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Building on the success of Keith Community Council having secured the accolade of Scotland’s first Scots Toun for the town, Keith & Strathisla Regeneration Partnership launched a sculpture competition, inviting proposals from new and emerging Scotland-based artists for the creation of an imaginative sculpture to be installed on the curved, slabbed area at the bottom of Mid Street beside North Church.

The aim of the competition was to ultimately produce a sculpture which would spark the imagination of those who live, work and visit this area, celebrating the town’s linguistic heritage while highlighting the fact that the future of Scots rests with our children. The sculptors were invited to undertake this exciting challenge by producing a design that would reflect that aim.

The brief was that the sculpture should convey the importance of the Scots language – past, present and future – and should appeal to both locals and visitors alike. It should aim to engage, educate, excite and intrigue the public, celebrate Scots within the context of Keith’s linguistic heritage and must fit sympathetically into the location.

It should also . .

1. convey 2 powerful messages:

(a) that the future of the Scots language depends on the education of our children,

(b) that Robert Burns was instrumental in saving the Scots language in the Eighteenth century and that

Keith continues his legacy in the Twenty-first,

2. be physical in appearance, rather than abstract,

3. double as a seat for use by the public,

4. present a photo opportunity,

5. encourage interactivity i.e. make people want to read, touch, sit etc,

Maquettes (miniature versions) of their designs have since been commissioned from the undernoted sculptors and we are extremely grateful to the Beatrice Moray Community Fund for funding these.



BIBO KEELEY & NEIL KELLAS (in collaboration)





The maquettes will be on display in the Pop Up Shop window, 175 Mid Street, Keith during the week beginning Monday 26th March. The Pop Up Shop will be open on Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th March from 10am until 12 noon and from 2 pm until 4 pm and on Thursday 29th March from 10am until 12 noon, 2 pm until 4 pm and 6 pm until 8 pm. On the Thursday, the public can meet the sculptors during the afternoon / early evening to ask questions, comment on the designs and choose their favourite anonymously by completing a preference slip.

Alternatively, the detailed proposals and preference slips for printing and completion can be seen below (please right click over preference slip, select open in new tab and print from there), found on the InKeith Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/inkeith.moray/ and are also available at Mither Tongue, 165 Mid Street.

The Partnership, along with a representative of the North Church, will then consider the designs, taking into account public opinion with a final decision being made, the winning artist commissioned and funding sought.

Rhona Patterson, Chairperson of the Partnership said “The sculpture will form an important part of our regeneration work and aims to build on our success as Scotland’s first Scots Toun, the concept of language-based tourism and will make a bold statement as to the town’s linguistic confidence”.

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