CuratorSpace Artist Bursary #17: Kitty McKay

Kitty McKay is an artist, researcher and social practitioner currently working with groups and other collaborators to produce live and interactive community workshops concerned with mapping, walking, queerness and archiving. She works across media in academic and creative writing, video, DJing, collaging, radio production, and performance.

"In March 2022, my project Incursions was commissioned by The National Trust to produce a series of socially engaged walks, which became a film. The project intended to showcase the culture, heritage and natural beauty of Souter Lighthouse and the Leas, both conserved by the Trust. The Leas is two and a half miles of magnesian limestone cliffs, wave-cut foreshore and coastal grassland situated five miles from the city of Sunderland, along the North East coastline.

Souter is a heritage site, managed by The National Trust, and was the UK’s first purpose-built electric lighthouse. 60 years ago, the geography was entirely different, with a whole industrial ecology built atop the cliff edges, coal mines and a whole community built around it all. It was called Marsden. ‘Three Walks’, the subsequent film, was made in collaboration with another artist, Sarah Jenkins, and invited students from Sunderland University’s Photography programme, a geologist, and members of the Marsden Banner Group, an archival project set up in the face of the demolition of the old pit village of Marsden to shape the project.

'Three Walks' was screened in July 2022 and we are keen to take the project further. It was produced using social practice and walking as methodologies for filmmaking, inviting a group to direct the project through a shared walk and the unveiling of a community archive. As a result of the ways we worked, we collected and produced new documentation of the area. I will be creating a publication with the material we gathered throughout the process. This includes photographs taken by Sunderland University students, archival material found in Whitburn Library, South Shield Library and the Marsden Banner Group, plus writing, quotes and maps. This publication will continue the momentum of the project, and will be something to ultimately be placed back into the archives, from which we collected so much information and history about the area."

You can find out more about Kitty's work at


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