Creative Arts Festival celebrates students’ work

Students from UHI West Highland are showcasing their work from a busy year at events in Fort William, Portree, Auchtertyre and Kyle of Lochalsh over the next two weeks.

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UHI West Highland Creative Arts Festival 2023

Art and Photography students are busy finalising exhibitions to be held in the college centres in Portree and Auchtertyre, as well as The Old Bakehouse Gallery in Create, Kyle of Lochalsh. Whilst students from HNC and HND Textiles, full and part-time students from Art & Design with Textiles, Introduction to Sewing Skills and NPA Painting students are joining with Photography students to create an exhibition in Fort William.

The Art Studio in Portree has been very busy this year with 2 part-time courses in Drawing and Sculpture, the NC Art & Design group and HNC Contemporary Art Practice Students. Several new students have applied for NPA Art & Design next year in both Portree and Auchtertyre, others will be continuing their studies on HNC & HND Contemporary Art Practice courses. Students have explored a variety of mediums in their work from clay to plaster, found objects and a variety of drawing materials. Additionally, we are all very excited that one of our NC Art students has been offered a place at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen for a place on the BA (Hons) Painting course. 

This year students have been delighted to welcome a variety of visiting artists including painter Ellis O’Conner, sculptor Annie Coomber, artists Irene Blair and Sarah Longley as well as local arts organisation Atlas Arts. 

Students from the Supported Learning Programme will also be exhibiting work in Portee on the theme of “Ancient Cultures” throughout the week.

Photography students from the HNC Photography course will also be exhibiting their work in both Portree and Fort William. The course can be studied full or part-time and has recently been developed to allow a unique opportunity to study online along with the exciting addition of short intensives with a focus on location, environment, portraiture, professional studio practice and research. In 2023 our new modules include Documentary Practice and Portfolio Production resulting in one student being offered a place on the prestigious 2023 Canon Student Development programme.  

Part-time students studying the NPA Painting course one day a week at Auchtertyre have been busy too. A full class of students have studied colour, painting techniques and painting to a theme. Interesting themes were explored including crofting, gardens, land and seascape, the fishing industry and portraiture. Several students, past and present, had the opportunity to exhibit at An Crùbh and Skye Bridge Studios this year, which was such a great experience for them and enjoyed an inspiring journey to visit the Bridge House Art portfolio exhibition in Ullapool. Next year the NPA Art and Design course at Auchtertyre and Portree will explore mixed media, printmaking and illustration.  

The Visual Art Department in Fort William has been running full time HNC & HND Textiles and NC Art and Design with Textiles and the 3 part time courses in Art & Design Textiles, Introduction to Sewing skills and the NPA Painting. Students have explored a variety of mediums, materials and techniques within all our course work to ensure students can be as creative, experimental and expressive as possible within their designs.    

This year Textiles students in Fort William have been delighted to work with the brand new NC Beauty and the Residential HNC Photography department to create a fashion shoot of their final garments which will be on display as part of the exhibition.   

Part time students studying the NPA Painting course one day a week will also be exhibiting. A full class of students have studied colour, painting techniques and painting to a theme. Interesting themes were explored including the “Year of Storytelling”. Next year the NPA Art and Design course at Fort William will explore mixed media, printmaking and illustration.  

At the event in Fort William, NC Professional Cookery will be providing nibbles for the opening night and Wee Cal from the HND Music will provide the musical entertainment.

Sarah Bruce is the Curriculum Area Lead for Creative Arts and commented:

“The Creative Arts Festival is an exciting event in the UHI West Highland calendar for both students and staff.  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.” 



Visit our Creative Arts subject area or information on our creative courses and how to apply.

Exhibition dates and times: Open Days - Creative Arts Festival