'Beatrice Works' Education Programme


Project aims:

To provide an innovative programme of learning activities to complement and interpret an exhibition in our temporary exhibition gallery during June-August. Entitled ‘Beatrice Works’, the exhibition by artist Sue Jane Taylor (http://www.suejanetaylor.co.uk) documents the design and construction of the Beatrice Demonstrator wind turbine project off the Caithness coast.


• Provide knowledge and information about renewable technology

• Provide opportunities for the community of Caithness & North Sutherland to benefit from contextualized learning activities led by professionals in Science, Engineering & Art.

• Highlight & broadcast the inspiring renewable and engineering projects going on in Caithness

• Highlight and promote the work of STEM, BSA, local companies, Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership , Environmental Research Institute, etc.

• Extend Caithness Horizons’ profile as a key organisation within the North Highlands, capable of developing projects that contribute to a smarter and greener Scotland.

• Develop productive partnership working.

• Demonstrate the crossover between arts, science, engineering & technology

Summary of activity:

We created an ambitious programme of events – A mix of science and art school workshops, site visits, public open day, adult talks, children’s related art exhibition – to complement this Summer’s major exhibition in our Gallery.

During May and June, Sutherland based artist Sue Jane Taylor was joined by Caithness STEM Ambassadors to work with young people from Caithness and North Sutherland schools, exploring how current developments in renewable technology are making an impact locally as well as nationally and internationally. Local companies and harbours – as well as personnel from key wind/wave/tidal energy projects – were very generous with their time, allowing access to a range of engineering sites and operations, and engaging in workshops with school pupils. Guided by Sue Jane Taylor and her years of experience documenting in art some of Scotland’s biggest industrial engineering projects on and offshore, pupils then created their own artistic documentary of their site visits. They were encouraged to see the human and environmental as well as well as the technical impact of the contemporary quest for energy production. Each school group spent a follow-up day with the artist, working up sketches and notes into prints which were then be exhibited in our building during July.

The ‘Beatrice Works’ exhibition of etchings, drawings and paintings by Sue Jane Taylor was opened on 8th June, with a presentation by Alan Ogg, director of learning at the Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre (ETEC), North Highland College UHI.

Our ‘Beatrice Works’ family day offered hands-on activities led by ERI and STEM Ambassadors, as well as the chance to try print-making with Sue Jane Taylor. Drawing the exhibition and the education programme to a close at the end of August was a presentation organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Speaker will be Allan MacAskill, who conceived and developed the Beatrice Demonstrator Project, the two offshore wind turbines that supply energy for the Beatrice Oil Field off the Latheron coast, here in Caithness.

As the race gears up to try and satisfy the world’s thirst for energy, Caithness’s wind, wave and tidal resources are attractive to developers. We wanted our education programme to inform, inspire and entertain while local and national plans evolve.

Caithness Horizons wishes to thank the following Funders & Sponsors for their support:

The Scottish Government, The Highland Council, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, STEM North of Scotland, SSE, the Environmental Research Institute & North Highland College UHI, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the many companies and individuals whose generosity, knowledge and experience were so crucial.

Evaluation approach:

Evaluation questionnaires by pupils and teachers

Project Artist report

Press reviews

Visitors' Comments Book

What went well:

1.Most children enjoyed all the sessions and achieved measurable learning outcomes.

2.Engineering and other companies we approached to help us were enthusiastic.

3.The public responded very positively to the artist's original exhibition and the exhibition of children's work which was the main outcome of the project.

What was learned:

1.It is tricky but achievable to transcend polarised public perceptions with regard to 'hot' or divisive topics such wind farms.

2.We might have done better to work with fewer schools and fewer children during the schools element.

3.There is huge scope for projects that allow quality science and art to work side-by-side.

Top tips and advice for others

1.Good planning - We started talking to partners 18 months before

2.Good communication - This project was a bit like a military campaign, working with many schools, departments and companies. It was important to establish good relationships with partners, and know who to contact if things occasionally went wrong. (Inevitable!)

3.A contingency plan for funding - We had a last-minute rush to cover an unexpected funding gap, which meant we were preoccupied with money at a time we'd have like to have been orhanising.

About this project


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Project type:

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Started (approximately):

May 2013

Ended: (approximately)

August 2013

Tags for this project:

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About the contributor

Christine Gunn
Caithness Horizons, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland

We are a registered museum and art space in the most northerly town in the UK. Our museum displays cover 4 main areas: Picts, Vikings, the Dounreay Nuclear Research Establishment, and Robert Dick (…

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