The branding project emerged from the 2005 Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership (ATP) Huntly community consultation and was commissioned by ATP Huntly in collaboration with Aberdeenshire Council Arts Development and Deveron Arts.
Donald Boyd, Town coordinator for Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership (ATP) Huntly, expressed his delight with the results of Jacques Coetzer's work. "When we asked the town of Huntly in 2005 about the projects they wanted ATP to do one of the most popular responses was to review the 'Family Town' identity. Few people seemed to know where it had come from, many felt we were more than that and all agreed we were not 'living it' enough. When commissioning Jacques, ATP were conscious of how difficult a task we had set him in capturing the spirit of the very diverse market town that is Huntly. I am delighted that Jacques has come up with the overarching, flexible Room to Roam theme – not to mention the striking town logo - as it provides freedom for all kinds of groups and businesses to interpret the wider identity to promote both themselves and the area. The link to the Room to Roam song is an added bonus we could not have foreseen. How many other towns can boast that!?"
Claudia Zeiske, director of Deveron Arts, explained that the project, although risky, is normal practice for Deveron Arts. "Bringing in artists for short-term residencies is part of the DNA of Deveron Arts. We are convinced that someone from outside the area, particularly an artist, sees things with fresh eyes to we residents who are so caught up in every day Huntly life. This is perhaps especially true for the identity project where we are all so close to the town that we cannot see the big picture. I think Jacques has done so well, taking on board all the comments and suggestions he has received. We now have an identity we can be proud of."
On Wednesday 25th June at 19.00 the Assembly Hall of The Gordon Schools, Huntly, was shaking to music and dance celebrating the launch of the new Huntly Identity, Room to Roam.
The launch event marks a milestone in the Huntly identity project being carried out by South African artist, Jacques Coetzer , and the community of Huntly. Jacques has been working intensively with the town since February of this year to investigate what Huntly and District means to the people who live, work and visit here. The new identity incorporates a number of strong contemporary and traditional visual design elements and, uniquely, is backed up by a town song.
Jacques explained the excitement he has felt for the project. "I arrived from South Africa with no preconceptions of where this task would take me. Working closely with all kinds of community groups in Huntly showed me just how diverse a small town this is with many, many, sometimes surprising, facets. I soon realised the scale of the challenge - and the real privilege - I had accepted. Being a lifelong Waterboys fan, to realise the living Room to Roam link to Huntly's own George MacDonald through Mike Scott has been just incredible. The words of that poem sum up so much of what Huntly is about."