Glasgow-based public art charity NVA was founded in 1992 with the mission to reconnect people to their built and natural heritage through powerful public art. 

All of NVA’s artworks directly involve audiences to physically redefine landscapes, revealing how places shape – and are shaped by – people. 

The company is known for its extraordinary and dynamic interventions, incorporating light, sound and collective movement into mountain locations, city festivals and international cultural events including the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France – Grand Depart in Yorkshire in 2014.

Its name comes from nacionale vita activa, the Ancient Greek ideal of a lively democracy where actions and words, shared amongst a community of equals, brings new thinking into the world. 


For the official launch of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture in March 2016, audiences were invited to explore one of Scotland’s most important modernist buildings – a disused Roman Catholic seminary – for the first time in 30 years.

Hinterland revealed the full glory of the towering concrete ruin of St Peter’s Seminary, combining moving light installations and projection with a haunting choral soundscape created by composer Rory Boyle. The project also announced a groundbreaking programme of creative work at St Peter’s Seminary, launching from 2018 onwards. You can watch a short film about the project above.

St Peter’s Seminary

NVA plans to rescue and restore this outstanding example of 20th century architecture, transforming it into a national platform for public art and a world-class heritage destination. Through an ambitious redevelopment project, they aim to restore part of the ruin, combining it with new, innovative design, creating the world’s first intentional modernist ruin. The building and landscape will become a dramatic setting for public art and bold and creative thinking. Find out more in the film below.

Island Drift ©

NVA & Alan McAteer 

Island Drift  ©

NVA & Alan McAteer 

Speed of Light and Ghost Peloton

The company has been touring two works, Speed of Light and Ghost Peloton, internationally in recent years. Both use film, photography and live choreography of endurance runners and cyclists in light suits to bring their environment to life. 

The works premiered on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The ongoing world tour has responded to hillsides in Scotland, docklands in Japan, reformed urban sites in England, and the vast industrial landscapes of the Ruhr in Germany. 

The NVA’s two short films, which you can watch above, capture these extraordinary public art events. 

Island Drift

As well as these stunning large-scale public spectacles, NVA have produced fine art photographic work in partnership with Scotland’s Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. You can see two photographs from the Island Drift project above.

Over eight months, photographer Alan McAteer, designer James Johnson and NVA’s creative director Angus Farquhar worked with park rangers to manipulate moving and static light sources on land and water. Multiple camera positions were used to achieve a powerful series of digital images articulating the Scottish Highland boundary fault line.


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