The Breachacha Embrace Residency Program—clear air, clear water, clear mind…—is established as a refuge for existential soul searching to recover and resource, for aesthetic and literary practice, for innovative ecological contribution and experimental thinking. It is the parent organisation of Embrace Space and is located in an eighteenth-century clan castle on the beach. Breachacha New Castle is an A-listed heritage building on the West end of the Isle of Coll along the coast of Scotland. The castle forms part of a larger triad of Breachacha buildings with the ‘old’ castle from the 15th century and the adjacent steadings that are contemporaneous with the ‘new’ castle. The building was first constructed in 1750 as a classical three-storey square mansion linked to two square pavilions on each side. It is pictured in a painting from 1841 at the Scottish Royal Academy. This Georgian castle is the only one of its kind in the Inner Hebrides and was built as a modern replacement for the ruined 15th-century castle, which has been restored some time ago and is situated diagonally to the front of the newer building, visible from some windows at a sharp angle to one side.
Nowadays the building appears as a hybrid of the original plainer Palladian style and the 19th-century romanticised style—favoured by the Victorians—harking back to the medieval gothic of the older castle. The result is a bright, spacious building with a great deal of period charm and character, imposing yet homely in scale. The rooms are reminiscent of a well-proportioned Georgian manor house and a small number of original features are preserved. The large sash windows frame impressive views over the surrounding countryside and the Atlantic Ocean with its white sandy beaches. In the East, the Treshnish Isles and Staffa, with Fingals Cave, are visible. The weather on Coll can be beautiful with bright sunlight as well as harsh with strong winds from the South-West and heavy rains, stimulating Wanderlust…
If you live on an island there is only so far you can go
in a straight line before you can’t go any further.
I was asked a question at the breakfast table a few months ago:
what is to rotation as line is to translation?
Round and round we go in figuring out.
A maximum of 12 residencies (2 x 6) are awarded to artists and writers each year in mid-May and in mid-September for up to 6 weeks. One of the 12 studios is allocated to a Scottish resident, while the remaining others are dedicated to international residents. Each of the two residency sessions runs for 4 to 6 weeks, from May until June and from September until October. Residents are offered an individual studio room in the East Wing building and/or in the main castle building. From there they have access to the beach and the stunning surroundings, including the nature and marine reserves. The interaction with the other residents will be stimulated by conversations and presentations among each other, enabling lasting connections among local and international change makers and artists. The residents meet on a weekly basis with the director and local actors.
The residency offers a studio room in the castle or in the wing, and access to all common spaces, such as the large kitchen, living room and library. Funding is crucial as it will guarantee financial support for the stay (food, transport, etc.)
Green or sustainable travel by train and ferry is advised, as the charity is mindful of the necessary changes towards responsible tourism or travel. Travel to and from the Isle of Coll is either via car ferry from Oban, or via Hebridean flights from Oban Airport to the Isle of Coll Aerodrome which lies to the north of the castle. Tiree is only a short flight to the west and offers regular direct flights to Glasgow.
Breachacha Embrace Program
2021: Zero edition