The weather in Helmsdale: 11°C / Clear sky

The Timespan building is closed until further notice. Our remote and digital programme will be announced soon.


Jacquie Aitken: Heritage Officer – encyclopedic and endlessly curious about local history and how community knowledge informs and produces history. A trained archaeologist, she’s our star landscape de-coder and favourite person to walk the hills with.

Adam Benmakhlouf: YASS! & TIC TOC Curator – Adam brings sunshine and dance moves and a sharp critical view of contemporary art.

Laurie Brown: Design, Editorial & Communications Manager – Laurie designs our content into gorgeous, cute gifs, videos and posters and we very much welcome them experimenting on us with new recipes.

Rona Ellis: Food & Green Community Coordinator – Rona’s our green fingered go-to herb identifier and you’ll find her in Helmsdale Kitchen Garden arguing about how much space is used for trees vs veg.

Debbie Farrall: Cleaner – Debbie keeps Timespan sparkling between her massage therapy and looking after her horses, donkeys and chickens.

Jill Ferguson: Front of House – Jill’s our dog whisperer who knows every canine in the village.  Also warmly welcomes humans into Timespan too and an enthusiastic singer who helped get the village choir started and still singing in harmony.

Fenella Gabrysch: YASS! & TIC TOC Curator – Fenella’s an Olympian trained swimmer and can be spotted floating down the Helmsdale river for a swim out at sea.

Anyuta Gillespie: River Cafe – Anna is our expert pickle maker, baker and resident photographer, all of which we value equally.

Penny Kane: Front of House – Penny is the number one ambassador for the village public loos and serves the village in a myriad of ways on numerous committees and councils.

Caroline Kelly: Finance Manager and Shop Manager  Caroline keeps Timespan running and does all things numbers and finance. She is Timespan’s number one football nut and gives us Monday updates on trials and triumphs of being a Ross County supporter.

Shaun Macrae: Technician and all round solver of practical problems – Shaun happily sorts out every one of our requests from laying a floor and painting murals to translating elaborate ideas into exhibitions.

Lisa Macdonald: Front of House – Lisa is our am-dram queen and first port of call for the village’s dramarama needs. She writes plays and sings at full volume in the choir and bands, and is our go-to party planner.

Heather Macdonald: River Cafe – Heather gives it laldy in the village choir and keeps the cafe singing and is now a confirmed baker and mad about natural bread.

Marija Nemcenko: Timespan’s Institutional History Project – Marija is an artist who loves bashing in her boxing gloves.

Sadie Young: Director – committed to testing the political potential of the cultural institution and learning from outside disciplines and movements. Very amateur but enthusiastic gardener.


Anthony Schrag, Chair

Expertise: Art, Social Art, Cultural Management

Anthony is a practising artist and researcher who has worked nationally and internationally, including residencies in Iceland, USA, Canada, Pakistan, Finland, The Netherlands and South Africa, among others. He works in a participatory manner, and central to his practice is a discussion about the place of art in a social context. His practice-based PhD, completed in 2016, explored the relationship between artists, institutions and the public, looking specifically at a productive nature of conflict within institutionally supported participatory/public art projects. His area of expertise lies in the nature of ‘social art practices’ and is a full time lecturer on the Cultural Management course at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

He first became involved with Timespan in 2013 when he was invited to develop a public art project on the legacy of the Highland Clearances 200 years after the Kildonan Riots.

Alison MacDonald, Secretary

Expertise: Human Resources

Alison has been a Director of Timespan and member of the Board since 2003, as well as Company Secretary since 2004. Alison is responsible for ensuring Companies House has up to date information for Timespan, which includes the filing of all statutory company information. Alison has been working in HR since 1994 and is currently an HR Manager for Scottish Natural Heritage. She advises the Board on HR strategy and employment law and also supports the Director on operational HR issues within Timespan

Catriona Whitfield, Treasurer

Expertise: Accountancy, Law

Catriona Whitfield is treasurer and is as such is responsible for ensuring the correct finance records, policies and procedures are in place.

Catriona has a degree in law and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1991.  She has a professional background in audit, investigations, dispute resolution and commercial litigation.  She is currently a member of the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and of the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel. She was for five years a trustee of an educational charity in Sutherland and was for four years a member of board of management of North Highland College.

Joan Baxter

Expertise: Art and Craft, Education

Joan Baxter is an internationally renowned artist working in the field of woven tapestry. Her work is inspired by the landscapes and cultural heritage of the far north.

She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and has worked in commercial tapestry studios in the UK and Australia. Since 1987 she has been an independent artist, exhibiting, working to commission, teaching and lecturing.

Joan brings a variety of skills to the board – creative, curatorial and educational.

Anson MacAuslan

Expertise: Land Management, Commercial Business

Iain Robertson

Expertise: Critical History, Higher Education

Iain Robertson is a historian by training but a historical geographer by inclination, with a particular focus on the twentieth-century Highlands and Islands. Iain is a Reader in History at the Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands. 

Jean Sargent

Expertise: Former chair, scientist, project management, local heritage, fundraising, staff management

After a career in medical research, Jean retired toHelmsdale, the birth place of her father. She soon became interested in andinvolved with Timespan and has been a member of the Board of Trustees for over 8 years. She became Chair, a post that she held for almost 6 years, during atime of immense change for the organisation when she gained many new skills.She has a deep interest in the community and its heritage and enjoys thediversity provided by the arts. Jean is also a director of the Helmsdale andDistrict Development Trust, secretary to the Friends of Kildonan Church and isan active member of Bunillidh Coastal Rowing Club.

Heritage Group

Local heritage research and development of projects for the community archive. Chair: Maggie Adamson

Friends of TS

Programmes events and keeps us intune with the local ecology and village life. Chair: Penny Woodley

Knitting Ladies

These women know their patterns and wool! Meet every Tuesday afternoon to knit together and their beauty jumpers, socks and toys can be bought for a bargain from our shop.