Sanctuary Lab Returns to Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park this Month

 The event which is free and family-friendly, (takes place around Murray’s Monument on the A712, near Newton Stewart) will take place on 25th and 26th September in the stunning landscape of the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park near Newton Stewart. It’s intriguing theme is ‘Spoor’ which means to follow a track or scent.

People are invited to come along to discover adventurous, participatory artworks that use mapping, walking, games, investigations, performance and sound. SPOOR focusses on exploring the site to discover artworks that are dispersed, camouflaged and need to be tracked and uncovered.

The event will see artists from far and wide coming together with others based in the region. Artworks include:

  • Strange Loop by Jamie Wardrop and Sita Pieraccini is an alternative mapping of the landscape. Through the use of live stream digital microscopes and sound and video improvisation, they will invite visitors to craft live compositions which reveal the hidden worlds of materials collected from the site.
    Artist Jamie Wardrop said: “After lockdown, it is great to regroup and refocus on making new experiences for audiences and bring work to an event that cares about experimental ways of thinking. With this project weplan to go deeper into the new found awareness of nature that many of us discovered during the pandemic.” 
  • filigree traces by Louise Harris. Visitors will be given a roll of music box paper and a hole punch to use to document their journey through the site in whatever way they wish; they can then play these at each of the specially constructed music boxes located around the site.
    Artist Louise Harris said: Infiligree traces, I want to find ways to encourage visitors to have a participative audio-visual experience that is entirely physical, tactile and connected to a shared environment through actual bodily action.”
  • Field Lines by Rachel Rosen & Professor Andy Newsam (Professor of Astronomy Education and Engagement at Liverpool John Moores University) is an interactive artwork made by the motion of the participants as they are guided and influenced by both visible and dark matter. Everyone taking part will create their own track that marks a single ‘observation’ and which will map out the distorted spacetime of Sanctuary and provide the clues to the nature of dark matter.
    Professor Andy Newsam said: “It’s a joy to get a chance to share the creative side of science in such a unique place”.


Director Jo Hodges said:

“Sanctuary is a very special event and it’s great to be back this year. It’s off-grid deep in the beautiful landscape of the Dark Skies Park in Dumfries and Galloway, beyond the reach of everyday distractions like mobile phones. This year we’re encouraging visitors to go on an exciting adventure to seek out the artworks, many of which which will be hidden across the site. The event is welcoming and family friendly with the emphasis on participation, so there’ll be lots to get involved with”


Rachel Rosen, Artist said:

“This event is one of the most out-there and truly experimental creative spaces that I have had the privilege to be part of. I can’t wait to be back”


Sanctuary began in 2013 and is now established as one of Scotland’s most friendly, unusual and enjoyable art events. Sanctuary is suitable for all ages. Workshops for families include making weird and wonderful sounds by building a Lithophone from rocks.


About Sanctuary

  • Where: Sanctuary takes place at Murray’s Monument, A712, near Newton Stewart, Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park, DG8 7BL. The site is seven miles from Newton Stewart and has ample parking.
  • When: Saturday 25 September 2-9pm Sunday 26th September 2-5pm
  • Artists: See https://sanctuarylab.org/artists-2021/
  • Programme: See https://sanctuarylab.org/programme-2/
  • Find out more at org or e mail [email protected]. Follow on @sanctuarylab


Event information

  • There are no additional facilities onsite this year. Bring food, water, warm clothes and waterproofs. Lighting is kept to a minimum to preserve the essential nature of the park so bring a torch if staying after dark (and a radio to listen to The Dark Outside FM)
  • Mobile reception is limited.
  • If you have any specific questions about access email [email protected]