Community Leisure UK ezine
September 2021
Activities for all the family from High Life Highland

05 Jul 2021

Explore Flora’s trail at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

For young people looking for holiday activities, the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (IMAG) has this week launched Flora’s Museum Explorer Trail. Families can pick up their Flora Museum Explorer Trail pack on arrival at IMAG in Castle Wynd, Inverness. The self-led trail invites participants to find Flora’s picture as they explore the museum, and to spot the fascinating ‘Flora Fact’ on a special label nearby, highlighting key museum objects including an enormous trebuchet ball and jolly face jug from Castle Street.

The trail is available during opening hours at IMAG (currently Tuesday to Saturday, 10 to 5pm). Due to the impact of the pandemic, booking is advisable for visits to IMAG, although it is not essential. However, there is a maximum capacity for the building, so booking ahead will ensure you are able to visit at the time you want.

More of Young Flora’s fascinating facts can be found on the hoardings surrounding Inverness Castle, a short walk from Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, as part of the information and imagery telling the story of the castle’s past, present and future. The hoardings are in place during the ongoing transformation of the Castle, giving people visiting the location an insight into the Highlands of the past, as well as providing a look into the future for Castle Hill.

Stories on the hoardings design include that of Flora MacDonald, subject of the famous statue installed in front of the castle around 120 years ago – and, of course, namesake of Young Flora! Highland residents and visitors alike are encouraged to visit, meet ‘Young Flora’ and learn about the history of Caste Hill as they walk around the area being transformed through the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands project.

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the city region deal. It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

Scottish Colourists come to Inverness Museum & Art Gallery

An exhibition of the Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection goes on display this weekend at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery.

The exhibition will include portrait, still life and landscape works by the Scottish Colourists SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter and FCB Cadell. They were some of the first artists in Europe to engage with the creative upheavals taking place in France at the turn of the twentieth century, which saw the birth of modern art. Hailed at the time as international radicals – equal to artists such as Matisse and Picasso – their work on show at Inverness Art Gallery reinforces their status as four of the most innovative artists in twentieth century British art.

The movement hit its prime during the early years of peace after World War One when Peploe and Cadell worked almost as one producing a stream of luminous still lifes, while Hunter established his reputation as a radical painter imbued with the spirit of Van Gogh and JD Fergusson produced joyous landscapes and innovative sculpture.

Although immersed in French cultural trends, the Colourists did not forget their Scottish roots especially in their brilliance at conveying the unique beauty of Scottish landscape, marking them out as French inspired artists with a singular Scottish identity.

James Knox, Director of the Fleming Collection said: “It is such a privilege to bring the Fleming Collection’s stand-out Scottish Colourists to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. The four Colourists were one of the most talented, experimental and distinct groups in 20th century British art, renowned during their heyday in the 1920s as masters of portraiture, landscape and still life. This exhibition reveals their concentrated brilliance reflected in their ability to produce challenging work of great beauty and delight."

Cathy Shankland Exhibitions Officer for High Life Highland said, “We are delighted to be working with the Fleming Collection, which is owned by The Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, to bring this wonderful selection of paintings to Inverness Museum and Art Gallery for the summer.”

Also opening in the Small Gallery at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery is an installation by Highland artist Lar MacGregor entitled ‘Susurrus.’’ The artist describes the work as ‘a gentle stroll ... with dementia, loss and separation through a series of abstracted sculptures.’ The centerpiece., ‘Leaf Litter,’ evokes the freedom of children playing in swathes of fallen leaves and the exhibition explores the shared experiences that have dominated our lives in a time of pandemic.

Both exhibitions open on Saturday 26th June and run until 28th August.

Young musicians ‘come home’ to encourage others to get involved in music

Two young musical high-fliers, originally from the Highlands visited Strathpeffer this week as part of an exciting collaboration between High Life Highland Instrumental Tuition Service and the Agar Trust.

Their ambition was to generate some excitement in music-making and to provide "sparks" of inspiration and energy amongst young people. They recorded a recital with High Life Highland’s Instrumental Instructors in Strathpeffer Pavilion, which will be circulated widely online soon, and also be delivered as workshops to children at Strathpeffer Primary.

Rachel Spence (21) is originally from the Black Isle. She currently studies viola at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she holds the Sir Elton John Scholarship. Rachel has appeared as a soloist at festivals including the London Strings Festival, has been principal viola of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, the Berlin Opera Academy, and Nevis Ensemble, and is an Ambassador for the Benedetti Foundation.

Rachel commented, “My earliest memory of performing was as a member of Black Isle Primary Strings, when I had just begun playing the viola. I think that performing alongside my peers from the very start of my musical journey was absolutely fundamental to how I have developed as a musician.”

Highlander, Neavan Lobban (21) who is originally from Inverness and is currently finishing his fourth year at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. While specialising in Saxophone, he is also singing with the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

During his studies he has travelled around Europe, including Serbia, Monaco and Germany; performed in the European Parliament building in Brussels and New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Neavan said, “My earliest musical memory was definitely with my primary school choir. Every year we performed at the Inverness Music Festival and developed a winning streak in our category, which made it all the more exciting!”

The Agar Trust helps to support talented young musicians from rural Scotland who travel to short courses in order to develop their skills further. This week it will also contribute to encouraging all youngsters to take the first step and try playing an instrument.

Janet Macdonald, Founder of the Agar Trust, said, “We’re really pleased to be able to support these two Agar Ambassadors to come back and take a role in encouraging our next generation of young musicians to give it a go. Singing, or playing a musical instrument is a lot of fun – so even if they’re not going to make a career from music, they should still have a shot and share in the joy that live music can bring.”

“We’re absolutely delighted to be working in collaboration with High Life Highland Instrumental Tuition Service, who have done such a fantastic job in sustaining music education throughout the pandemic across the Highlands. During these past 16 months, live musical performances have all but disappeared from public life and we hope these live and recorded sessions which include young musicians will remind everyone of the fun and engagement, the sense of shared experience, that music can bring.”

Norman Bolton, High Life Highland’s Music Development Officer said, “HLH is absolutely delighted to be working with the Agar Trust and it is so nice to see two of their Ambassadors ‘come home’ to encourage young people across the Highlands to get involved in music and pick up an instrument.

“The last year or so has been extremely challenging in terms of music tuition, but our instructors have really stepped up to the plate during the period and did all they could to ensure music tuition across the Highlands continued, even when we knew other areas of Scotland were cancelling theirs.

“It is great to see some level of normality returning by way of working with organisations like the Agar Trust as well as with individual like Rachel and Neavan.”

Photograph: Rachel Spence


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All weekly HR and finance meetings have been ceased. For more information about Special Interest Group and regional / national members meetings, please contact [email protected]
Regional Meetings
North East & Yorkshire Regional Meeting
14 September – 12:30pm
Wales Members' Meeting
14 September – TBC
North West England Regional Meeting
21 September – TBC
South East England Regional Meeting
23 September – TBC
Special Interest Groups
CLUK UK-wide Culture Special Interest Group
7 September – 1pm
Chairs and Trustees Special Interest Group (England & Wales)
8 September – 5pm
Swimming & Aquatics Special Interest Group (England & Wales)
15 September – 10:30am
Scotland Health Group
16 September – 2pm
Single Sites Special Interest Group (England & Wales)
22 September – 10:30am
Finance Special Interest Group (all nations)
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