Multiple Awards for Music Staff and Students at Lews Castle College UHI

Lecturing staff at Lews Castle College UHI have been recognised for their teaching excellence with a national teaching award, a new music commission and 100% student rating in the National Student Survey.

The team behind the university's BA (Hons) applied music degree, is one of only 14 teams across the UK which has received a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence from Advanced HE. The innovative course is designed and delivered by professional musicians, educators and industry experts and covers traditional, Celtic, pop, jazz, classical and rock music.

Started in 2000, the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme celebrates individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education. The collaborative award for teaching excellence recognises collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. Introduced in 2016, the scheme highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education.

Professor Todd Walker, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: "I am delighted that the applied music team have been recognised in these prestigious national awards. The awards are held in high regard in the sector and demonstrate our commitment to excellence in learning and teaching. It's fantastic to be commended for the impact our colleagues are having on our students."

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, programme leader for the university's BA (Hons) applied music degree, said: "Collaboration is central to all our lives - as educators and members of society - and is a core skill within our subject area of music. It is wonderful to celebrate our work with the prestigious collaborative award for teaching excellence and have our team recognised for their passion in developing and connecting the many communities we serve through higher education."

As well as this significant award, students from the Applied Music course based in Uist have been working on a unique collaboration to create a piece of music which reflects community land ownership across Scotland. 

The commission from Community Land Scotland saw students working remotely across Scotland and Europe coming together to create a truly unique and beautiful piece of music. They also created a video that shows some of the projects across Scotland which are now in community ownership; from Machrihanish Airbase community company, Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh / Carloway Estate Trust on Lewis, North West Mull Woodland co,  to Dumfries town centre, and Bridgend Farmhouse in Edinburgh.

The musicians themselves speak about the creative wealth generated by working together collaboratively, and remotely, to write and produce one piece of music, and what they learned about the benefits of community land ownership.

The pieced entitled “Land of our Kin” can be viewed here -

Liam Sutherland, originally from Caithness and on the guitar was sound engineer.” We were tasked with doing some research on Community Land Scotland and what that meant to us.  That was cool, having someone come to UHI and say we want you to write some music for us. It was a nice taste of working in the commercial world.  There’s going to be an insight into what’s going on in Scotland, and suddenly you realise there is so much going on.”

To round off what has been a hugely successful year, despite the challenges faced by both staff and students during the pandemic, the Applied Music students awarded the course 100% in the Nation Student Survey for the third consecutive year.

Lews Castle College UHI Principal Sue Macfarlane said: “These awards and feedback from our students show the hard work and dedication that our staff have provided for our students throughout the pandemic. The music team have worked incredibly hard to support their students in an incredibly difficult time and these awards reflect that.”




About Lews Castle College UHI


Media enquiries: Kathryn Lamont Smith – - 07817530062


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