Back on the Beach Exhibition

An exhibition focusing on the human element of the offshore energy industry has gone on display as part of Offshore Europe’s Energy Festival.

Callum Kellie‘Back on the Beach’, a collection of artwork created by former Gray’s School of Art student Callum Kellie, 26, is currently on display at Aberdeen’s cultural hub Seventeen until Friday, September 6, alongside a selection of images from the archives of Aberdeen Journals.

The exhibition looks to explore the north-east’s 40 year relationship with the offshore industry by focusing on the human element of the sector and the very particular circumstances it places people and families under. Featuring photography, moving image and multimedia works, the show is of a body of work produced by Callum over a number of years.

Callum was inspired by his personal experiences as a child growing up as part of an offshore family, as well as the four summers he spent working as a catering steward on an oil platform to fund his studies.

“It’s a hard experience to describe,” he said. “It’s a working environment that you can’t really compare to anything onshore. You see people get used to the lifestyle, to the time off and the pay checks but it wasn’t for me. I made a conscious decision not to commit to the industry permanently once I graduated.”

The former Grantown Grammar School pupil, who now works at Robert Gordon University (RGU) as a Technical Services Officer, added: “The offshore industry is definitely a recurring theme for me. It’s stuff that I dealt with a little during my studies, then it became the focus of my fourth year project and since graduating from Gray’s my personal work has drifted back towards North Sea themes.

“I grew up with my dad doing three weeks on, three weeks off, so I don’t remember a time when he wasn’t doing it. For a lot of people growing up in the north-east that is the normality of life.

“It is the social aspects of it that interest me, rather than the nuts and bolts of the industry – the situations that it places people in, the pressure and strain it can put on family relationships and the elements that make up day to day life, both on and off the platforms.”

‘Back to the Beach’ is the largest show that Callum has put on to date. He explained: “Although a number of the works have been on display elsewhere, this is the first time that they have all been hung together in the same space and it allows the pieces to have a discourse with each other that hasn’t existed before. It’s a privilege to be asked to put on the show as part of the event and Seventeen is the ideal space to exhibit in.”

The Energy Festival looks to complement the Offshore Europe conference and exhibition by showcasing the best produce and talent from Aberdeen City and Shire through a programme of live events, music and entertainment.

The ‘Back to the Beach’ exhibition will be on display at Seventeen, Belmont Street, Aberdeen, until Friday, September 6, between 10am and 4pm, with late opening on September 3, 4 and 5.

For more information about the Energy Festival, visit


Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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