Life begins at 40 for college

18th January 2013 at 00:00
Sabhal Mor Ostaig's special anniversary gala will set the tone for a series of events, writes Elizabeth Buie

The Gaelic community can look forward to a series of special events over the coming year as the Gaelic college, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Since starting its life offering Gaelic summer courses in Sleat on Skye 40 years ago, Sabhal Mor has developed into the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture and forms part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

It now offers a variety of undergraduate, degree and postgraduate programmes, as well as short and part-time courses and distance learning options. More than 1,100 students are currently enrolled across all courses at the college.

A gala concert, SMO@40, will be held tomorrow (19 January) at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, where a host of musicians associated with the college will celebrate its contribution to music and its 40 years.

Other special events planned include an exhibition on the history of the college; an exhibition in collaboration with the National Library of Scotland; a conference in partnership with the arts programme Creative Futures; a conference in partnership with the initiative Celtic Neighbours; publication of a small book containing memories, stories, pictures and other features on the history of the college; and a celebratory dance at the end of the year.

But the landmark event of the year will be the development of the Kilbeg project - the creation of a village near the college. This will offer room for enterprise development, a large community green space and leisure facilities and a wide range of housing designed to meet the current and future needs of the local community. It will enable Sabhal Mor to expand, develop new teaching and conference facilities and provide more student accommodation.

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