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Concerns about UHI’s art and design teaching provision at Taigh Chearsabhagh will be discussed at an open meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19).

The meeting called for 6 pm is being held by the Uist Arts Association Committee and the arts centre to provide an update on the scaling back of the National Certificate Art and Design course.

The meeting will also discuss how to approach the promised community engagement made by UHI NWH, which has denied backtracking on its commitment to arts and design teaching in Uist.

Announcing the meeting at the weekend, the Uist Arts Association said: “We have made them sit up and listen, but the big task now is to convince them of the asset that they are sitting on and that it is worth their while investing to realise that. 

“And also to encourage their consultation process to be a meaningful dialogue so we fully understand their criteria and can be given opportunities to work with them to overcome some of their challenges.”

When news broke that the arts and design course had been cut back to one semester and the start date delayed, the Uist Arts Association launched a letter-writing campaign to protest the apparent threat to the future of the course.

Having been copied in on a number of the letters, the Uist Arts Association said “lovely positive stories” had emerged from people’s experience of the NC art and design and the degree courses and how it had impacted their lives.

A spokesperson for the association said: “What is developing is a wealth of material to show how valued and valuable the course and tutors are to alumni and within the community in Uist generally. 

“And what has come through time and time again in conversations is that if the courses were understood and valued by UHI and marketed better, they might get more students.”

Though conceding that UHI is facing challenges on many fronts, the arts association point out there are good arguments to support arts and design teaching in Uist.