LISTEN: Ashleigh Slater reflects back on his year at UHI and why he was nominated for postgraduate of the year
Blairgowrie’s own Ashleigh Slater has been named this year’s UHI postgraduate of the year for all of his work in completing his MA in art and social practice entirely online.
This is among one of his accomplishments this year, on top of his remote learning he’s started a community project which explores his hometowns heritage through workshops, poetry, photography and printmaking.
Mr Slater said: “Receiving this award is not just a reflection on myself, but the outstanding teaching experience at Shetland College UHI and the university’s digital teaching platform. It allowed us to all obtain a real-life experience generating our ‘project’ and evolving our own creative arts practice.”
Roxane Permar, reader in fine art and programme leader for the MA art and social practice, explained why she nominated Ashleigh: “It was fantastic to see Ashleigh’s confidence grow whilst studying, and his achievements academically and in our field of practice have been exceptional.
“His work is ambitious and he is personally committed. He additionally produced a digital version of his final work on an interactive website and, as master weaver at Tartan Caledonia, he designed a commemorative tartan to mark the centenary this year, 2020, of Hamish Henderson’s birth.
“Ashleigh is liked by everyone he meets and he displayed enormous compassion and empathy for those he works with. As a wheelchair user, he leads by example, inspiring others to overcoming obstacles and barriers, encouraging others to find their own unique learner journey”.
One exhibition of Mr Slaters was opened by local MSP and deputy first minister, John Swinney, featured artwork created from stitching, cyanotype photography and poetry crafted by local residents.
Professor Crichton Lang, principal and vice-chancellor (interim) of the University of the Highlands and Islands, added: “I am delighted that Ashleigh has been selected as our postgraduate student of the year.
“Our aim, across the university partnership, is to create a supportive and welcoming environment for all and we strive to provide a personalised learning experience for all our students, removing barriers and allowing them to find their own unique learning journey.
“Ashleigh is a fantastic ambassador. He will inspire many and he sets an example to new students that virtual study is as rewarding and creatively inspiring as meeting fellow students face-to-face.”