An appeal for Assisted Place benefactors

February 2018
 An appeal for Assisted Place benefactors 

The portfolio course at Bridge House Art has been offered in Ullapool during the Autumn/Winter months for the past seventeen years. It originated due to numerous requests for a longer, prolonged period of study, as opposed to the summer school weeks that were offered at the time. In 1999 seven students were the inaugural group working in the studios at Moss Road. When the newly formed An Talla Solais, secured the Old Library building from Highland Council in 2005 and then the old medical centre in 2007, Bridge House Art was able to rent the space for the winter months and increase the number of places on offer to twelve.

One of the main considerations for the intake on the course is to include students from various backgrounds and stages of life; whether a school leaver wanting to develop a portfolio of work to support and application to degree level study at art school, someone that wants to take a sabbatical break from work to study art at a deeper level, to either supplement their training for work or to develop a personal area of study, to those that have retired from a long period of working and want to develop their interest in art to launch them into their next stage of life. This mix of gender, age, social diversion and ability, creates a unique environment and supportive group dynamic, that is particular to this course.

The reputation of Bridge House Art and this course in particular, expands beyond the locality of Ullapool. Over the last few years, we have had students from England, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA attend courses. The interest in the portfolio course in particular, exceeds the places we can offer, which is wonderful but brings it’s own drawbacks.

Bridge House Art is an independent school, receiving no funding or support from any external organisation or local council. The portfolio course is taught over two terms of eight weeks, the first eight weeks are tightly structured with each week focusing on a particular art medium and genre. The second term is led with each student developing a body of work that has a particular area of interest to them. From the outset, we felt it was important that ALL materials and equipment was supplied by Bridge House Art, so that every student has equal access and opportunity to experiment, explore and enjoy the qualities of the materials, without any financial restraint. However, all students have to personally fund their place and their accommodation costs to attend the course. Increasing overhead costs in rent, materials and equipment dictates that the course fees have to raise accordingly.

Over the last few years there is a growing concern that there are potential students, with undoubted ability and need, that are unable to apply to the course due to lack of financial means. This is where an assisted place would make a difference. Over the last couple of years, we have held an end of term Portfolio Course exhibition of students work. At which, some students work has sold to the public, which is a great boost to students confidence as they take their new artistic steps into the world. There has been a small commission charge of 10% retained by Bridge House Art and held in an Assisted Place fund, which to date has helped a few students that have encountered financial hardship. We would like to develop this idea with a more pro-active approach.

We are asking for anyone that would like to be a student benefactor, either publicly or anonymously to get in contact. Any donation would be held in a separate fund, with the specific intention of supporting a student with their fees or costs for the course. This could be a full bursary, a contribution towards fees, a donation of accommodation, a stipend for living expenses. Any support has the potential of creating the opportunity for an otherwise impossible ambition to be realised.

If you would like to discuss ways in which support could be offered, or have any suggestions of any other sources we are unaware of, please get in touch in the first instance with Christine Morrison at the address below.

Thank you, in anticipation, for your support.


Eleanor K White

Please contact: Christine Morrison
Portfolio course administrator
Bridge House Art Ltd
office: 01854 612281 (answer machine)