Talented music students receive Liam Colgan Fund award

The 2021 winners of the University of the Highlands and Islands Liam Colgan music student awards are Lisa Hope (27) from Edinburgh and Grant Irvine (25) from Perth.

Both Grant and Lisa studied at Perth College UHI and graduated this year with a first-class BA (hons) popular music degree and will each receive £500 towards a mentoring opportunity with a renowned songwriter and producer of their choice.

Speaking about why they were chosen, Dr Seán McLaughlin, BA (Hons) popular music programme leader, said:

"Lisa and Grant produced exceptional work this year in very trying times. In supervising their final undergraduate projects, I was hugely impressed by their work ethic and the sheer volume of creative labour that went into their songs. 

“It was equally commendable that these projects involved elements of national and international collaboration despite lockdowns and travel restrictions. I have no doubt that they will each continue to produce outstanding popular music long into the future and I wish them every success in their creative practice."

Speaking about his award, Grant said:  

"My time at university was wonderful. Studying under such amazing staff and alongside some of the most talented people I’ve met was a real privilege. I had always been unsure about going to university after leaving school, but I am so glad I chose to do my degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands. It’s been a game changer for me.

“Winning the Liam Colgan songwriting award is such an honour to me. Not only to be recognised for my abilities but for it to be in the name of such a talented musician. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet Liam, however, I reckon we would have gotten on really well and no doubt would have written a couple of great songs together."

Describing her reaction to being told she was a winner, Lisa said:  

“It was a huge surprise to me when the University of the Highlands and Islands reached out to tell me that I was this year’s recipient of the Liam Colgan Music Production Award. I am incredibly honoured that they chose me. It really means a lot to know that they believe in my skills as a musician and producer and have decided to further support my way as a songwriter and producer. Thank you so so much.

"During my four years at Perth College UHI, I learned so much about myself as a songwriter and as a person as well. My tutors really helped me to get out of my comfort zone, try out new things and pushed me to become a better songwriter/producer. Especially in my final year, as I was writing my album, doing all the songwriting and production myself I could really see the development I had gone through in the last years.” 

The award was set up in 2019 by the family of Liam Colgan with the University of the Highlands and Islands. Founder of the award, Brian Colgan, said:
“We are looking forward to meeting this year’s winners at the online awards evening being arranged by the university. Now in its third year, the student awards we set up with the University of the Highlands and Islands in 2019 have helped six young people realise their ambitions in the world of music and it continues to create positive experiences in memory of Liam.”

Alison Wilson, head of development at the University of the Highlands and Islands added:

“I am extremely grateful to our donors, the Liam Colgan Music Fund, for the continued support to the university and the opportunities they provide for our music students. We all take pride in seeing the winners of these awards being recognised, in memory of Liam.”

This year the university launched two new scholarships and prizes to support and inspire creativity and support emerging talent. The Peter May Fiction Prize winner and the recipients of the John Preston Music Awards will be announced later this year.