Sep 4, 2023

The University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) have decided, at very short notice and with no consultation, that they are not confident about running the NC Art and Design course in Taigh Chearsabhagh this year. After some hiatus in the last few days it has been agreed that a truncated course for one semester will run this autumn and winter. 

On their website UHI state that they are:

proudly rooted in the culture, location, and landscapes of the North and West Highlands, Skye, and Outer Hebrides, we are connecting our rural and island communities and delivering relevant and distinctive learning and research opportunities shaped by their needs and ambitions.

The presence of Taigh Chearsabhagh for the last 30 years and the co-location of the art courses delivered there has been a vital focus for shaping and developing a significant and thriving community of artists and people interested in the visual arts in North Uist.  It could be said that the presence of UHI in TC has delivered and is continuing to deliver relevant distinctive learning that is shaped by the needs and ambitions of the local community. 

Many of you will have had direct experience with either the NC or degree courses, or even from some of the short courses delivered as part of the modules within the overall course.

The NC course acts as an important stepping stone for local school leavers, many of whom have gone on to study art further and create successful careers and working lives in the creative industries, and it also is a great introduction for returning learners both locally and as a draw to encourage people to move to Uist. The NC course also acts as an important feeder into the successful BA course which has also lead onto Masters and other research opportunities. There is high a risk that if the NC course is discontinued it will jeopardise the potential for UHI to be able to deliver the BA or other Higher Education Art from Taigh Chearsabhagh

We think it is important that as many people as possible voice their support for the continuing presence of the NC course in Uist, and so suggest that if you feel this way you should write to say so to demonstrate the importance of retaining an active face to face art and design education in North Uist both at FE and HE level, and to let UHI understand the impact of their presence on the local culture, community and economy of Uist.

Suggestions of things you could  include: 

  • include your personal involvement if relevant, or did a family member or friend study there? what was your personal takeaway from it? 
  • why did you study on it – were you already living in Uist, or did you move to Uist because of it? 
  • would you recommend it? if so how and why? 
  • If you did not study on it, but are a practicing artist, or working in the creative industries in Uist, how does the presence of the art courses impact on your decisions, practice and life in Uist. 

please forward this on to anyone you think might want to contribute, or be interested, please feel free to talk about it on social media. 

There is some level of urgency required to let UHI know and understand the importance of these courses and to understand the impact of their presence on the local population and economy of Uist. 

Below is a list of people it might be useful to send your thoughts to: 


Local councillors – North Uist – Benbecula and South Uist and Barra

Mustapha Hocine

Uisdean Robertson

Iain M Macleod

Paul F Steele

Susan G Thomson


Your MSP

Alasdair Allan


UHI North West and Hebrides 

Principal – Lydia Romer 

Chair of Board – Derek Lewis

Vice Principle – Hannah Richie-Muir

Vice Principal – Debbie Miller

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