Trout and Transition

Lead-artist with the Clyde River Foundation

Riverside workshops, combining Art and Science to assist young children with the transition between primary and high school in the Scottish Borders.

Brown trout are prominent fish in the Clyde River, however, they are a species who are highly sensitive to environmental changes. Such sentivities have led to them being a fish that is monitored in order to understand the changing health of the water.  Brown trout also have an unusual life cycle, travelling between rivers and the sea over the course of a year but always returning to the same territory to spawn their eggs.

Trout at Transition was a Clyde River Foundation project which involved every P7 students in the Biggar High School learning community in 2012/13. It aimed to provide a continued point of contact and shared experience as the students transitioned to the High School - many coming from extremely small and remote primary schools.  

The project used the life-cycle of the brown trout to promote children’s awareness of river ecology and to learn monitoring skills in order to become water stewards of their own local waters.


Split into three sequential parts , the project included the students caring for a brown trout hatchery in their classroom, participating at a learning day at the Glasgow Science Centre and gaining knowledge about how to monitor their river through scientific and artistic methods that can be conducted outside with the river.

This included the making of mono-print sketchbook for each student to keep observations they made of their local environment during their day-to-day lives for the summer of transition between schools. They were encouraged to observe the environment but also themselves and look for similiarities in how they felt and how they imagined the environment to feel and how the brown trout were coping with their own transitions as they migrated to the sea. 

The following year, the students continued to increase their knowledge on the Clyde and also learnt how art can reinterpret scientific data to create Public Artworks that inform a wider public. This manifested in a tiled displays along the riverbank.

The project was supported by the Clyde Wind Farm Fund, The Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Trust, The British Ecological Society, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Lamington and District Angling Improvement Association.
(C) HOLLY KEASEY 2020 — GO UP︎︎︎