May 252017
 

Scott Findlay, Managing Director at CFF Contractors who have been awarded a £1.4m contract.

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Local developer LOJJ Scotland has awarded a £1.4 million contract for the development of Loch Street property to local firm CFF Contractors.
The 30 bedroom student accommodation development is due for completion this year and will provide much needed accommodation in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.

LOJJ Scotland who have a number of other developments in the area is run by Aberdeen local Alana Stott who is passionate about supporting the local economy and fellow businesses.

Alana said:

“Having worked with CFF Contractors previously we are delighted to award them this contract; knowing their workmanship and reliability made choosing them an easy decision”.

Scott Findlay, Managing Director at CFF Contractors said:

“it’s a pleasure to be working with LOJJ Scotland on this exciting project”

“Aberdeen has seen more than its fair share of challenges recently so it’s great to see new developments taking place which will have a positive impact on the city and surrounding areas.”

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Apr 282017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Construction work has begun on a £16 million student accommodation development in Aberdeen.
Focused on sustainability and technology this next generation of student accommodation will meet the needs of the newest university generation.

The development, is located on the former tyre depot at the corner of Willowbank Road and Hardgate, will serve both Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Aberdeen, benefiting from good public transport links and close proximity to the city centre.

Carlisle-based Northern Developments has started work on a 222 en-suite student bedroom scheme which received planning consent in 2016.

Northern Developments has delivered more than 1,000 student beds across the North of England and bring 32 years’ experience in design and build delivery. This experience is reflected in the focus on sustainability of the building and ensuring that the experience of the students living in it will be of the highest quality.

Aberdeenshire sub-contractor Andrew Cowie Ltd has started groundworks on the site and the project will be complete in the summer of 2018 for September arrivals.

Eddie Ward, commercial manager for Northern Developments, said:

“We are very pleased to have started work on the Willowbank Road site and look forward to delivering this exciting development.

“It will meet the demands of modern student living in every respect and will be very appealing to the millennial generation who quite rightly expect high standards and the latest technology to suit their technological and educational needs.

“As a business we strive to use a local supply chain to both deliver the best in class development but to also support a local economy such as that in Aberdeen.”

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Feb 022017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Hall Morrice employee Andrew Laurie, who received the Ronald Ison Medal for the candidate with the highest mark in the Taxation of Individuals paper

An Aberdeen-based accountant has emerged as the top-scoring student in a national Chartered Institute of Taxation exam.
Andrew Laurie from independent firm Hall Morrice LLP was awarded the Ronald Ison Medal for the candidate with the highest mark in the Taxation of Individuals paper – an exam that he hopes will eventually help him achieve Chartered Taxation Advisor (CTA) status.

Andrew (30) was one of over 200 candidates from around the UK to pass the exam, and did so with distinction.

He has previously passed all his CTA exams at the first attempt, and will sit his final test in May.

He joined Hall Morrice as a graduate trainee in the audit and accounts team and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (CA) with the support of the firm. Director of tax Stuart Watson saw that he had a natural aptitude for the subject, and Andrew joined the tax department over three years ago.

Andrew, who is employed as a senior tax analyst with Hall Morrice, says,

“With Stuart’s encouragement, I decided to study for my CTA qualification and was delighted when the firm provided a study package to help me achieve this.

“I had hoped that I had performed well in the exam, but to learn that I had passed with the highest mark on the paper came as a real surprise. I’m very pleased as it was the result of a lot of studying, but more than that shows the effort that Hall Morrice has made in training me and mentoring me over the years.”

Students studying towards the CA qualification sit a paper which covers taxation, but at a relatively basic level compared to the knowledge required for the CTA exams. CTA is seen as the gold standard for advisors and is absolutely essential for anyone wishing to specialise at a high level in taxation.

Hall Morrice, which employs around 50 members of staff, has a long and successful track record as a training firm, and consistently develops graduates to very high levels. It has invested heavily in bespoke training programmes aimed at improving the learning process for its graduates, and the approach has seen exam pass rates soar.

Last year, the firm was shortlisted in two categories in Scotland’s Employer of the Year Awards in recognition of its efforts to develop staff and invest in young people. Hall Morrice accepts new graduates every year, and is also committed to offering placements to accountancy students.

Stuart, who has worked in taxation for over 40 years says,

“We are immensely proud of Andrew’s achievement. To perform better than any other CTA student in the country underlines not only how hard he has worked on his studies, but also the opportunities that he has had to put his learning into practice in his day to day role here at Hall Morrice.

“As the tax department is relatively small, our team has to be able to advise on a wide range of tax issues and not specialise in any one particular area. Andrew covers the whole scope of our service provision, from personal taxation and tax returns to share valuations and tax planning.

“It has always been the firm’s aim to recruit the best and in terms of technical ability, Andrew’s success in this paper has shown that he has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Founded in 1976, Hall Morrice is one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants and has offices in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh. Based at 6 and 7 Queens Terrace in Aberdeen, Hall Morrice can be contacted on 01224 647394 or at accounts@hallmorrice.co.uk

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Jun 032016
 

By Suzanne Kelly. Photos courtesy of Pirate Photography Aberdeen.

Egle2This year’s Gray’s School of Art Graduate Fashion Show lived up to expectations and in some areas exceeded them. The wide variety of designs on show, the craftsmanship, the wide range of inspirations all made this another memorable fashion event for the school.

Salmena Carvalho , Fashion & Textile Lecturer / Fashion Show Curator said:

“Our graduate fashion show is a great opportunity for our students to showcase their final year collections to an external audience. This year we presented a variety of work ranging from womenswear, menswear, knit, print and mixed media. It is always an exciting time for us as we are able to collaborate with other creatives for this annual event. “

It is difficult to pick out favourite pieces or designers from such a large field, but here in their own words are some of the designers, with a few comments from me.

Nicole Ferry – Corruption.

Nicole Ferry“My collection explores the current negative affairs in society and visual attributes which connect with this theme. From politics to riots, my collection aims to convey the extent of negativity in our everyday lives.

“Gray’s graduate fashion show was a complete success. Finishing my university journey on a high.

“Myself and fellow students are incredibly proud of the collections we produced and the blood, sweat and tears was definitely worth it when viewing your garments on the catwalk. “

Nicole brought us a futuristic vision in a collection which echoed social unrest and pending problems throughout – whether directly by slogans written on clothing or via clothes geared to obstruct your face, which I found food for thought in a world where surveillance and social activism are increasing.

Natalie Anderson said:

Natalie Anderson“The graduate fashion show is a great way to unveil our creations. There is a massive amount of planning and organising that our tutor Salmena undertakes in order to make it a success for us students.

“It was great to see it all set up and everything taking place.

“Everything is done with precision from the picking of the models to deciding the music for each individual catwalk collection.

“The running of the show went smoothly and was a great achievement for all involved. “

Natalie made several stunning pieces; a luxurious black coat with very interesting textures in the nape of the fabric was far more stunning than any real fur piece could ever be.

It was both echoing dramatic costumes of the past (I thought of a full-length portrait by Holbein of Christina of Denmark) and pointing to the future with its clean lines, flow and interesting textures.

April Hay commented on her work:

april hay“My collection is the result of a relationship I built between textile design and mineralogy.

“I believe very strongly that design and science go hand in hand and hope my work sets an example of how a cross disciplinary project could work between them.

“Working with The National Museum of Scotland enabled me to materialise a body of visual and mental research into mineral specimens whilst the facilities at Gray’s School of Art were used to create the garments and textile pieces.

“Photography, photoshop manipulation and digital print are the techniques used in my collection. “

Lisa Campbell helped organise the show; I’d seen the progress of her stunning work when I was taking an introductory course at Gray’s. The striking use of origami principles mixed with Op Art has created stunning, unique fashions.

Lisa CampbellShe says:

“The Fashion Show weekend was an exhilarating experience and I can’t quite believe that it’s all over.

“There was a huge buzz of excitement during both shows, seeing everyones collections finally come together and all the hard work finally paying off.

“We have received a lot of positive feedback following the fashion show.

“As a member of the fashion show committee it is particularly rewarding to see all the elements that I have helped organise come together to showcase the work of the class.”

Egle Mazeikaite had a very elegant and extremely feminine collection; Egle explained:

“The starting point for this collection was femininity and ways of expressing it through contemporary fashion. The focus is on the concept of envelopes being an enclosing structure which contains something personal – in this case the idea of femininity.

“Using the conceptual aspects of an envelope (such as triangular overlapping shapes and the shiny strip representing the glue strip which secures an envelope and conceals its contents) the pieces in my final year collection enclose a personal message, trying to find the balance between the feminine and masculine, containing the delicacy of colour in an enclosing structure and expressing the nature of a modern woman.

“My work is feminine and carries a personal message, encouraging the wearer to be empathetic and vulnerable in order to be in touch with her femininity.”

While I wish there were space for every artist and designer’s work here; finally we have Mhairi Buchanan who explained her work:

mhairi buchanan“Decomposition and Decay, my Fashion and Textile collection has been inspired by the decay of florals. Beauty is highly desirable in this day and age.

“I feel that we are too quick to discard items because they could be a little past their sell by date. My collection is digital images of dying flowers, that have been manipulated into arrangements to revive them, and make them beautiful again.

“With this in mind, I have created textiles that are embroidered with layers of digitally printed flowers. The skirts and tops have been designed with the idea that they can be worn at any occasion. Although they may look like ball gown attire, they are versatile and could be used as separates for any event.”

It’s quite a challenge for next year’s graduating class to equal this work; and we’ll see what they do, and where these talented designers will go – great things are expected of them all.

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Jan 102014
 

Three Aberdeen students studying at Robert Gordon University are hoping to make the cut and compete in the 19th Annual Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race, Scotland’s equivalent of the Oxford Cambridge boat race, in March. With thanks to Jennifer Kelly, Tricker PR.

COMPRESSED Christie DuffAberdeen students Christie Duff (19), Iona Riley (21) and Lewis McCue (18) are all eager to be a part of the 19th Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race.

The event will see the University of Aberdeen go head to head with the Robert Gordon University on Saturday 1st March.

Despite having career ambitions outside of sport, the three hopefuls would all love to take their rowing careers to the next level having attended the World Championships and even trialled for the Great British rowing team in 2013.

Christie, who studies Architecture, says:

“2013 was a fantastic year for me. Being able to witness such significant UK rowing events will stay with me for many years to come.  

“I first started rowing in secondary school after spending my youth doing gymnastics and trampolining.  These sports gave me a solid foundation and understanding that strict, controlled training often secures great results.  

“My proudest achievement in rowing so far is winning at the Henley Royal Regatta, and I would love to be selected to compete in the 2014 Boat Race team.”

Applied Sport and Exercise Science student Iona also began with another sport, in her case netball, before turning her hand to rowing.

A Silver Medal winner at the World Under 23 Rowing Championships, she says:

“When I was in Primary 7 my teacher took the class down to the river to try rowing.  I was hooked from there and have been on the water ever since.

“To encourage other young enthusiasts, I coach at every available opportunity.  It can be difficult to balance studying with coaching but it’s just so rewarding that I can’t give it up.”

For Sports Science student Lewis, there is a history of rowing in his family. He says:

“My grandfather rowed for Oxford in the Boat Race, so it would be fantastic to carry on the family tradition and represent Robert Gordon University in the Aberdeen Boat Race.  Sometimes it’s difficult to keep university work and rowing both up to scratch, but it’s all about learning that balancing act.”

COMPRESSED Iona RileyThe final crews will be selected in early 2014 by each team president – Robert Gordon University Boat Club’s (RGUBC) Gillian Paterson and Aberdeen University Boat Club’s (AUBC) Lauren Cammaert – who will look at performance, ability and determination of potential team members when making their decisions.

To prepare for the March race, both clubs have already undergone months of gruelling training, including 6a.m. starts on the river.

Each of the 16 rowers will take just under 300 strokes in the course of the 3.5km race and, along with the crew coxes, will push their physical and mental endurance to the limit.  The race stretches along the River Dee in Aberdeen, from the Bridge of Dee to the Aberdeen Boat Club and in 2013 (RGUBC) won the race against (AUBC) by two and a half lengths in a time of 8 minutes and 18 seconds.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, comments:

“The University boat club presidents have a difficult job ahead of them, with a number of talented individuals in both clubs vying to compete in what is Scotland’s oldest and possibly most fiercely competitive boat race.

“Aberdeen Asset Management continues to show its dedication to fostering young talent, and we hope that the 2014 Boat Race will inspire more future athletes to take up rowing.”

You can follow the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace or on Twitter at  @2014BoatRace.

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Nov 222012
 

Aberdeen students protest in London over education funding and youth unemployment. With thanks to Xander Brouwer. 

Aberdeen students joined over a thousand others from Scotland and tens of thousands from across the UK on the National Union of Students’ demonstration in London on Wednesday. They made the 24-hour, thousand-mile round trip to campaign against the impact of government policy and its lack of opportunities for students and graduates.

Anne-Claire Deseilligny, President of Aberdeen University Students’ Association, said:

“Today, many students will make the long journey from Aberdeen to march with others from across the UK and make a stand against disastrous decisions by the Westminster government, decisions felt right across the UK.

“While Holyrood can do more in many areas, you don’t have to look far to see that some of the biggest impacts being felt by students can be traced back to Westminster.  

“There is a crisis in youth unemployment, huge fees for RUK students, colleges losing their ability to recruit international students and the continued attempts to turn UK education into a market. All these are problems created by Westminster and need, ultimately, to be fixed by Westminster.

“We’ll be marching beside students from across the UK to make the point to the Westminster government that students and young people deserve better. They need to urgently reconsider their discredited austerity measures or risk consigning a generation to the scrapheap.

“They need to recognise that education and employment are the solution to a better economy, not something to put up barriers to, or shut people out of.”   

 For more information see: http://www.demo2012.org.uk/

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Mar 292012
 

With thanks to Kylie Roux.

THE OBSIDIAN ISLE – Gayle Chong Kwan

The Obsidian Isle is a significant new body of work from Venice Biennale exhibitor Gayle Chong Kwan. The installation of large-format photographs & sculptures documents a fictional island located off the west coast of Scotland, on which reside one country’s lost and destroyed buildings and places.
The Obsidian Isle explores ideas of collective history, national identity, landscape, and tourism through the prism of the senses and the distortion of memories.

Exhibitions runs 24 March – 5 May 2012 

KIN – Gray’s pre-degree show

KIN is an exhibition by Gray’s School of Art’s BA Hons printmaking students.
The exhibition gives an exciting insight into a great variety of different approaches to print and printmaking and showcases a diverse range of works made in preparation for the students’ degree show later in the year. So come along to support the students and see the artistic talents of tomorrow.

Preview Night Friday 23 March | 6 – 8pm | all welcome!
Exhibitions runs 24 March – 5 May 2012

BIG JESSIE – Donald Urquhart

Drag queen turned draughtsman, Donald Urquhart presents Big Jessie, a selection of bold, new hand printed works in his distinctive cartoon-like black ink style, created at Peacock Visual Arts.

To be shown at The Brunswick Hotel, Merchant City, Glasgow.

Preview Thursday 26 April |Brutti Ma Buoni,
The Brunswick Hotel, Merchant City, Glasgow | 7pm – late
 Exhibition runs 27 April – 27 May 2012

TEMPORARY ART SCHOOL – Poets in the City Workshop + Meet-up

The Temporary Art School is a one month live project happening throughout the city of Aberdeen in March 2012. TAS was devised by a group of people living and working in both Aberdeen and Glasgow who have come together to put on classes and workshops for all which experiment with what an art school can be and continue in a long tradition of self-organised education.

This Friday Poet Gerard Rochford will be giving a new workshop on the word whether it be spoken, written or sprawled in the streets. Please bring along a poem of two which you have written you would like someone to have a look at it and if you have never written one, in Gerard’s words ‘by the end you will have.’ email atemporaryartschool@gmail.com to reserve a space.

Friday 16 March | 5-9pm

ABERDUINO – Electronic Jiggery-pokery

Aberdeen’s own electronic tinkerers and artist’s hackerspace will be running on the second or third Tuesday of every month from now on – so put the date above in your digi-diary.

Come along if you’re interested in micro-controllers, soldering irons, circuit bending, electronic jiggery-pokery and chin scratching.

Tuesday 17 April | 6.30 – 8.30pm | FREE
*Note – The event is FREE but call us on 01224 639539 to let us know if you’re coming along.

RELIEF PRINTING WEEKEND WORKSHOP – Beginners

Come along to try out the oldest form of printmaking. No experience necessary.

Saturday 7 + Sunday 8 April | 10 – 4.30pm | £130/95 conc. 

ETCHING WEEKEND WORKSHOP – Beginners

Learn the techniques and processes involved in the traditional art of etching. No experience necessary.

Saturday 21 + Sunday 22 April | 10 – 4.30pm | £130/95 conc. 

GET ANIMATED AT PEACOCK

Ever wondered how Wallace and Gromit move? Well book onto our animation workshops to find out.

Throughout April, July, August & October | 10 – 4pm | age 10 + | £35 

Call 01224 639539 for more information and to book a place on any of our courses.

Mar 152012
 

With thanks to Kylie Roux.

THE OBSIDIAN ISLE – Gayle Chong Kwan

The Obsidian Isle is a significant new body of work from Venice Biennale exhibitor Gayle Chong Kwan. The installation of large-format photographs & sculptures documents a fictional island located off the west coast of Scotland, on which reside one country’s lost and destroyed buildings and places.
The Obsidian Isle explores ideas of collective history, national identity, landscape, and tourism through the prism of the senses and the distortion of memories.

 Preview Night Friday 23 March | 6 – 8pm | all welcome!
 Exhibitions runs 24 March – 5 May 2012 

Event – Gayle Chong Kwan in Conversation

Gayle Chong Kwan in conversation with Dr Dominic Patterson, a lecturer in modern and contemporary art and theory at the University of Glasgow. To reserve your place please email sarah@peacockvisualarts.co.uk or call 01224 639539.

Saturday 24 March | PVA | 3 – 4pm | FREE  

KIN – Gray’s pre-degree show

KIN is an exhibition by Gray’s School of Art’s BA Hons printmaking students.
The exhibition gives an exciting insight into a great variety of different approaches to print and printmaking and showcases a diverse range of works made in preparation for the students’ degree show later in the year. So come along to support the students and see the artistic talents of tomorrow.

Preview Night Friday 23 March | 6 – 8pm | all welcome!
Exhibitions runs 24 March – 5 May 2012

TEMPORARY ART SCHOOL – Poets in the City Workshop + Meet-up

The Temporary Art School is a one month live project happening throughout the city of Aberdeen in March 2012. TAS was devised by a group of people living and working in both Aberdeen and Glasgow who have come together to put on classes and workshops for all which experiment with what an art school can be and continue in a long tradition of self-organised education.

This Friday Poet Gerard Rochford will be giving a new workshop on the word whether it be spoken, written or sprawled in the streets. Please bring along a poem of two which you have written you would like someone to have a look at it and if you have never written one, in Gerard’s words ‘by the end you will have.’ email atemporaryartschool@gmail.com to reserve a space.

Friday 16 March | 5-9pm

ABERDUINO – Electronic Jiggery-pokery

Aberdeen’s own electronic tinkerers and artist’s hackerspace will be running on the second or third Tuesday of every month from now on – so put the date above in your digi-diary.

Come along if you’re interested in micro-controllers, soldering irons, circuit bending, electronic jiggery-pokery and chin scratching.

Tuesday 17 April | 6.30 – 8.30pm | FREE
*Note – The event is FREE but call us on 01224 639539 to let us know if you’re coming along.

RELIEF PRINTING WEEKEND WORKSHOP – Beginners

Come along to try out the oldest form of printmaking. No experience necessary.

Saturday 7 + Sunday 8 April | 10 – 4.30pm | £130/95 conc. 

ETCHING WEEKEND WORKSHOP – Beginners

Learn the techniques and processes involved in the traditional art of etching. No experience necessary.

Saturday 21 + Sunday 22 April | 10 – 4.30pm | £130/95 conc. 

GET ANIMATED AT PEACOCK

Ever wondered how Wallace and Gromit move? Well book onto our animation workshops to find out.

Throughout April, July, August & October | 10 – 4pm | age 10 + | £35 

Call 01224 639539 for more information and to book a place on any of our courses.

Feb 212012
 

With an armful of flyers promoting various pro ‘Retain Union Terrace Gardens’ groups, Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly headed to the first of two ‘pizza parties’ thrown by the secretive ‘Vote For The City Gardens Project’ group.   Suzanne was  unable to give away more than four flyers – because less than a half dozen students turned  up to hear the pro CGP message.

If the promise of free food to students isn’t enough to lure more than 5 or 6 people, things are looking bleak for the VFTCGP, and bleaker still for PR agency, BIG Partnership.
VftCGP, on their official Facebook page, announced last week there would be two ‘free pizza!’ events thrown for students; a free pizza dinner was theirs and all they had to do was show up to hear a pro-City Garden Project lecturer – Paul Robertson.
At first most FB readers assumed this was a spoof thrown by the ‘Retain UTG’ groups – but no, this was actually someone’s idea of a vote-winner.

We all know the proverb about the incompetent who can’t even arrange a drinking session in a brewery; but I was unprepared for what must be the biggest non-event in history.

The Facebook invitations simply read:

“Free Pizza And Information Night! Come join us for free pizza and a chat with Paul Robertson about the City Garden Project on Monday 20th February, between 6pm and 7pm at the RGU: Union”.

Thinking back to my RGU course days, I thought a.  how insulted I would be at someone blatantly trying to buy my opinion – with pizza no less, and b.  how often I could have found a free meal very handy indeed.  This event would be packed.  The invites were also sent to staff and students.  I thought of a massive collective of outsiders and RGU students and staff competing for quickly-disappearing ‘American Hots’ and ‘Hawaiians’ before a slick presentation from BIG.

BIG must be making a huge amount of money from the referendum – it is doing some if not all of the official City Gardens Project group’s PR, as well as work for the ‘Vote for the City Gardens Project’ group.  This last group, VftCGP is allowed to spend and write whatever it wants without any external controls.

They were behind the A3 glossy colour brochure filled with ‘concept’ drawings in lurid pastel colours (or ‘vibrant and dynamic’ colours – depending on your outlook); these brochures were delivered not only to city voters, but also to shire non-voters.   Perhaps this was the first sign of many mistakes and gaffes to come?

I arrived late; it was 5:50pm.  Had I missed the free pizza? 

Would I get through the crowds?  Would I be admitted?  I went to the RGU Union reception desk, and was told the event was really only for RGU students.

“How many are already signed in?”  I asked.

“You’re the first one.”  came the reply.

It was explained that I needed to be signed in by a RGU Union member.  A tumbleweed rolled by.

Eventually a man arrived who explained he’d received the invitation which said nothing about it being only for students.  Is it possible that BIG didn’t get all the little details right – like who should be allowed in?  It seemed so.  The reception desk got in touch with someone – presumably the organisers and we were allowed to attend the event.  It was almost 6pm.

  A sea of empty chairs and a few sofas greeted our eyes.  We were the first two arrivals.

My friend and I went to the designated area.  The song by The Specials, ‘Ghost Town’ went through my mind.  Two students played pool further off.  A man tended the food/drink area. Three BIG PR  professionals (who looked like students to me) were fumbling with a screen, a laptop and a projector.

There was me and my new friend, who if possible was even more against the concept of building ramps over UTG than I was.

A sea of empty chairs and a few sofas greeted our eyes.  We were the first two arrivals. We sat in the back of 8 or 9 rows; the chairs of which had all been covered with a copy of The Granite Web newspaper, and a fetching postcard of the concept drawing captioned “Wish You Were Here?”.  It crossed my mind the organisers must have wished people were here, too.   But no one was.

My new friend explained to me his position against the CGP.  He had attended a meeting in the days of the consultation; Sir Ian Wood had addressed a group of Health & Social Sciences faculty and staff at the Garthdee campus.  My friend said:-

“I was there all that time ago, and Sir Ian Wood told a group of about 24 of us that if the consultation showed that people didn’t want the gardens developed, then he would walk away.  He walked away all right – and came back.” 

My new friend was not happy.

“I know people have their own opinions about what should happen to Union Terrace Gardens,” he said; “but I object to PR people muddying the waters.  Instead of corporate BS we need facts and honest debate.”

It was approximately 10 minutes after 6.  It was three people fumbling with technology, and my friend and I at the back.  Had any PR professionals come over to introduce themselves?  Welcome us?  Offer out any pizza?  No.

But what was this?  Two male students showed up.  They looked at eachother, then at the empty seats.  They sat in the front row.  As they didn’t seem to have been made welcome by the professional BIG team, I wandered over.

“I can’t buy you any pizza,” I explained; “and I can’t afford any print or radio commercials.  However, I’d like to offer you some literature just so you can see the other side to the coin.”

“I’m a social work student, and I’m not in favour of this plan.” one of them said.  He spoke about money, and seemed to know quite a bit about this nebulous scheme.

They took my literature.  One of the PR bods – a woman with dark hair, watched this little exchange between the student and I, and looked for all the world as if cold water had been poured on her.  It  kind of had.

It was 6.15 now.  There had been no welcome to the visitors.  There was no presentation ready to roll. 

There was a Lady Gaga video playing over the pool table which made as much architectural sense as the Granite Web newspapers thay lay unread and unwanted on the empty chairs.  And – there was no pizza.

What was that?  Three more people had arrived.  I repeated the procedure and gave them flyers too.  It seemed that was all they were going to get.

“Does anyone know how to work presentations?” one of the BIG  crew asked.  Answer came there none.

My friend admitted to me he knew all the ins and outs, as did I.  But by now things were getting poignant, and moved by pity for the fumbling threesome, I simply had to leave.

I made my farewells to my new friend, who promised to call me if anything exciting happened, if the numbers swelled, or if the pizza showed up.  I do not expect to hear from him.

“I went to that fly-through thing at the art gallery.  I really don’t know what decade they were trying to capture.”

I thanked him and headed off.  Just as I turned to leave, it seemed the three-man crew managed to power up the projector.  A yawn of excitement emanated from the four or five remaining hungry students.  Perhaps I’ve missed the public relations event of the year.  Well, there is always tomorrow at Aberdeen University at 6.30 pm.  Then again, I think I’l lbe washing my hair.

As I turned to leave, more than 15 minutes after the advertised start time, I think one of the three began to speak.  The film ‘Withnail and I’ came to mind.  At  the end of this film the unequalled Richard E Grant gives a rendition of Hamlet’s famed soliliquoy to a collection of animals at the Regents’ Park zoo.  He is brilliant, but there was no one there to appreciate his message.

Poor BIG.  Poor paying clients of BIG.  Richard E might have had no audience, but at least he had something important, heartfelt and honest to say.

Picture Credit: Renee Slater

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 162011
 

On Wednesday 14th December, Aberdeen College Students Association staged a protest outside the Loch Street entrance of Aberdeen College’s Gallowgate centre  as a fight back against education cuts.  As it stands there will be a reduction of 20% in college budgets in Scotland over the next three years.  Patrick Neville reports.

The damage caused by these reductions will result in catastrophic cut backs that will directly affect colleges. These cuts have a high probability of affecting student financial support, staff jobs and classroom resources and for some colleges may cause course closures and forced mergers. If it is financial support that is affected then students from poorer backgrounds will face another barrier to progress through education and will be segregated from the rest of the students.

College education must be a priority in the budget. Colleges in Scotland serve as a medium for people of all ages and backgrounds to access further education.

With less access to college education, hopes for people to successfully be able to find future employment or develop the skills necessary for their lives are at serious risk.

Lani Baird, President of Aberdeen College Students’ Association, said:

 “The level of cuts the Government are suggesting that colleges should endure is absolutely outrageous. The damage caused by these reductions could result in catastrophic cut backs resulting in a cut to student support, staff jobs and classroom resources. For some colleges these cuts could result in course closures and forced mergers. If there were efficiency savings to be made at Aberdeen College they have been made, if there was fat to be trimmed it’s been done.

“If financial support is affected, the poorest students will be the worst hit and risk becoming alienated from education. When there is less access to college education for our community, the hopes for people to find employment or develop the skills necessary to improve their lives are put at serious risk. This further cutback will have a damaging impact on students in the North East and the Scottish Government need to take their head out of the sand and do something about it.

“We are calling on all North East MSPs to protect our colleges and the future of thousands of students. Colleges in Scotland serve as a medium for people of all ages to access education that helps enable them to work. MSPs must make protecting college education a priority in the budget.”

The National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland has begun spearheading a campaign on the matter titled “Our Future Our Fight” which is open to the Scottish public to participate in. A petition has been set up at http://www.ourfutureourfight.org/ which enables Scottish residents to sign their name in support of protecting college education. By signing the petition, a letter will be sent out on the senders behalf to their regional MP’s and MSP’s with additional room to add your own comments on the matter.

Please note that if you sign the petition, you should expect to receive an email back from your representatives.