TrinityTalent 2019 | Heather McLachlan

Heather is celebrated by Trinity for Leadership in Arts Award.

Heather was nominated by her parent for her leadership skills shown during her Gold Arts Award. They said 'Heather is a long-standing member of youth folk group ‘Cream Tees’, where she plays concertina, accordion and Flutina. She was the first (and only) person to achieve her Gold Arts Award and has inspired others to work on their Award submissions.'
'Although a musician, Heather is also a keen dancer and performer.  She has been in the Cream Tees Longsword dance display team for a number of years but during 2018/19 she became a Longsword tutor, organising the school inter-house competition. She planned practice sessions, worked with teams to develop techniques and a routine and organised the heats and final. She works with younger pupils and works to help them feel included as well as encourages them to have a voice. For her Gold Art Award she planned and choreographed a new dance piece, fusing jazz moves and music to traditional Longsword dancing. She taught the dance to a team over a number of weeks and arranged a public performance,  the feedback was excellent.'

In what ways would you say your Arts Award has influenced your artistic achievement, creativity, leadership or progress? 

The arts award provided me with the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and put ideas that I had only thought about into reality. I had the chance to lead and organise my own team in a setting independent of my school. I developed as a person guided by professionals and established leaders in dance. Thanks to the project, I was able to explore areas and topics that are not covered in the school curriculum using my own interests to explore a field of work that I had not looked at before. 

How has participating in an Arts Award impacted your artistic skills or career development?

The Arts Award Gold scheme has had a huge impact on my artistic skills and even helped me take my first steps in becoming an engineer. The confidence I have gained through the award has not only made me happier as a person but also, I am no longer afraid to present my ideas and show my passions to my friends as well as my classmates. I love dancing and the freedom of expression that comes with it. It is an essential outlet for me. My folk involvement is also a key part of my life and the project allowed me to develop my skills on the flutina and concertina as well as my longsword dancing. Learning through an alternate medium has stood me in good stead for my studies at university and meant I am more capable and able to adapt to all the differences between school and university. The leadership and communication skills I have gained through participating in this award will stay with me and benefit me for the rest of my life.

What's next for you?

It has always been my desire to help people. This year I started a degree in biomedical engineering so I can develop life changing technology for the people that need it the most. I received so much when I was younger from the community around me but most of all from dance. Dance has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It has provided me with a way to express my emotions outside the stresses of my day to day life. I also had a lot of confidence issues growing up which dance has helped me overcome and develop into the person I am today. Dance is such a vital part of my life and I’m sure it will continue to be for many years to come. The same stands with my music that I hope to continue my skills on the concertina and the flutina as well.

What are your career aims? 

I wish to become a biomedical engineer and develop assistive technology to help people with different disabilities. I wish to use my creativity skills to apply existing equipment and ideas to new situations. As well as developing existing assistive technologies like prosthetics and equipment for people with blindness/deafness. When I was younger, I had a lot of support from different charities and this has influenced me to give back and provide support the same way people did for me when I was younger. When it came to picking out my career path I knew I wanted to work in technology but I also wanted a job where my work would have a positive effect on people which lead to assistive technology so that I can help people who may struggle with everyday tasks.

Have you got any advice for other young people working towards an Arts Award?

One main piece of advice is don’t give up and if something doesn’t work that’s ok just find a different way. In the duration of my art award I had to restart my project twice and change my plan multiples because of circumstances that were out of my control, so if things don’t run smoothly the first time that’s fine and it gives you something extra to write about which you should also try and start early and don’t just leave it till last minute as you will just make it harder for yourself.

My second piece of advice would be to enjoy yourself and take the time to do something that may not be a part of your schools’ curriculum. I have been dancing since I was very young but until I started the Art Award I never thought about doing more than completing the grades and learning moves and routines. The art award provided opportunities to plan a project that I always assumed to be out of reach. Though the award was hard work and frustrating when things did not go to plan it was still a project that I really enjoyed and am thankful for the opportunities that it gave me and the different avenues that I was able to explore. So, enjoy the journey and experience of completing whichever award, scheme or grade you are working on.

Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2019

Author

Nici West

Nici West Voice Team

Nici is the Arts Editor for Voice. She loves all things books, theatre, music, art, visiting other countries, anything creative, and sometimes attempts to make YouTube videos. Alongside Voice she writes and edits through her own pursuits.You can occasionally find her running marathons dressed as a black dog.

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