Grey granite brings hope for marine education

25th April 2018

We caught up with Fiona McIntyre, Director of Greyhope Bay, a charitable organisation that has exciting plans to deliver a new, world class visitor and marine education centre for Aberdeen.

What inspired you to set up your own business? 

Aberdeen inspired me. The city has an incredible setting, a beautiful coastline, bustling harbour and incredible visiting wildlife. As a marine scientist I have had an ambition and enthusiasm to connect Aberdeen to our marine world through experience, creativity and discovery. Greyhope Bay is a charitable organisation with ambitious plans for a new marine experience centre to do just that with a unique wildlife watching platform, exhibition, events and café space.

Where do you want to take the business – regional, Scotland-wide or global?

We want to develop programmes and exhibits where visitors can experience our marine world in new ways through the collision of science and art – imagining more and being a part of it.

In this way we want to bring people closer to our marine world, through experiencing it, not just watching, not just observing, but being part of it, playing with it, imagining it, feeling how it is to be there.

What was the issue you wanted to overcome by working with academics?

We were given a unique opportunity to bring the project to life through a pop-up shop and exhibition space at the Bon Accord Shopping Centre. The focus was on how to bring the experience of the site to the city centre and how to share the concept in an understandable and engaging way. We worked with Robert Gordon University (RGU) students from Gray’s School of Art, Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the School of Creative and Cultural business for the development of our branding, design and fit out of the space, building of our exhibit and staffing the shop.

What benefits did the collaboration bring to your organisation?

First of all a working team of individuals inspired by the project that went above and beyond to help deliver the pop-up shop in a matter of weeks. The quality of the finished shop and exhibition and their continued involvement with the project on a volunteer basis* has been a testament to their desire to be a part of Greyhope Bay and the quality of experience that we have shared.

Their expertise helped deliver a unique and engaging experience within our shop and exhibit that has inspired the people of Aberdeen about Greyhope Bay and our plans for a new marine experience centre – we are overwhelmed by the positive feedback and engagement.

How did you hear about Interface and how did their support help your business?

We heard about Interface originally through Elevator UK and Gillian Hambley, Business Engagement Executive at Interface. Their support helped me make connections with RGU and understand the best way to make the most of the Talent Exchange Programme, starting with support from events management students for our gala dinner and community day hosted in May 2017 and leading to a bigger collaboration for the pop up shop this year.

What impact has the initial collaboration had in terms of growth/jobs/new products/financial savings?

We valued the work completed by the students and their support has helped us as a charity raise £10,000.

What gets you up on a Monday morning?

Excitement about the possibilities of the day and working with passionate people.

*Greyhope Bay was matched by Interface to the students at RGU through Talent Exchange, which sources challenges, projects and placements with small and medium size organisations for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The students undertake the projects as part of a taught course or an extra-curricular module and receive additional credits.