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Ullapool stop for Heartstone's trailblazing Cùra Guardian environmental roadshow

By Hector MacKenzie

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Dragonfly by Nick Sidle.
Dragonfly by Nick Sidle.

A Cùra Guardian roadshow event will take place at The Macphail Centre in Ullapool on Monday (March 25) at 2pm.

Cùra Guardian was launched last year by UK-based non-profit arts, cultural and educational organisation Heartstone, formed following the publication of its children's book The Heartstone Odyssey from which it takes its name.

Heartstone aims through dance-drama events, performances and installations to challenge racism, xenophobia and prejudice, raise environmental consciousness and promote the need to work cooperatively to achieve real change.

The organisation has received funding and support from NatureScot and the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Scotland to create the Cùra Guardian website and roadshow. Cùra is a character from The Hearstone Odyssey and the name in Gaelic means "protector" or "guardian".

The event at Ullapool will be opened by Councillor Isabelle Campbell, a local ward representative.

Sitakumari, director and principal dancer/storyteller for Heartstone, will introduce the Cùra Guardian website at www.curaguardian.com, followed by an online presentation from Arvind Paranjpye, the director of the Nehru Planetarium, a keen supporter of Cùra Guardian, currently assisting with bringing new partners from across India to the environmental initiative. He will join from Mumbai.

The welcome will include an address by the Highland Indian Association, Highland Multicultural Association and Edinburgh’s Women’s Interfaith Group, alongside Heartstone.

In the second half of the event, Sitakumari and will be joined by young Ullapool dancers in supporting roles to present a dance-drama drawn from one of the stories on Cùra Guardian, ‘In the Beat of a Dragonfly’s Heart’ .This story can be accessed from the link below: https://curaguardian.exposure.co/in-the-beat-of-a-dragonflys-heart

The Southern Hawker Dragonfly is important as a climate change marker. It is now being seen regularly in the Highlands, previously only recorded much further south, demonstrating the climate really is changing as evidenced by the presence of new species such as this.

An exhibition of some of the breathtaking images on Cùra Guardian, including those of the Southern Hawker, which inspired the choreography for the dance-drama, is on display at the centre.

Badger by Nick Sidle
Badger by Nick Sidle

Heartstone has acknowledged funding and support from NatureScot and The Pebble Trust for the website development and staging of this event. Sitakumari said: "We are also grateful for the support of High Life Highland and Ullapool High School for their support, including locating the Ullapool dancers and local volunteers who have made this event possible."

Dolphin by Nick Sidle
Dolphin by Nick Sidle

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