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The AST and The Macallan bring Salmon School to Speyside

We’re often asked, ‘How can we raise awareness of the salmon crisis in the general public?’ Art has a unique power to deliver messages that can educate, inspire and motivate, and that power lies at the heart of our latest collaboration. Read on to find out more.

Salmon School takes centre stage at The Macallan distillery

What do whisky and salmon have in common?
Both are reliant on cold, clean water.

The Macallan Estate has unveiled a new contemporary art installation designed to raise global awareness of salmon conservation. Created by renowned American artist, Joseph Rossano, in collaboration with glass artists around the world, Salmon School consists of 300 mirrored glass fish, suspended in the air to replicate the movement of a school of wild salmon and is designed to highlight the cultural and ecological importance of this species.

The installation of Salmon School is the latest development in The Macallan’s partnership with The Atlantic Salmon Trust and the wider Missing Salmon Alliance, and the unveiling coincides with the official opening of the River Spey at The Macallan Estate on Saturday 11 February 2023. Having previously been exhibited in both the Pacific and Atlantic shores, where separate salmon species are similarly seeing their numbers decline, Salmon School was first exhibited in the UK for the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021, and was displayed at Balmoral Castle as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The Macallan and The Atlantic Salmon Trust have collaborated on several projects, including the Moray Firth Tracking Project in conjunction with other Missing Salmon Alliance member organisations. Launched in 2019, this has been the largest acoustic tracking programme of its kind to be undertaken in Europe, aiming to discover where and why young Atlantic salmon ‘smolts’ are going missing as they migrate down seven major rivers in the Moray Firth. The results are currently being analysed and will be announced in spring 2023, however, early results are identifying barriers to migration and flow rates as two of the main factors influencing downstream migration success of young salmon.

We asked some of the key figures involved in bringing Salmon School to Speyside for their thoughts on what the artwork represents.

“The Macallan is one of the key supporters of the Atlantic Salmon Trust and we are immensely proud to be partnered with a brand that has sustainability and the protection of the environment at its core. Their support helps us to not only continue our vital scientific research on the causes for salmon decline and to develop ambitious restoration solutions, but also to help raise awareness of the urgency of the salmon crisis and to help that message reach new audiences. The Salmon School art installation has the power to deliver that message and we are delighted to have played a part in helping to bring it to The Macallan.

Speyside is iconic for two things: whisky and salmon. Together, through working with partners such as The Macallan, we can ensure that these two halves of the Speyside soul are secure long into the future.”

Mark Bilsby, CEO Atlantic Salmon Trust
Salmon School brings an awareness of the salmon crisis to new audiences

“Salmon School is an art installation of global significance, and we’re proud to host it at The Macallan Estate this spring. Through the power of art and community, Salmon School has brought people together from around the world as we work to find solutions to halt and reverse the global salmon crisis.

This is the latest milestone in our ongoing work with The Atlantic Salmon Trust. We share a spirit of sustainability and community, working together towards our mutual goal to care for the extraordinary River Spey and its natural surroundings. With awareness and effort, we can restore wild salmon populations to their former glory.”

Elizabeth McMillan, Head of Insight and Sustainability at The Macallan
Salmon School can be viewed at The Macallan until 8th May 2023

“With its history of supporting environmental conservation and its new landmark distillery on the River Spey, The Macallan is the ideal partner to host a new iteration of the keynote art and science project, Salmon School.

Sharing an emphasis on the vital importance of cold, clean water, Salmon School and The Macallan are working together to show what ecological recovery for the rivers of Scotland could look like, and helping visitors to The Macallan and viewers of the sculpture to visualize the finality of what is a seemingly endless resource: the wild salmon.”

Artist, Joseph Rossano

Salmon School can be viewed at The Macallan Estate until 8th May 2023.

The Macallan Estate is open from Thursday to Sunday each week, and all visits must be booked in advance. To make arrangements, please visit

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