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Local talent focuses on Arbroath Abbey

2 November 2007

Friday 2nd November, sees the launch of a special exhibition at Arbroath Abbey Visitor Centre showcasing the photographic talents of local children and adults. The event marks the culmination of the Arbroath Abbey Photography Project, run by Historic Scotland and now in its third year.

The project has involved, over the past two months, visits to the magnificent 12th century attraction by budding photographers from primary and secondary classes and members of a community art group to take part in a series of photography and darkroom workshops led by professional photographer Malcolm Thomson.

The participants were encouraged to get behind the lens, taking creative inspiration not only from the abbey’s outstanding architectural features but also its rich history and importance as part of Arbroath’s, and Scotland’s, built heritage. The workshops taught the technical skills to enable everyone taking part to turn their inspiration into print and to try to capture the true essence of the abbey.

The best photo produced by each of the project’s 42 participants is displayed in the exhibition which opens to the public this Saturday. It is free and runs throughout November. Tomorrow’s launch provides an opportunity for the exhibitors to preview the exhibition and for a presentation of awards to the winners and runners-up from each category.

From the primary category, the first prize goes to Jamie Duffie and the runner-up is Mark Docherty. From the secondary category, the winner is Russell Cargill and the runner-up, Karen Geddes. And from the adult category, Jamie Black is the winner and Alastair Kerr the runner-up. All receive a free year’s membership of Historic Scotland, allowing them to visit - and photograph - over 345 sites across Scotland for free. In addition, there’s a £50 gift voucher for Jessop’s photography stores for the winners with the runners-up receiving a £25 Jessop’s voucher.

Alison Muir, Historic Scotland Education Officer said: ‘We are delighted that The Arbroath Abbey Photography Project has once again proved a success and has been very popular with children and adults from the local community. The project aims to encourage all ages to take an active interest in the heritage on their doorstep, to use the abbey, enjoy it and even learn something new from it. Everyone who has taken part in the project has certainly made the most of the experience and the results of their efforts speak for themselves. The standard of the photos on display is very high; the works show great talent and demonstrate just how much the participants learned and took away from the project.

“We are grateful once again to photographer Malcolm Thomson who led the photography and darkroom workshops, gave great encouragement to the children and adults involved in the project, and whose enthusiastic teaching helped them to fully appreciate the abbey and be inspired by it.’


Notes for editors
·Arbroath Abbey is in Arbroath town centre on the A92. Telephone 01241 878756. Admission is £4.50 for adults, £2.25 children and £3.50 concessions.

·The Abbey was founded in 1178 for monks of the Tironensian order by King William the Lion.

·The Abbey is famous for its connection with the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath in which Scottish nobles swore their independence from England. The visitor centre features an exhibition on the declaration.

·The Arbroath Abbey Photography Project was developed in 2005 through consultation with local education groups and interested individuals. One of the aims of the project is to encourage new learning opportunities and support groups in using their local heritage in an interactive way. The fabulous medieval stonework of the abbey and its grounds provide a rich source of inspiration for creative photography.

·The schools taking part in this year’s project were Burnside Primary School, Carnoustie (primary 7) and Arbroath High School (5th and 6th year). Adult members of the Community Art Group covering Angus also participated.

·The judging panel for the project’s photography competition comprised: Andrew Kennedy of Historic Scotland’s Visitor Services Team, William Payne, Director of The Hospitalfield Trust, Arbroath, and professional photographer Malcolm Thomson.

·Judges’ comments on the winning entries were as follows: Primary 1st prize winner Jamie Duffie: “A striking study of sunlight and shadow which has produced a very nicely balanced composition.” Secondary 1st prize winner Russell Cargill: “The judges were unanimous in recognising the sheer quality of this entry. Well composed and at the same time showing an original angle on Arbroath Abbey’s special architectural features. A very worthy winner.” Adult 1st prize winner Jamie Black: “The judges were happy to see a detail shot. This is a well recorded photograph of Arbroath Abbey’s unique stonework.”


·Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae.

·Historic Scotland’s mission is to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information


Kate Turnbull
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959
kate.turnbull@scotland.gsi.gov.uk