Rise Up! celebrates black and POC creatives 

Rise Up! is a brand new event coming to Aberdeen this month. The weekend will highlight and amplify the voices of black and POC creatives from Aberdeen and throughout Scotland.

We Are Here Scotland has partnered with Aberdeen Performing Arts to curate the event. Performances, talks, workshops, and community spaces are all part of the festival, which runs from 13-14 May.

Here are some of the many exciting acts set to perform over the weekend's packed line-up.



Ica Headlam

We Are Here Scotland Director Ica Headlam told us: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts on Rise Up! We feel that it is a very important and unique opportunity to spotlight a variety of Black and PoC artists and performers from the North East of Scotland and further afield. With a variety of performances, free panels, and workshops, we hope these events bring new and diverse engagement for Aberdeen’s creative community.”

Friday 13

In Our Own Words is an evening of performance by artists of colour, exploring and celebrating themes of identity, culture and a sense of place in Scotland.

Poetry at Noon is a spoken word artist and poet who believes that art is an extremely powerful tool for personal and social transformation. In her performance poetry, she analyzes and discusses experiences of trauma, political upheaval, migration, and motherhood that she experienced while growing up in Sudan.

Aiysha is a singer-songwriter from Aberdeen. Many will remember her powerful performance at the Black Lives Matter Aberdeen protest in 2020. She also featured in a BBC documentary highlighting Aberdeen's RnB and Hip Hop scene. Aiysha is set to release her debut release as an artist later this year.

DIJA

Saturday 14

Known as a songwriter and sound smith, Kapil Seshasayee is both a polymath and a true original. Combining the influences of Scott Walker, Blood Orange, Arca, and Richard Dawson into a singular sound.

Rapper Chef has made waves not only because of his music career but also due to his contribution to the community. An ingrained part of his character is his desire to amplify the voices of those around him. He joins Danny Cliff on a lineup which also includes Glasgow based rapper Clarissa Woods and DJ and visual artist DIJA.

One Mississippi takes place at the Lemon Tree at 7 pm. Described as a hard-hitting play that explores how the impact of childhood experiences shapes men’s adult lives, One Mississippi blends humour and storytelling with powerful elements of physical theatre to create an uncompromising insight into what takes us to breaking point.

Danielle Jam

Focusing on Black and POC voices

The weekend will also feature a number of discussions focusing on the issue that black and POC creatives face in our white-dominated creative industries. A series of free talks and workshops taking place at the Music Hall Big Sky Studio on Saturday 14 May cover topics including representation within Scottish creative industries, climate narratives, knowing your worth, and culture and identity as an artistic influence among others.

Ica Headlam and Briana Pegado from We Are Here Scotland will host a talk about how Black and POC need to take the initiative to support their communities by building support structures and community organisations. While Tomiwa Folorunso will host a talk about how there needs to be a change in a predominantly white-dominated industry.

Rachel Thibbotumunuwe, learning manager at Aberdeen Archives, Art Gallery and Museums will discuss how North East Scotland can support Black and POC creatives and artists. There will also be a panel exploring the importance of representation in the industry, hosted by podcast producer Halina Rifai

And much more besides

This is just a small taste of what is on offer at Rise Up! See the Aberdeen Performing Art website for details on all the speakers and performers. Tickets are also available from APA.

https://postabdn.com/event/rise-up/

Aberdeen Performing Arts head Ben Torrie said: “Providing a stage for emerging talent and creating space for all voices to be heard is so important for a thriving artistic environment. Rise Up! is a hugely significant addition to Aberdeen’s cultural calendar this year. The sheer breadth of talent from the artists taking part is incredible. This festival is a fantastic opportunity to discover more about the diverse range of creatives here in the North East and beyond.

https://twitter.com/weareherescot/status/1513477179820105736?s=20&t=ifmUlcMVHx72D_jzr-Y8Zw

Aberdeen RNLI seeking volunteers

Aberdeen RNLI is on the lookout for volunteers. They need new team members to support its life-saving work off the Aberdeen coast and along the Dee and Don rivers. The RNLI relies primarily on volunteers. They account for 95% of its team in Aberdeen and throughout the UK and Ireland.

Aberdeen RNLI lifeboat station currently has 24 crew members and 12 onshore operations support volunteers. They are vital in maintaining 24-hour coverage for the lifeboat, 365 days a year. Volunteers come from all walks of life and receive comprehensive training.



It is essential that volunteer crews be relatively local to the station and have convenient transportation. This will enable them to respond quickly to pagers and work in a position that allows them to act when the pager sounds off.

Life as a crew member is anything but predictable

John Strathearn, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Aberdeen RNLI, said: “Life as a crew member is anything but predictable. You can be expected to be called away from family, your bed or work at any time, so it is a big commitment, but it is also incredibly rewarding. In return, we offer extensive training and support for our volunteers.

Photo by Rob Pumphrey on Unsplash

“We speak to members of the public all the time who don’t realise that the lifeboat service is a charity and that our crew are volunteers. But they’re ready to drop everything to get into their kit and head to sea in all weathers to save lives at sea.

“Volunteering for the lifeboat station in Aberdeen is a great way to support the local community, learn new skills and volunteer alongside a fantastic crew of passionate people.”

Aberdeen's lifeboats, Bon Accord and Buoy Woody 85N, are operated by raising funds through local community and business events. Furthermore, these funds ensure that crews receive vital training and equipment, as well as that the station remains operational.

Fundraising roles are flexible to suit your lifestyle

Donald Montgomery, Chairperson of Aberdeen & District RNLI Lifeboat Fundraising Branch, commented: “We rely on the generosity of our supporters to help us meet operational running costs with the dedication of our fundraising volunteers to help raise these essential funds.

“Our fundraising roles are flexible to suit your lifestyle. If you’re looking to join a committed and fun group of people, learn new skills and give back to your local community, we want to hear from you.”

If you would like more information about volunteer crew positions, contact the lifeboat station at aberdeen@rnli.org.uk and for fundraising roles, contact rnli.aberdeen@gmail.com.


Greyhope Bay Centre opens doors in Aberdeen

The Greyhope Bay Centre at Torry Battery opened its doors on Saturday 9th of April. This wonderful café space offers stunning views of Aberdeen city, the coast and the harbour. Because of this, it's one of the best places to see bottlenose dolphins in the world from land.

Using an exciting hybrid energy solution, circular rainwater treatment technology, and composting loos that operate on the power of sunlight and wind, the Greyhope Bay Center is the city's first and only completely off-grid café, community and education space. Surely giving green tea a whole new meaning!



Visitors can enjoy coffee and cake at the Greyhope Bay Center this weekend along with a breathtaking view. What's more, the centre will also be a community and educational space. The spring and summer programs will begin right away. Trading times for the centre over the launch weekend will be Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7_oQ3GTqEA

The Liberty Kitchen

Food truck favourites, The Liberty Kitchen, will operate the cafe. Normal café hours will be Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visitors can take part in events throughout the week and also on some evenings.

As well as regular events such as community coffee mornings and beach clean meet-ups, the Greyhope Bay Centre also has a range of bookable workshops for adults and families available on their website. Visitors can book their place at events that include artist-led workshops. On top of this, the team will offer volunteer training for citizen science surveys of whales and dolphins.

Greyhope Bay Centre - Cake by the ocean

A big moment for Greyhope Bay Centre

Greyhope Bay Founder and Managing Director Fiona McIntyre said, “Opening is a big moment for Greyhope Bay and the team. It all started with a dream I had for Aberdeen almost 10 years ago to which there was a huge response. Each milestone was made possible by the belief, shared hope and determination of the Torry and Aberdeen community.”

Furthermore, Project Architect, Prof Gokay Deveci added, “The biggest impact of this project is to do with other people who have big dreams, people who want to achieve something, they can look at it and say, it can be done.”

Crew membership supports the charity’s work while offering great benefits, including 5 free coffees and discounts on events www.greyhopebay.com/crew


Aberdeen to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day

Speakers at this year's Holocaust Memorial Day in Aberdeen will reflect on the importance of coming together to remember victims of genocide. The event which takes place on 27 Jan at Cowdray Hall, will also explore issues with anti-Semitism that still happen in our communities.

International Holocaust Memorial Day is marked annually worldwide to commemorate the six million Jewish people murdered at Nazi death camps between 1933 and 1945. The event will also remember the millions more murdered in genocides that followed in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur and Rwanda.

black metal train rails
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

27 Jan marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Visitors paying their respects can expect the full ceremony to last around an hour and 40 minutes, starting at 11:30am. Speakers this year include the Lord Provost, photographer Jennie Milne, Deejay Bullock from Four Pillars and Patricia Findlay, a member of Aberdeen Holocaust Commemoration Committee and Aberdeen Interfaith Group.

One Day - The Road Less Travelled

Jennie Milne will talk about her photography and video exhibition ‘One Day - The Road Less Travelled’. It tells her personal journey of retracing her family’s Holocaust story. Her exhibition opens at 10am in the Cowdray Hall on Holocaust Memorial Day and runs to Tuesday 1 Feb.

Images © Jennie Milne:
Alicia Melamed Adams and Adam Adams - Holocaust Survivors
from 'The Road Less Travelled' photography exhibition

Lord Provost Barney Crockett said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity for us to come together to remember the victims and survivors of all genocides. I hope members of the public from all walks of life and all faiths or non-faith will join us in what is a moving, thought provoking and uplifting event.”

If you plan to attend the Holocaust Memorial Day event, you should note that it is a standing only event with only a very limited number of seats available. You can find further information on this and other events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at the Aberdeen City Council website.


2021: Our Year in Review!

Community

POST Aberdeen's 2021: Our Year in Review!

By Kevin Mitchell

2021 was quite a year and the good news is that this is not an article about that 2021. This is about POST Aberdeen’s 2021, our community, content, interests and gives a sign of where we can all go in 2022!

2021 was the year we continued to grow as a community, the year we launched a lot of new ideas, new stories and even our new website! We’ve continued to grow our online communities across social media, our new email newsletter and continue to be part of the biggest community in Aberdeen thanks to nearly 18k of you on Twitter!

So let’s take a look at our Year in Review!

New & Noteworthy

We launched our website!

After building our communities across social media, it was time for the next stage in POST's journey - a new website! This website expands our entire communities ability to share content and stories as we build postabdn.com to become a content hub of our city directly from it's community.

The Lounge - Post Aberdeen

The Lounge

The Lounge compiles some of the very best local music into a regularly regularly playlist available directly to you on Spotify and Apple Music!

Aiitee • KAVARI • Iona Fyfe • Oh! Paulo • Sandi Thom • Cherry Bleach • James iD • Calum Bowie • The Capollos • Rachel Jack • Shanghai-La • The Temple Sons • Eskimo Blonde • Rachel Lyon • Scott Ramsay • and more … •
The Lounge

Our ‘Temp Check’ Stories

Our incredible ‘Temp Check’ series; interviews from people around Aberdeen, sharing interests, passions and their journey through the past year.

Lauren Mitchell in her Northsound Radio studio

Temp Check – Lauren Mitchell from Northsound Radio

We chat with Northsound 1 presenter Lauren Mitchell about her love of radio, how she got started and staying positive even in a global crisis.

Temp Check: Mark McAulay from Singularity Sauce Co.

Singularity Sauce Co.'s Mark McAuley talks to us about his Aberdeenshire based craft hot sauce company, and launching in a pandemic.

Temp Check – Louise Grant from Aberdeen Brewery Fierce Beer

Fierce Beer’s Louise Grant talks to us about building a brewery, running a business through the covid emergency and bouncing back with the help of community.

Your Aberdeen – Email Newsletter

There’s so much happening on the surface and deep within our communities in your city of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; so much that we now put together a monthly newsletter of all the highlights we have caught.

No spam, just a collection of stories and images from the heart of Aberdeen delivered to you each month.

Newsletter Signup

BAS9 Ambassadors

We were proud to be Ambassadors of the British Art Show (BAS9) on display in Aberdeens Art Gallery. The British Art Show is a landmark touring exhibition that celebrates the vitality of recent art made in Britain and having this prestigious exhibition in Aberdeen was truly incredible.

What legacy will BAS9 Leave ... ?

Job Vacancies on Facebook

With recent changes to Facebook Jobs in the UK and the need to share opportunities within the community, we launched Job Vacancies on Facebook! This job focussed Page enables organisations to share a job posting FOR FREE!

Simply message Job Vacancies with your job details, any image, links to apply, etc. and we will get it listed and shared!

POST Aberdeen: Job Vacancies on Facebook

Twitter

Aberdeen’s biggest online community and the beginning of POST Aberdeen, our Twitter account has continued to grow through 2021 as has our communities engagement!

17,828

Followers

+55%

Tweet ♥ year-on-year

Facebook

Our Facebook community is still young, but we’ve seen great reach and engagement in 2021 with plans to increase community content through 2022.

+25%

New Followers

+35%

Comments year-on-year

Instagram

Our Instagram primarily shares the beauty of Aberdeen City and Shire through photographs and videos from you, our community. There’s no better place to enjoy the visual inspiration of Aberdeen!

+22%

New Followers

What Next?

Everything you have come to expect will continue in 2022! In addition, we are already working on two new series of content which we aim to bring in the coming weeks around food and drink in the city and activities. If you are in the food and drink industry, please reach out to us on social media!

This year we are also going to launch something we are extremely excited about; something for content creators and publishers that we feel can be a force of good for all – The POST Network. Keep an eye out for more on this soon or sign up to our email newsletter to know first!

We are also always looking to hear from you within our communities. If you have a story to share, please reach out!

We can’t thank you all enough for being part of our journey through 2021! We created POST to shine a light on our city and the people within it, and with your support over the past year, we have certainly achieved that!

Before we sign off, we’d just like to thank the following people and organisations who have helped us stay sane and achieve some special moments. You are awesome!

Angela Joss / Gary Kemp (Doric Skateboards) / Ica Headlam (Big Up The Deen) / Mark Stirton / Louise Grant (Fierce Beer) / Grant Martin / Lauren Mitchell (Northsound 1) / Mark McAulay (Singularity Sauce Co) / Chris Henderson / Ian Watt (Code The City) / Louis Seivwright / Chef / Vagrant Real Estate / Jim Ewan (Anatomy Rooms) / Kirsty Lawie and Naomi Christie (Leopard Arts) / Rachel Campbell (Aberdeen Performing Arts) / Moray Barber and Jill Simpson (TEDx Aberdeen) / Lesley Anne Rose (Open Road) / Charlotte Little / Neil Fachie MBE / Susan Strachan / Colin Farquhar (Belmont Cinema) / Rachel Jack / Stuart McPhee (Siberia Bar & Hotel) / Mary Louise Butterworth and Jon Reid (Kekun Studio) / Reema Shoaib / Look Again / Aberdeen Performing Arts / Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club / Aberdeen Art Gallery / Nuart Aberdeen / Aberdeen City Council / Aberdeen Inspired / our Instagram community and contributors / Brulafu, Jamsie and Matt / our patient families / … and you!

Here’s to 2022!!!

Kevin and Chris.

Join our newsletter!

But just before you continue reading, please consider signing up to our monthly newsletter. It’s a great round up of what's happening in the city.

No spam, just a collection of stories and images from the heart of Aberdeen. We use your email address solely for the purpose of administering the email newsletter. By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


The return of Mental Health in Movies

Mental health focused film screenings are back at the Belmont Filmhouse after pandemic hiatus

Two Aberdeen mental heath nurses are bringing back their mental health focussed movie screenings after a 20 month Covid hiatus. Dan Warrender and Scott McPherson are the team behind Mental Health in Movies. The first screening with be the John Hughes thanksgiving classic comedy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. You can join them at the Belmont Filmhouse Kino Bar on Tuesday 30 Nov at 6:30pm.



Where did Mental Health in Movies start?

Originally called, Mental Health Movie Monthly, Mental Health in Movies was launched in 2016. Dan and Scott wanted to make mental health discussions more accessible and engaging. They achieved this by hosting film screenings, open to the general public. This was followed by a discussion of the mental health issues raised in the film. They created it with the intention of using film as a platform to encourage conversations around people's mental health experiences.

Scott and Dan stand in the glass roofed atrium of an office building. Scott (on the left) is is the taller of the two. Both are red haired, but Scott has a whitening beard. Scott is wearing a green t-shirt and Dan is wearing a blue polo shirt with a lanyard round his neck. Both are smiling.
Scott McPherson and Dan Warrender | Mental Heath in Movies

Dan told us, “I’m really looking forward to getting out there and discussing mental health in film with my good friend and the wider public. It never feels like hard work, but it always feels important that we have these conversations.”

Their last screening was Fargo on the 16th of March 2020, just before we all went into lockdown. It was a popular event for Robert Gordon University students, staff, and members of the public. Many were regular attendees until MHMM had to halt. The screenings created a safe and welcoming environment. This allowed people to talk about mental health by using films as a conversation starter.

Name change

During the pandemic, Dan and Scott decided on a name change, rebranding it ‘Mental Health in Movies’, or MHIM. With cinema spaces reopening in Scotland, MHIM has returned along with a brand new podcast. There are plans for semi-regular film events and discussions in 2022 in the Aberdeen area. You can find ‘Episode Zero’ of Dan and Scott’s new podcast on Anchor and Spotify.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5hc3t9LOOKkkKHnzb8EwPV?si=cc9135e71ae4461e

Mental Health in Movies will be hosting a showing of Planes, Trains And Automobiles (1987) at Belmont Filmhouse’s Kino Bar. The film starts at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced at £5 and it will be shown with English captions to make the event more accessible.

Scott is excited to share the John Hughes classic with the audience. He told us, "I can't wait to use one of my all-time favourite comedies to create conversations around mental health and to be able to do so in partnership with the Belmont Filmhouse in their Kino Bar is fantastic. The pandemic affected our ability to provide these sorts of showings for people. So we're really excited to be able to do this in-person again. We hope that the public will turn up to support the initiative and enjoy a great film in comfortable surroundings, followed by some judgement-free discussion."

What you need to know

Where: Belmont Filmhouse, Belmont Street, Aberdeen
Date: Tuesday 30 Nov 2021
Time: 6:30pm
Price: £5
Follow: Twitter | Facebook

https://twitter.com/aberdeencity/status/1463472234924843009

About POST

Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury founded POST from a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. They therefore focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day. So they use video, audio, writing and social media to amplify the voices in our community, and to ultimately give a platform to Aberdeen folk to engage and tell their own stories.

Recent work includes interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil FachieChef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.


Vision Portraits director Rodney Evans sits on an underground train with the window behind him. His eyes are closed and the black handle of his cane is visible in front of him.

Caption This | New pop-up cinema dedicated to disabled audiences

A brand new accessible cinema experience launches to audiences this week. Caption This is a new series of pop-up cinema events with an aim to represent and engage disabled audiences. They aim to champion diverse stories both about and for those with a disability. Their first screening will feature the documentary Vision Portraits on 17-19 November.

The pop-up cinema strives to empower and prioritise Deaf and Disabled communities by reflecting this value in its programming and access measures. Audiences can look forward to a series of hybrid, virtual and in-person screenings throughout the year and across Scotland.


A red outline of three cinema seats, with a white rectangular outline depicting a screen. In the screen, the words "Caption This". Below, the words "accessible cinema".
Caption This Cinema Logo

Charlotte Little - The driving force behind Caption This

The driving force behind the project is Charlotte Little, a deafblind Aberdeenshire access consultant with a passion for curation. She campaigns for for a better experience for disabled audiences, drawing on her own experience as a moviegoer. Speaking ahead of the launch, Charlotte told us, “Growing up, I never saw positive, authentic on-screen stories about disabled people. I didn’t experience my first accessible cinema trip until I was 17. Also, I didn’t see myself on the big screen until I was 20. I want to change that for the generations of young disabled kids after me.

She went on to explain why this means so much to her. Telling us, “I want disabled people to feel valued as audience members. I don’t want access to be an afterthought or seen as a burden. Working as an access consultant within the film exhibition sector and having a personal perspective as a hard of hearing and partially sighted moviegoer, I’ve seen how far we’ve come but I’ve also realised how much work we have left to do in order to standardise inclusive cinema experiences.

Charlotte Little is standing at the back of an empty cinema. She is wearing a black face mask and is holding a blue and red box filled with popcorn.
Charlotte Little | Caption This Cinema

First showing | Vision Portraits 17-19 November

The first film showing as part of Caption This is the 2019 documentary Vision Portraits. It's a deeply personal documentary by filmmaker Rodney Evans in which he explores what it means to have vision while losing his own sight. Odie Henderson at rogerebert.com called it "an inspiring film. A funny and informative feature whose subjects were creative kindred spirits I’d never seen onscreen before."

Charlotte's passion for cinema is hugely infectious. A passion that she doesn't let go to waste. She's fighting to bring as many people into the cinema as she can, especially those who have felt under-represented. She told us, “I want more spaces and events that celebrate and prioritise representation and accessibility. I set up Caption This as my own contribution. Vision Portraits is our inaugural film because I’ve struggled with pursuing a career in the film industry as someone who’s losing their sight. I saw myself in Rodney Evans’ journey, and I hope that by showcasing this beautiful documentary, I’ll lend a hand to deconstructing the harmful misconception that blind and partially sighted people can’t be creative, that they can’t thrive and succeed in the arts, that they don’t have vision.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJzkxdUvWSI
Vision Portraits Trailer (Captioned)

What you need to know

Vision Portraits will be available to watch through the screening platform Eventive from Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th November. The film will have English captions available as well as English audio description. Tickets will be on a pay-what-you-can sliding scale from £0, £2, £4, £6, £8. There will also be a live discussion over Zoom and live-streamed to Eventive on Friday 19 November at 7pm with guest speakers Theresa Heath and Tara Brown. The live discussion will have live captioning, BSL interpretation, and the host and guest speakers will provide visual descriptions of themselves to make the event more accessible for partially sighted audiences.

Get tickets now on Event Live
Follow Caption This on Twitter
Event page on Facebook


About POST

POST was founded by Kevin Mitchell and Chris Sansbury. They have a desire to cut through the noise to share the great things that happen in Aberdeen. We focus on community, culture and the interesting people of the city. The local artists, businesses and charities; photographers, musicians and entertainers; the people at a local level that make a positive impact on our city each and every day.

Our recent work includes interviews with We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam; Paralympic gold medalist, Neil FachieChef, an Aberdeen rapper who is pushing for success; an article by film director Mark Stirton about the state of high-rise buildings in the city; coverage of Nuart Aberdeen and TEDx Aberdeen, as well as coverage of British Art Show 9.



We Are Here Scotland in the spotlight

Back in late 2020, we interviewed Aberdeen creative and podcaster Ica Headlam. He had just established We Are Here Scotland, a creative fund designed to practically support creative people of colour (POC) throughout Scotland.

Nearly a year later, having achieved funding through a successful GoFundMe campaign, We Are Here Scotland are just about to close applications for their first round of funding of creatives. We wanted to chat to Ica further about We Are Here Scotland. We wanted to know the background behind the fund, some of the challenges he has faced, and what he can offer creative people of colour. As always, Ica was keen to share his experience.



What is We Are Here Scotland?

Tell us a little about We Are Here Scotland. How did the idea came about and develop into a real life fund?

The idea for We Are Here Scotland came from my experiences of presenting Creative Me Podcast. And also, of course, being a person of colour here in the north east of Scotland.

Being born in the early 1980's I've always recognised the importance of representation. However I didn't see much of that in Scotland across the artistic and creative industries. I wanted to create something that not only allowed for there to be recognition of black and POC artists and creatives, but also as a means of supporting the community in practical ways too. This is where the Creator's Fund comes into play.

I had numerous private conversations and a number of Instagram Live events. After that it became very clear to me that many people in the community needed help. Both in terms of funding and practical support. However, getting this from larger organisations always seemed like such a daunting and monumental task.

Bearing that in mind, I felt that there should be a fund that not only made it easier for people to apply for, but also provided some follow through in terms of practical support via mentoring and guidance from industry professionals to help those who are awarded funding.

What are some of the challenges you've faced in launching the fund?
Well we launched the fund in mid-November last year whilst still in the pandemic. Given the climate it was a slow burn, however we eventually reached our target of £6000 in June this year. Recently that amount has grown to £7,490. This has allowed us to support more black and POC artists and creatives across Scotland.

What advice would you give to creatives of colour starting out just now? In particular, advice about raising funding and dealing with the challenges that their industry may throw their way?

With regards to funding, I think it's important to explore all the viable options available to you as a creative. It's about finding out what opportunities are happening in your local community as well. For example, does your local authority have funding opportunities for creatives? Is your local art space/gallery looking to commission artists etc?

In terms of the challenges you may encounter? For me I always find that it's important to have a good support network around you. This industry isn't easy to navigate. Over the past year I've heard from people in my community who have had horrible experiences within Scotland. So, I would say it's also important to hold people accountable. We can't minimise problematic attitudes and behaviours in the hope that it'll all be forgotten about. Especially in the current climate.

Systemic misrepresentation in the arts

Do you think there's a genuine willingness within Scotland's creative industries to actually stamp out their systemic representation problems once and for all?

Well I'd like to think so. But the past year has shown me that within Scotland's creative industries the conversation of representation and systematic change can easily turn into a tick box exercise. It's becoming on trend now for some predominantly white led businesses and organisations to be seen to be amplifying black and POC voices. The thinking is in doing this, organisations show evidence to potential funders that they are actively engaged with supporting the community.

In all honesty I do think that some people prefer the status quo of things. Some people don't want to be challenged. They don't want to reflect on certain issues that requires them to actively engage in meaningful conversations or progressive thought.

Is there anything people working in creative industries can do to pressure their organisation to be better?

I think people need to be more vocal about the systemic issues within the creative industries. However, it shouldn't just be black and POC doing this all the time.

I think we have gotten into this mindset in society that if it doesn't personally impact on you or your mental health then do you really need to say anything. Yes ,you absolutely do need to challenge and hold people accountable especially in this industry. People need to ask important questions within their organisations. Ask about meaningful representation and what that can look like for marginalised groups.

Who in benefiting?

Who are some of the creatives that you have helped? Tell us a little about them and the work they do.

When I first started We Are Here Scotland. I used to do a lot of Instagram story shout outs. We've given this a little more structure with a spotlight feature on our website. This feature will introduce people to a number of talented artists and creatives across Scotland. The first artist in our spotlight is the acclaimed Scottish-Caribbean poet and performer Courtney Stoddart. You can check out her interview here.

What are your future plans for WAHS?

We have a number of projects that I'm really excited about beyond the Creator's Fund. Hopefully we'll be in a position to secure funding to develop these projects. We ant to provide more opportunities for black and POC artists and creatives in Scotland.

The Creator's Fund is still live until Sunday 31st October at 11:59pm you can apply for the fund here: https://www.weareherescotland.com/creators-fund


Thank you so much to Ica for again taking time to talk to us. He has a special ability to focus on his project and achieve his lofty goals. That has always been an inspiration to us here at POST, so it's great to catch up with him again.

We Are Here Scotland | Find Out More

You can fine We Are Here Scotland at a number of places around the web. Please go follow them to stay up-to-date on their progress.

We Are Here Scotland | website | Twitter | Instagram

We also very much enjoyed this episode of Just a Chat With...Ica Headlam

https://youtu.be/7sI4vD0oO5Q

Greyhope Bay breaks ground

Greyhope Bay has started the building phase of project that will eventually see a dolphin viewing centre, a cafe and new education and community space for Aberdeen. Breaking ground marks a milestone for the charity. It's culmination of a 6-year journey from the original idea to construction. The build has received wide support through community-led fundraising.  

It's been a challenging road to get to this point. Because of difficulties in the construction industry and scarcity of materials, the project has suffered unexpected delays. However, thanks to the perseverance, resilience and strength of the community, Greyhope Bay is ready to take its next steps.



Project lead architect, Prof Gokay Deveci today said, “I am delighted to be the architect for the development that will bring new life to Torry Battery. This work reflects the role of architecture in nurturing and sustaining our communities that 'Yes, it can be done'. I am grateful to all team members helping us to deliver such a challenging and innovative project. It would have not possible without their teamwork, commitment, and dedication.”  

Greyhope Bay founder, Dr Fiona McIntyre added, "What we are about to witness is the outcome of countless hours of planning and many years of dreaming, leading to the achievement of this significant moment in which an historic place is altered by our purpose and ignited with new life.” 

An exciting future for Torry Battery

The project’s development will secure a bright new future for Torry Battery. That said, it will also reaffirm its position as a site of both environmental and historical significance. The new green-powered community space will create a spectacular vantage point. As a result visitors can take-in views of the city, coast, harbour and the many resident Bottlenose dolphins who regularly make an appearance. 

This milestone represents the beginning of a transition for Greyhope Bay. What was primarily a fundraising exercise now looks towards providing a vibrant new destination centre for the community and visitors. As a result, this new phase will see the charity deliver programming and events that connect the community to the local coast. This will happen from an off-grid and low impact container conversion which will use the latest in green technology. Because of this, they'll minimise its environmental footprint, including waste produced by the café. 

How can you support Greyhope Bay

There are many ways to continue to support Greyhope Bay as the organisation moves forward through the build phase and into opening doors as a charity with programming and events that serve to connect the community to our coast from a beautiful new home. 

If you're interested in helping Greyhope Bay, you can join as a Founder Crew member. Organisers are campaigning to sign up their first 1,000 members before doors open. You can join at the sign up page. For those that do, you'll receive an exclusive pin badge, five free coffees once open and a discount on events. 

If you are a local businesses or corporate, you can join as a Corporate Skipper or Admiral. Greyhope Bay will offer these members a staff team beach clean, coffee and cakes and a story tour. 


Aberdeen high-rise buildings | The selective regeneration of our city

We interviewed movie director Mark Stirton last month about his career and how he has coped with lockdown. Shortly after we published he told us that he had something important to share about Aberdeen high-rise buildings and asked if he could write for us on the subject.

While a number of Aberdeen high-rise buildings have been awarded category A listed status, their residents continue to suffer awful living conditions. Over to Mark.

The selective regeneration of Aberdeen by Mark Stirton 

Someone sitting in an air conditioned office somewhere has decided that Aberdeen high-rise buildings like Virginia Court and Marischal Court are in some way historically important. Presumably whoever made this decision at Historic Environment Scotland has never actually been inside these buildings. Certainly they have never had to live in one. So, let’s take a closer look at these historically important buildings shall we?

First
Impressions


The first thing you’ll notice upon arriving in the area is that every single paving stone is broken. Not just one or two, all of them. So already, without actually entering the buildings, you can clearly see that this area has not been maintained in any meaningful way in quite some time.

But things get so much worse when we enter Virginia Court. Lift or stairs? Let’s try the lift first and as the door shudders to a close I notice that someone has scrawled something inside; ‘Please fix this door before an OAP gets stuck’. Sound advice and I immediately wonder if the doors will ever open again.

Fine, let’s take the stairs.

The steps leading up to the main stairwell are an immediate cause for concern. The problem is not that the banisters have been removed, which would not be so bad, it’s that the banisters have been partially removed. Nasty sharp metal struts have been left still in place and pointing outwards at exactly eye level for a toddler. Smart.

‘Please fix this door before an OAP gets stuck’. Sound advice …

Aberdeen High-Rise | The Flats


The stairwells themselves are pretty gruesome, with nasty big chunks of wall missing all over the place. But then, no one lives in the stairwells. It’s the flats that are the real eye opener here in this most important of buildings.

Where to start? Electrical wires hang out of the wall as if repaired by someone wearing a blindfold. Plaster is falling off the roof in big chunks. I can see cracks all over the place with massive gaps between floors and walls.


These gaps are more than just unsightly since they allow local insects to infest the lower flats. Without the addition of many rolls of flypaper to at least moderate the influx of midges, these rooms would not be considered fit for human habitation. Especially when you consider the rats.

Also problematic is the difficulty in heating a room that’s surrounded by walls that don’t reach the floor. Having said that, the storage heaters here have been imported from the 60s and would only heat you up if you sat on one.

This may explain why there is dry rot everywhere. One woman I spoke to, who was moving out, cited this exact reason for her moving; the health of her children was suffering just by being here. Is that a mushroom growing out of the floorboards? Yes, you can grow mushrooms here.

Yup, I saw rats. I didn’t hang around to photograph them, but I saw them.

Communal space or lack of privacy?


Anyway, let’s take our lives in our hands and try the balconies. Now maybe it’s beyond the understanding of a simple film director like myself to comprehend why rust and missing bolts everywhere is a perfectly safe way to leave a balcony, but to use your eyes and your common sense? I didn’t linger.

Another issue with the balconies is that of privacy. You see, everyone gets a balcony. What you might not realise from the outside is that most rooms have access to the same communal balcony, including the bedrooms. So if you fancy a neighbour standing directly outside your bedroom door at night, you’re in luck. It’s an appalling design. One that points towards another dirty little secret of these buildings – they were never any good to begin with! Presumably the original 1950’s based theory was to allow for a sense of community. You know, talking to a neighbour on the balcony while discussing the merits of teabags or some such. In the less cosy reality of 2021 however, it just means someone can come along and pee outside your bedroom door at 4 in the morning.

So if you fancy a neighbour standing directly outside your bedroom door at night, you’re in luck.

Not that communicating directly with your neighbours is that big a problem since the uninsulated walls here are paper thin. It’s quite possible to have a conversation with next door without raising your voice.

Aberdeen high-rise | Walkways


Speaking of disasters waiting to happen, let’s examine the two walkways that once connected Virginia Court and Marischal Court. These have not been in use for at least 3 decades. Again, maybe it’s beyond my humble understanding as to why leaving these walkways unmaintained and subject to the harsh winds and rain of Aberdeen for decades is in fact, perfectly safe and nothing to worry about. But I do worry.

There seems to be an insane innocence to all this, a sort of, it’ll never happen here, attitude.

But it might. Consider the aforementioned banister struts sticking out of the wall. No children have lost eyes, yet, so it must be safe to leave like that. They won’t take action, apparently, until after someone gets hurt.

When Historic Environment Scotland granted these Aberdeen high-rise buildings protected status, Aberdeen City Council protested in a kind of ‘Hey we were just about to fix that problem’ sort of way. But make no mistake, the problems in these buildings are entirely down to the borderline criminal negligence of Aberdeen City Council.

New Council HQ


Let’s take an interesting example from Aberdeen’s own recent historical past shall we? Not that long ago Aberdeen City Council decided that their HQ just wasn’t up to snuff. They needed somewhere new and my goodness didn’t that happen quickly!

The old building was gone in record time, a new home was found across the road. It was renovated, cleaned inside and out, new offices fitted and oh look, some fancy lights. In fact the whole area was regenerated in a remarkably short time. Aberdeen City Council can move pretty damn fast when it’s their own comfort at stake.

And what happened to Virginia and Marischal Court? Where people actually have to live, while all this frenzied rebuilding was going on 500 yards away? Well they were left to rot.

Putting aside the hideous living conditions of the poor souls stuck here to one side for a moment. Something Aberdeen City Council seems to have little difficulty in doing. People are telling us that these buildings are in some way culturally important; they’re not but let’s play the game. That means they’ve been letting these highly important buildings crumble away. So even if you take the human element out of this equation, there is still some world class negligence going on here.

Where’s the rush to action that Aberdeen City Council are apparently capable of, given the right self serving conditions?

An important building like Virginia Court falling into complete disrepair? Who do we call about that? If it’s so important, where’s the money?

The Human Element


Except of course, it’s impossible to take the human element out of this discussion, at least not without being a complete sociopath, because real people have to live in these buildings and they need help. Lifts that open, safe balconies, insulation, a heating solution from this century, an absence of midges and rats, a measure of privacy, fewer mushrooms, you know, the little things.

Unfortunately, since being designated as culturally significant, there is now a delay in any major repair work going on in this area. So people, who live in considerably nicer accommodation than is available in Marischal Court, can argue at great length and in comfort, about the relative merits of Brutalist design concepts.

But the truth is that these Aberdeen high-rise buildings were never any good, interesting architecture aside,  and thanks to the inaction of Aberdeen City Council they’ve gone from bad to worse. Decades of simply looking the other way.

The people living in Virginia and Marischal Court need many things to be sure, but I can tell you what they don’t need, before some idiot turns up with a bucket of paint and a Council grant, they don’t need a mural.

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All photos owned by Mark Stirton.