Do you care about arts and culture in Lochaber?
If you live in the area and have a spare 15 minutes, I’d really appreciate your help completing this short survey.
Here's the link: https://uhi.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/arts-culture-lochaber
The study is part of my MA in Art and Social Practice at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Could an Arts Centre be of benefit to such an extensive, rural region?
Do we need to make a home for the Arts in Lochaber?
The region of Lochaber (population c.20,000) spans a huge geographical area, centred on Fort William but including many remote rural communities ranging from Invergarry to the Small Isles, Morvern, Ardnamurchan, Kinlochleven and Ballachulish.
Public engagement in cultural activities occurs locally via village halls, leisure centres, and a number of arts-based organisations. There is no existing physical centre dedicated to the development of multi-disciplinary arts, serving the wider community of Lochaber. Local arts professionals have expressed frustration at the lack of co-ordinated facilities for theatre, visual arts, performances and workshops.
I have lived in Lochaber for over 10 years, and have more than 20 years experience working in participatory arts, including being on the management committee of an arts centre, and working for, and organising, community arts festivals. As part of the “Research Skills and Methods” module on my Masters Course, I have the opportunity to undertake a small research project. I would like this to generate some useful information for the region where I have made my home.
I am interested to find out more about the levels of public participation in arts and cultural activities in Lochaber, especially bearing in mind the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. I would also like to investigate how opportunities for involvement in arts and cultural activity can affect people’s wellbeing, quality of life and attitude to a place. I hope to identify some of the challenges and issues that may be faced by an arts centre serving a rural, dispersed population. Fundamentally, I hope that my study may shed light on the question of whether the region would benefit from an arts centre.
I am inviting members of the public to take part in an online survey, asking for their views on the subject. I will also be interviewing a small number of individuals with specialist knowledge of this subject. Along with the surveys and interviews described above, I will also be doing desk-based research to source background information on the region, issues relating to public participation in arts and cultural activities, and comparable situations elsewhere.
For more information on this study you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Durbin is an artist, beekeeper and small-scale homesteader, based on the West Coast of Scotland since 2010.