most real and authentic also offer the best opportunities for our guests to develop their creative skills and at the same time learn about traditional as well as contemporary Scottish arts and crafts, cultural heritage and local environments. This often involves bringing in locals to tell their stories or visiting local artists’ studios or workshops. One example is the herbalist session at Culross Palace Garden, which is part of the Outlander ‘Art Experience. A herbal walk where guests learn about the healing and culinary qualities of common plants is followed by a workshop were guests get to make their own natural balms and creams. Another example are the painting cruises in the Hebrides, where guests can get actively involved in collecting data for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust with guidance from experienced ecologists.  

It’s important to us that the people we work with share our values as much as possible and join us in communicating them as appropriate. Our tutors share our values and ome of them are actively involved in conservation projects or similar initiatives: Steve Bretel, who has a great passion for wild spaces, is Artist in Residence at Rahoy Hills nature reserve managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Ardtornish. Leo du Feu is involved in environmental campaigning and regular voluntary bird surveys for the British Trust for Ornithology. He teaches regular art workshops for Edinburgh charity Art in Healthcare and gives talks about his Scotland by Rail Scotrail-supported art & nature travels.

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