The first film in a commissioned series for the Between Islands project from An Lanntair has been launched this morning (Monday 3 August).

Lewis film-maker Zoe Paterson Macinnes has explored the notion of ‘community’, using filmed footage of blackhouse ruins in the Lewis landscape and archive radio interview material in which the residents of homes in a Lewis village are discussed.

The film’s musical soundtrack is by Paul Mounsey with Kevin MacNeil and is taken from the album Tha na Làithean a’dol Seachd/The Days Flash Past and its centrepiece is a thoughtful interview with Professor Frank Rennie of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Prof Rennie draws a line between Ice-Age settlers, Irish missionaries, Victorian gentlemen travellers and today’s fish-farm workers, all of whom have settled in and enriched the rural communities of Lewis.

Prof Rennie attributes the notion of island communities as ‘remote’ to travellers from Dr Johnson onwards, who visited the islands from their mainland homes and attributed qualities to the land and its people from what he describes as ‘a position of ignorance’ which became received wisdom about island communities.

He said: “It was totally beyond their experience and so they magnified, they exaggerated the differences that they found here to make them appear to be great explorers who had visited all these far foreign lands.”

Between Islands is a continuing series of creative collaborations between musicians and other artists from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles which explores the common ground and differences between island communities. It is curated by Alex Macdonald of An Lanntair in Stornoway.

The film can be viewed at