Nairn Book & Arts Festival supports students with online placements

Nairn Book & Arts Festival has run a series of virtual placements for students at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) this year, helping to support Scotland’s next generation of creative practitioners.

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Gary Groves, creative writing student at Moray College UHI

Between February and April of this year, Nairn Book and Arts Festival committee members worked closely with third-year students to develop their creative skills and work towards delivering a self-directed project.

Due to Covid-19, all the placements were run entirely online, with committee members meeting with students via Zoom once a fortnight to review progress and help the students achieve their project goals.

Each student was given a brief loosely connected to the 2021 festival’s environmental theme, ‘Close to Nature’s Heart’, with an emphasis on collaboration, community-engagement and the use of upcycled materials.

The projects were remarkable for their formal diversity and highly original take on the festival theme, a reflection of the depth and breadth of each student’s creativity and sensitivity to environmental issues.

There were three virtual placements on offer to students focused on in art and design, creative writing, and drama and performance. Moray College UHI student, Gary Groves, benefited from the creative writing placement opportunity where he worked closely with committee member and award-winning short story writer Sean Lusk to develop a piece of work connecting the history of Nairn with the festival’s environmental theme.

Gary said:

"Having Sean to provide feedback and guidance has been an indispensable part of the placement and his advice kept me on track and focussed. Sean’s frank accounts of his own experiences in writing and getting published have provided me much food for thought regarding my own possible career. He has highlighted a few opportunities as well as pointing out a few pitfalls, and his input and experience have been a core part of what has made this placement so rewarding. My experience on the placement so far has been amazing and I’m looking forward to the start of the festival in September."

Read Gary’s text, a reflective non-fiction piece about the hidden halls of Downie Hill.

Press release by Nairn Book & Arts Festival,