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Spotlight Shorts: September Rewind

Hello and welcome to the September edition of our Spotlight Shorts ‘SOTHI Rewind’! In this series, we will take a look back at new developments and the SOTHI project in your area.

September was an exciting month for the team, with the start of our Autumn/Winter immersive portal tour. Building upon our appearances at the Royal Highland Show and the Black Isle Show in the summer, this tour is the first time we have brought these interactive experiences to local communities across the Highlands and Islands.

Tain – St Duthac Book & Arts Festival

We were pleased to kick off the immersive portal tour in the beautiful setting of the 14th Century St Duthus Collegiate Church in Tain, Easter Ross during the St Duthac Book & Arts Festival. The festival, which was originally founded as a one-day event in 2019, has grown into a four-day celebration of literature and the arts in the Easter Ross Peninsula. With a packed programme of interesting talks and activities, inviting live music and an excellent pop-up gallery and shop, this year’s festival was a resounding success. We were truly thrilled that we were able to be part of this event.

St Duthus Collegiate Church, Tain
Image provided by Ewan Weatherspoon

Where the past and the future collide: the immersive portal at the beautiful St Duthus Collegiate Church

We welcomed pupils from Inver Primary School, Knockbreck Primary School, as well as pupils from the S3 Travel and Tourism course from Tain Royal Academy to test out the immersive portal. Together, the pupils were able to experience our 360° inspirational journeys travelling across the Highlands and Islands by land, sea, and air virtually.  

Images on rotation: Pupils visiting the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal from Inver Primary; Knockbreck Primary; Tain Royal Academy

Islay – Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle

Following a successful visit to Tain, the immersive portal travelled south to Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, Islay on the 30th September.

Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, Islay Gaelic Centre, celebrated its 20th anniversary as one of Argyll’s Gaelic language and cultural heritage hubs last week. The centre was host to a wide range of fantastic daytime and night events and displays as well as the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal. Visitors were also able to experience both immersive films and new footage of Islay through virtual reality (VR) headsets, in addition to the immersive portal, to follow these digital journeys through the Highlands and Islands with a first-person perspective.

The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle.

Visitors came from across the island to the portal and we also were fortunate to welcome P4-7 pupils from Keills Primary School and P4-7 pupils in Gaelic medium education from Bun-Sgoil Bhogha Mor.

At both the St Duthus Collegiate Church and the Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle the community response to the 360° immersive films, inspired by and featuring the favourite places that people have shared with us, has been overwhelmingly positive. The connections between a person and a place they love are some of the most poignant and meaningful relationships that can be formed in a lifetime and so being able to provide communities with a new way to experience and engage with these cherished places around the Highlands and Islands while supporting community events has been incredibly rewarding for the project team.

Our congratulations go to both the teams behind the St Duthac Book & Arts Festival and the 20th anniversary celebrations at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle for organising and hosting such marvellous events which champion creativity and cultural heritage of both the Easter Ross peninsula and Islay. Look out for the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal in your area, next at the North Coast Visitor Centre, Wick from the 12th October!

Read More About the St Duthac Book & Arts Festival and Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle

St Duthac Book & Arts Festival |

Follow the work of the St Duthac Book & Arts Festival on social media @StDuthac on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle |

Keep updated with future events and the work of Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle on social media @IslayGaelic on Facebook and Instagram.