The weather in Helmsdale: 13°C / Overcast clouds

We are open every day 10am - 5pm


Jacquie Aitken: Digital & Heritage Curator – encyclopaedic 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.

Claire Brown: Cafe Assistant – Claire is our resident coffee expert, always ready to brew the perfect cup for our guests. She also keeps the cafe running smoothly, making sure everyone has what they need.

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

Sofia Cotrona: Communication & Marketing Manager- Sofia presents all our content through press releases, social media posts and newsletters. She is obsessed with highland cows and seals so you will find her hiking and walking around the village looking for both

Anyuta Gillespie: Cafe Manager – Anyuta is the mastermind behind our cafe, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and that our guests have a memorable experience. She is a true foodie and loves to experiment with new recipes.

Giulia Gregnanin: Director & Curator – Giulia is interested in exploring the relationships between power, culture, and identity, and how these dynamics are influenced by issues such as gender, race, and class. She is always accompanied by her furry doggy companion Izi.

Sam Harrison: Fundraising Officer– Sam pulls together our funding applications. He is a crofter in Gartymore, just outside Helmsdale, where he raises Shetland cattle and sheep. When he’s not putting out the silage he’ll be in his workshop making furniture or out on the waves surfing with his son.

David Jack: Gardener – David has a green thumb and takes care of our beautiful garden, making sure it looks its best throughout the year.

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 & 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.

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.

Louise & Mauro Mcmeekin: Cleaners – Husband and wife team share the labour to keep us sparkling and sanitised after busy weekends.

Simone Severn: Front of House – Simone is the friendly face that greets our guests and makes them feel at home. She has a wealth of knowledge about the area and is always happy to share tips and recommendations.

Galina Popowska: Cafe Assistant – Galina is a passionate cook and baker, and her creations are always a hit with our guests. She also helps keep the cafe running smoothly and makes sure everyone is well-fed and happy.


Philomena de Lima

Expertise: Heritage, Sociology, Activism, Human Rights

Philomena de Lima is a sociologist, with an interest on the intersecting relationships between ‘communities of place’ (rural places) and ‘communities of interests’.  Her research and activism is focused on issues of place (rural) through the lens social justice and intersectionality (recognition of differences within groups and between groups). This has led to a focus on a range of groups such as ethnic minorities, migrants, women, young people, those experiencing poverty and mental, carers. She has led and collaborated in her research and publications at regional, national and transnational levels on issues related to international migrants in rural areas. She is based at UHI -Inverness where she established the Centre for Remote and Rural Studies in 2004 and was its Director between 2008-2019.

Vivivana Checchia

Expertise: Contemporary Art, Critical Theory

Viviana Checchia is a curator, critic and lecturer active internationally. She has worked on curatorial and artistic programmes around contemporary art for the last twenty years. Her work has always foregrounded the public practice of art, the use of public and private space, the legacies of institutional critique, and of socially-engaged art practice. One of her first and major initiatives in the field of contemporary art is ‘vessel’. Vessel explores socially-engaged practices in relation to their context of emergence, to their geographies and psychogeographies, and the overlap of these concerns with fixed political ideologies. She joined the Board of Trustees of Timespan in 2022 because she is interested in the development of contemporary art forms and contents within the rural.  She is so looking forward to learning more and more from all the practitioners and people she will encounter during this experience!

Anson MacAuslan, Chair

Expertise: Land Management, Commercial Business

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 strategic HR / People direction on the Board as well as ensuring Companies House has up to date information for Timespan, including the filing of all statutory company information. Alison has been working in HR since 1994 and is currently a People and Organisational Development Manager for NatureScot. She advises the Board on HR strategy and employment law and also supports the Director on operational HR issues within Timespan.

Grace Maxwell

Expertise: Music management; Veg Stall Seller and Helmsdale Golf Club Number 1 Fan

Grace is a music business veteran, having managed the career of her husband and partner, Edwyn Collins, for almost 40 years. Edwyn’s family have lived in Helmsdale for 200 years in the same house they both live in now. In 2015, after moving permanently to the village, they completed construction of a recording studio, home now to lots of recording projects. Among the various local activities she is involved with some favourites are driving the community bus, selling veg from the community kitchen garden and her role as secretary of the local golf club, still going strong after 130 years!

James Mooney

Expertise: Contemporary Art, Critical Theory

Jim Mooney taught at Middlesex University and the Royal college of Art from 1989 – 2009 where, respectively, he was Reader in the Theory and Practice of Fine Art and Senior Research Tutor in Painting. Sunsequently, he held Visiting Professorships at Birmingham City University and Grays School of Art, Aberdeen and was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1995. Mooney has exhibited widely internationally and writes on contemporary art, focusing on painting, radical art practice, ecology, ethics, queer theory and Fine Art Research Methodologies. He has published extensively including essays on Lari Pittman, Félix Gonzalez-Torres, John Dougil, Michael Curran, David Wojnarowicz, Peter Hujar, Queer Sorority, Hamish Fulton, the Algerian photographer, Hocine, the Kurdish artist Rebwar Saeed and Shirin Neshat. His most recent solo exhibition was held at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in 2020.

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.

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 First Tier Tribunal for Scotland Charity Appeals jurisdiction and of the Disciplinary Panel for the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. She was a member of the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for 10 years, served as a member of board of management of North Highland College and has acted as trustee for a number of charities.

Heritage Group

Local heritage research and development of projects for the community archive. Chair: Lucretia Peckham

Friends of Timespan

Programmes events and keeps us intune with the local ecology and village life. Chair: Paul Peckham

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.