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Getting creative in your community

By Liza Mulholland

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Julie Fowlis is one of the mentors for the youth arts project. Picture: Callum Mackay/HNM
Julie Fowlis is one of the mentors for the youth arts project. Picture: Callum Mackay/HNM

Well, what a difference a week makes! It’s been so nice on my daily cycles this last week seeing people once again eating out along the riverside, at the newly reopened beer gardens of hotels and restaurants.

There is surely little to beat the enjoyment of a lovely meal and a tipple or two with friends and family in the summer sunshine, with the sparkling waters of the Ness just metres away.

The lower reaches of the river are great for wildlife too and you might even spot the Ness heron waiting for his dinner while you eat!

While it’s good that many workplaces are back in business, for us musicians things remain much the same at the moment. It looks like some outdoor gigs could start in August and scientific experiments are currently being conducted to measure number, speed and trajectory of breath droplets, and therefore potential spread of coronavirus, which might determine when singers, bands and orchestras can return to the indoor stage.

The good news is that recording studios have been allowed to reopen and this weekend I’m back in Steve Bull’s Glachbeg studio on the Black Isle finishing off a project that’s been on hold since lockdown and, boy, am I excited about it!

Yes, there are new rules regarding how many people can be present and of course social distancing and lots of hygiene around microphones etc, but that is reassuring and necessary.

The Elphen Chronicles project has been one that’s dear to my heart, working with some of my favourite people, and it’ll be incredibly satisfying to pick up where we left off four months ago and complete this music.

There are also some great opportunities available just now and there’s a superb one for young creatives I’d like to remind folks of because the deadline for applications is this Friday, July 24!

Fèis Rois is leading on a Highland Youth Arts Hub project, Creative in Your Community 2020, inviting young people up to age 25 to submit ideas for projects that involve one or more art forms, including music, dance, drama/theatre, digital/film, literature, and visual art/craft/design.

Eighteen young emerging artists from the Highland Council area will be awarded £1000 and will be supported and mentored to bring their projects to fruition. When I add that the professional mentors include Julie Fowlis for music and Anne MacLeod in writing, you may appreciate the calibre of the artistic leadership and scope of the opportunity on offer.

The application form is not onerous or long, so please encourage youngsters with creative ideas among your family and friends to apply – it could be a terrific springboard for their artistic practice and careers.

Applications can be completed on the Fèis Rois website, under their Projects / Partnerships tab, where you will find the Highland Youth Arts Hub information page. It’s a chance not to be missed!

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