Black Isle Youth Development Group

Black Isle Youth Development Group is run by High Life Highland’s Youth Services team and includes young people on supported study leave from Fortrose Academy. Highland Print Studio has worked on several projects with this group.

Children drawing

In 2016, our Studio Manager John McNaught taught the group over several weekly sessions about the printmaking techniques,  polymer photogravure and screenprinting. The group took photos in their local area and went on to produce two original images of Chanonry Point lighthouse – one a photogravure with hand tint, the other a screenprint with digital. The group used the prints to make postcards which have been sold throughout their local community.

This project was funded through Highland Youth Arts Hub.

Print of a lighthouse
Photogravure with hand tint
Print of a lighthouse
Screenprint with digital

At the Print Studio the young people learned how to communicate and negotiate as a team to decide colours, patterns and pictures. They as a result have increased confidence in learning new skills in the creative arts. The opportunity at the Print Studio has had a great impact on our younger people, who often do not get a chance to take part in the arts … The young people loved creating their own designs and are very proud of the postcard they now sell locally around all the villages.

Wanda Mackay, Youth Development Officer, High Life Highland


In 2017, again over a period of weeks, John helped teach the group members in the Studio more about the differences between film and digital cameras, allowing them to experiment to reinforce their learning. Activities included taking portraits of each other, processing film, scanning, editing on Photoshop and printing.

Teaching taking a class of students
Drying the film

This activity tied in with and enhanced the group’s involvement with Alzheimer Scotland‘s D-Caff (Dementia Cafe) in Avoch. The young people engaged with people at the cafe, and with John’s help took black and white portraits (using both film and digital cameras) of some of them. Some of the cafe attendees also came along to the Studio to have their portraits taken by the group.

A person taking a photo of someone
Taking portraits at D-Caff, Avoch

The portraits the group produced, both of themselves and the D-Caff attendees, are beautiful and moving.

A class looking a prints
Admiring the portraits in the Studio, June 2017

On 15 June 2017, the portraits were displayed in Fortrose Academy Community Library at an event to celebrate Fortrose Academy’s involvement with Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friendly Communities Project. Fortrose Academy received recognition from Alzheimer Scotland for being the first in Ross-shire to become dementia friendly.

A group of people chatting
At Fortrose Academy Community Library, 15 June 2017
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