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‘Beatrice Works’ Family Day - 13th July 2013

8th July 2013

Photograph of ‘Beatrice Works’ Family Day - 13th July 2013

Part of the ‘Beatrice Works’ Education Programme
May-August 2013
Beatrice Works Family Day 13th July
Caithness Horizons, Old Town Hall, Thurso
Admission FREE

A host of professional experts will ensure Caithness Horizons has something for everyone this Saturday. Their ‘Beatrice Works’ Family Day on 13th July is open to people of all ages, offering an unusual mix of free activities connected by the broad theme of renewable energy. The day is part of an education programme to complement Caithness Horizons’ main summer art exhibition, ‘Beatrice Works’ by Sue Jane Taylor, which will run until 22nd August when it moves on to Aberdeen, Orkney and Kirkaldy.

Christine Gunn, Caithness Horizons’ education and community officer is keen to stress the variety of activities people can get involved in, as well as the intention behind them.
‘We spent May and June with artist Sue Jane Taylor and Science Technology Engineering and Maths [STEM] ambassador, Pat Kieran, taking school pupils in Caithness and North Sutherland through a unique process, demonstrating the important complementary relationship between Art and Science. This has resulted in a colourful exhibition in our Gallery Café and surrounding corridors until the end of July. We’re calling it ‘Art in Engineering’, and it mirrors the work done in her own exhibition by Sue Jane Taylor.

Our Family Day is designed to broaden the reach of the Beatrice Works education project to include everyone in the community.’ Although some activities will be pitched more for younger participants, Horizons is keen to encourage a ‘come-and-try’ mentality.

‘If Art was your thing at school and you’re already competent there, maybe you could come and learn something about electricity generation, marine renewable devices, or about the critters that live in the sea. On the other hand, if you’ve got a PhD in electrical engineering, you might find a morning spent print-making with Sue Jane Taylor will expand your horizons even wider.’

During the day, co-ordinator of Caithness STEM ambassadors, Pat Kieran, will be showing how to create a model wind turbine using high-tech materials such as plastic bottles and a hair-dryer. Barbara Bremner explains how she and her colleagues from the Environmental Research Institute [ERI], UHI will provide an introduction to marine and intertidal life (rocky shores) looking at how sea creatures move and eat.

‘ERI will have touch tanks with intertidal animals. We’ll show barnacles or other filter feeders under the microscope, and we’ll have rocky shore-related activities such as a habitat game, a word search, colouring, and skates & rays craft work. We’ll aim primarily for families and children up to about S2, but all are welcome. We will also run a presentation on our laptop showing local marine life and how we carry out research.’
Sue Jane Taylor will be upstairs in the gallery with a portable printing press. She will take a limited number of participants through a speeded up version of what the school pupils did to produce prints for ‘Art in Engineering’.

‘People can come and learn one aspect of print-making in a very short time. The work in the children’s exhibition was done using a relief process, and produced great results.
‘We took a decision not to ask people to book for these activities, as that would limit the number of people who can benefit from the full range of expertise in the building for the day. Activities are free, and we want people to mix-and-match – to move around the different personnel stationed around the building and spend a short time with everyone. I’ll be offering a print-making taster rather than a full workshop, and the point is as much to talk to the other groups to find out more about what renewables might mean for Caithness.’

Some of the funding for the project has come from the Scottish Government ‘Talking Science’ scheme, which aims to make Science more accessible to people who may not traditionally think of it as something relevant to them. Renewable technology is already having a big influence on shaping economic planning decisions in Caithness, and Caithness Horizons is keen to engage with the future as well as with the past of Caithness’s story.

Christine Gunn: ‘Museums are no longer fusty buildings with exhibits gathering dust. Our beautiful art gallery is a fantastic resource to display work, and we’re very proud of how ‘Beatrice Works’ looks on its walls. Even more important, however, is the impact art can have with its capacity to interpret complex ideas and issues. Renewable technology provokes strong reactions, both for and against its deployment.

Our education programme attempts to side-step these emotive reactions and to do instead what scientists, artists and engineers are good at – looking closely at observed reality, describing what they see, and finding solutions to problems.

As carbon fossil fuels deplete, global energy production will be a challenge into the future. That has to be something the cultural community as well as the scientific community has an interest in locally as well as globally, and Caithness has a part to play in that.’
Pelamis Wave Power, Meygen and Moray Offshore Renewables are three companies who will be among renewables developers with a presence. Caithness Horizons contacted a wide range of renewables developers and engineering companies during development of the ‘Beatrice Works’ education programme. Any company who came forward to participate in the family day was welcomed. Laura Carse from Pelamis Wave Power and Craig Milroy from EDP Renewables [one of two companies that comprise Moray Offshore Renewables] have already contributed to a project information day in May, when they, along with Alan Ogg from North highland College’s Engineering Technology & Energy Centre [ETEC] and directors from JGC Engineering, spoke to pupils from Thurso and Farr High schools.

Guy Newson from Meygen will join Ms Carse and Mr Milroy in the gallery while the print-making is in process. Sue Jane Taylor explains:‘My art doesn’t come out of the blue. During the work now on show in Caithness Horizons I spent a lot of time talking to workers and developers involved in renewables, trying to understand what’s going on. ‘Beatrice Works’ is my interpretation of what I saw and heard, based on that research process. This family day will give the general public an opportunity to do some of their own research.’

Funding for the project has been provided by the Scottish Government, the Highland Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, STEM North of Scotland, Scottish and Southern Energy [SSE], the Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College UHI, the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Beatrice Works Family Day
Caithness Horizons, Old Town Hall, Thurso
Admission FREE

Tel. 01847 896508 E-mail: info[AT]

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