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Cairngorms creatives to help local businesses tell their story


By Gavin Musgrove

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Merryn Glover will be one of the speakers (Photo: Stewart Grant)
Merryn Glover will be one of the speakers (Photo: Stewart Grant)

Four Cairngorms creatives will be sharing their thoughts and stories to help their peers in the sector badly hit by Covid.

GrowBiz is running a series of creative peer support and learning sessions to help those working in the creative industries with the next one on Thursday (February 25) focussed on Badenoch and Strathspey.

Writer Merryn Glover, artist Ann Vastano, musician Ailsa Villegas, and freelance journalist and host of the podcast ‘Big Juicy Creative’, Suzy Bashford will take part in 'Telling Your Story'.

Caron Ironside, GrowBiz Creative Sector Co-ordinator, commented: ‘We’re really looking forward to this opportunity of working with and having the support of local creatives sharing their varied expertise and knowledge of the value of ‘Story Telling’ to promote their business or practice.

"Knowing the artists’ story is a big part of the experience and why people enjoy attending events, workshops and buying original artisan products and artworks."

She continued: "Anyone working in the creative sector is welcome to join these free sessions which offer a way to connect and discover fellow creatives whilst tapping into enterprise support relevant to their business.

"After the panel have shared their thoughts and experiences, participants will have the opportunity to engage in a Q&A, as well as discuss the topic in smaller groups."

Scotland’s rural enterprise support organisation is working in partnership with the Cairngorms National Park Authority on the upcoming local event.

In addition to the creative peer support and learning sessions, GrowBiz is also providing one-to-one advice and information supporting creative businesses.

‘Telling Your Story’ takes place from 10am-12 noon and places can be booked here

Meet the speakers:

* Merryn Glover is a writer, speaker and facilitator. Her plays and stories have been broadcast on the BBC, she contributes to The Guardian Country Diary and her Badenoch-set novel, Of Stone and Sky, is coming out in May.

She is currently writing The Hidden Fires: A Cairngorms Journey with Nan Shepherd. The first writer in residence for the Cairngorms National Park and a qualified teacher, she has wide experience as a workshop leader, project facilitator and speaker. www.merrynglover.com

* Ailsa Villegas is a singer/songwriter and session vocalist from Boat of Garten. In addition to her 20 years experience as an entertainer, Ailsa has released four albums, worked on a number of commissions and commercial collaborations, and performed at various music festivals including Belladrum and Celtic Connections.

* Ann Vastano is an artist and gallery and cafe owner based in Badenoch. Her artwork depicting rural Highland landscapes has been widely commissioned and featured in exhibitions across the country. Ann and her husband Toni opened The Old Post Office Cafe Gallery in Kincraig, last year, where her artwork is on permanent exhibition alongside artwork and crafts of local artisans, and where local produce is showcased and celebrated.

* Suzy Bashford has more than 20 years experience working in communications includes working in journalism, writing books and articles, editor at a publishing company and workshop facilitator. Her creative approach to life is at the core of her award-winning Big Juicy Creative podcast, launched during the 2020 lockdown, encouraging listeners to nurture their busy creative souls to thrive personally and professionally.


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