Skye, Lochalsh and Lochaber celebrate exhibitions of students’ work

Students from UHI North, West and Hebrides are showcasing their work from a busy year with exhibitions in various college centres and local venues starting Wednesday May 22nd with an opening nights to welcome friends, family and members of the public.

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Former student Noru Innes photographing Fashion and Textile student designs, modelled by student volunteers.

The showcase will include work from our creative arts, textiles, fashion and photography courses based in Fort William, Portree, and Auchtertyre.   

In preparation for the exhibition in Fort William, former student Noru Innes held a photo shoot recently with work from our Fashion and Textiles courses modelled by student volunteers and supported by our Beauty students. 

Lecturer Laura Kingswood Smith explained “With such a range of courses involved, there have been many different trends and themes explored this year with students in Fort William being given free rein to choose from a selection of briefs for each of their projects.  These are trend-led and allow students to gain an awareness of the continually changing nature of the fashion forecasting industry. Notable amongst these are an interest in developing sustainability, reducing waste, arts and craftsmanship and the importance of nature in our fragile ecology as well as the resurgence of a nostalgic Y2k aesthetic and surreal revival".

HND Textiles student Shaz Murphy will be graduating after studying with us for three years in our department. She has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the department and created several large-scale textile artworks for the campus which will remain on public display.  In her latest work she has been inspired by the college merger and her own learning journey here, creating a large scale macrame and metalwork piece of the tree of knowledge.   

Artwork of women surrounded by leaves created by student

Artwork created by Shaz Murphy

We are delighted that two of our young students from the NC Creative Industries: Art & Design Portfolio with Textiles have gained places to go on to study fashion courses in Glasgow.  We wish them all the best in their next steps in this exciting industry.  

NPA Art and Design is a one day per week course also in Fort William which brings together three units in Printmaking, Mixed Media and Illustration. The showcase comprises work from across the course with a particular focus on a collective theme the group has been working with, Escapism, and a zine and artists’ book which accompanies this. 

The corridors at Fort William will showcase the work from students studying a new mixed media unit this year.   It features a collection of work from each student with the theme, Landscape and Memory.  Introduction to Illustration theme, Escapism has been a collective project bringing examples of student’s artwork together in a zine and artists’ book.  Some of our part-time NQ Textiles students are keen to return to college here and will continue on other part-time arts courses to develop their artistic practice further in other related media.   

A highlight of the year was students creating the costume designs for the Showstoppers theatre production of ‘Cinderella’ with students from the NC and National 4 Senior Phase courses creating garments for some of the characters in the show.  These were fantastically well received, and everyone very much enjoyed going to see the pantomime and seeing the costumes on stage.  They really did shine, shimmer and move beautifully, coming alive on the characters in the show.   

4 mannequins wearing costumes created by our Fashion and Textiles students for the musical, Cinderella.

Costume designs for the Showstoppers theatre production of ‘Cinderella’

Our Senior Phase students, who come to college every Wednesday, are also taking part in an upcycling project in conjunction with a Highlife Highland youth work initiative which will also open later this month at a clothes swap opening event.

Meanwhile in Skye and Lochalsh... 

Art and Photography students are busy finalising exhibitions to be held in the college centres in Portree and Auchtertyre as well as An Crubh on the Isle of Skye, celebrating the work they have created over the past year with print making, paintings, drawing, sculpture and photography on display.  

The Festival opening night in Portree will be on May 28th when guests will be treated to a performance from Mac Loud drumming group and be able to see a large selection of work exhibited on the walls, stair wells and studios of the college centre. 

Our part time students from the one day National Progression Award (NPA) course have been exploring printmaking, mixed media and illustration whilst our HE part time students have been studying Contemporary Art Practice.  This course is now available at both HNC and HND (Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma) levels in Portree and it’s been very exciting to see last year’s students progress to this higher level.  

Lino art of mountain created by NPA Art student

Lino print artwork created by an NPA Student 

At the start of the year the HND students went to Inverness for a trip to visit the Highland Printmakers, Browns Gallery and Inverness Creative Academy to look at the curation of exhibitions and presentation of work. Looking at the work of local artists inspired their project work and got them thinking about alternative ways to present their own work.  All of these students studied with us last year have been spending this year developing drawings skills and working on personal themes in Painting. The first Drawing project took the students to Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Sleat, Isle of Skye, to respond to the environment and create work for the atrium space of the college there. Local painter Sarah Bold then worked with the students introducing them to Oil painting techniques for the painting project.  

Meanwhile our HNC students worked on a Public Art project envisaging a public artwork for Portree, then moved into Contemporary Sculpture exploring a variety of materials and learning techniques in clay, plaster and found objects.  

Visitors to Portree will also be treated to an exhibition from a number of the Supported Learning Students who will be exhibiting their interpretations of the Lighthouse of Alexandria as part of their Ancient Cultures subject. 

Our ambitious and creative Photography HNC is a full time one year course incorporating online learning with practical in-person residentials. This year our exceptional graduates are exploring a diverse range of topics ranging from the psychology of dreams, superstition and religion, landscapes of the sublime, fashion, and documentary practices of social injustice. In addition, we actively encourage collaboration across our creative departments in fashion, make-up, and photography production for our annual creative showcase. Graduate students have gone on to successfully establish a professional practice in photography or to continue their creative studies at the Glasgow School of Art and other such institutions in Scotland.

The popular NPA Art and Design course in Auchtertyre is also holding an exhibition of work completed by the full class of students over the last year. The students concentrated on mixed media, print-making and illustration with a variety of themes including nature, portraiture and fishing.  

Artwork of a sunflower made from mixed media by a student

Artwork created by NPA students

Students made their annual visit to the Bridge House Art in Ullapool to visit their student portfolio exhibition at An Talla Solais. They also made a studio visit to Aileen Grant's printmaking studio at Lochcarron and had a talk by local artist Sarah Longley about her illustrations. One present student and one former student had a fabulous 2 woman art exhibition of their own at the Steadings Gallery, Balmacara last year, and all the female Art students from Portree and Auchtertyre were invited to exhibit at Skye Bridge Studios in Kyle for International Women’s Day. 

The exhibition will continue at An Crubh, Duisdale, Isle of Skye 20th - 23rd June when visitors will also have a chance to see work from Portree and Auchtertyre students. 

Sarah Bruce is the Curriculum Area Lead for Creative Arts and commented: “The opportunity to see our students’ work exhibited is a highlight of the year at UH North, West and Hebrides. It is wonderful to see the culmination of everyone’s creative efforts across our centres, and to see the pride students have in displaying their work.  I hope many will join us to see the incredible work that has been produced across our Creative subjects this year.” 

Exhibition Information

More information on our creative arts courses and how to apply