Scotland announces most creative places

Thursday 9, February 2012


Scotland announces most creative places


Five Scottish communities have been awarded the title of Scotland’s most creative places, as part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, a year-long celebration of Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths.


Winners include the Wigtown Book Festival, West Kilbride’s Craft Town Scotland initiative, and the already world renowned town of St Andrews. 
The Creative Place Awards celebrate and recognise the hard work and imagination that contribute to the rich cultural life of a community and its social and economic well-being, and rewards the efforts and imagination of such places. 

The awards, were presented to communities of different sizes across three categories. The winners are: 

Wigtown, in Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland 
In the category for ‘places with fewer than 2,500 residents’. Each year over 15,000 people flock to Wigtown for its hugely successful Book Festival. The award will allow the festival to be developed into a year-round programme, including a residential creative writing course and a high-profile Wigtown Lecture. The annual festival is a celebration of the written word and features around 200 events over 10 days, with events including talks by authors, book signings, cinema, and events for children. 

West Kilbride, in North Ayrshire, West Coast of Scotland 
In the category for ‘places with fewer than 10,000 residents’. The award will allow Craft Town Scotland, a community initiative, to develop a new series of exhibitions and programmes in West Kilbride to involve younger and older members of the community. Situated on the rugged coastline overlooking the Isle of Arran, Craft Town Scotland is a picturesque haven for craft and design. The creation of Scotland's first designated Craft Town has transformed West Kilbride and helped make it a better place to live, work and visit. The town currently boasts eight studios and an exhibition gallery and gift shop, creating various types of craft ware, from baskets and wood carvings to sculptures and stoneware. 

St Andrews, in Fife 
In the category for ‘places with fewer than 100,000 residents’. St Andrews will host its own Year of Celebration in 2012 and the award will allow the town to promote its already rich cultural programme to UK and international visitors and to support a new community musical theatre production. 2012 is already shaping up to be a memorable year for the town, with one-off occasions such as the University’s 600th Anniversary, the Olympic Torch Relay and the World Saxophone Congress bolstering the already-strong annual programme of festivals. 

In addition, the judges made two special awards to Creetown and Huntly who impressed with their long-standing creative programmes which involve the whole community. 

Creetown in Dumfries and Galloway, South West Scotland 
Won a Special Award for community engagement and high levels of participation in quality arts and creativity. In Dumfries and Galloway, Creetown is a thriving creative community. This special award will support the community to invite the National Symphony Orchestra to music workshops in the village as well as developing new projects for the younger residents. 

Huntly, in Aberdeenshire, North East Scotland 
Received a Special Award for its creative use of artists. The town of Huntly has been re-branded through the use of the arts. Many of its projects have been led by top international artists, including Danish photographer, Elsebeth Jørgensen; India’s textile artist, Priya Ravish Mehra and performance artist, Umesh Maddanahalli; Austrian artist, Wilhelm Scherübl; Swiss artist Roman Signer; and Fabiana Galante, a pianist and composer from Argentina. 

Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland and Chair of the Judging panel, said; “The Year of Creative Scotland and the Creative Place Awards provide a unique opportunity to celebrate and reward places across Scotland that contribute to a Scotland’s strength as a creative nation. From the Highlands to the Borders, Scotland is a rich tapestry of thriving and vibrant creative communities. The awards will allow these communities to enhance their creative programmes, which will in-turn raise their profile nationally and internationally and attract further visitors.” 


Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture, said; “Scotland is a creative nation and I am hugely impressed by the wealth of creative communities we have in every corner of the country. To win a Creative Place Award, and in the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, is a great achievement which demonstrates the truly exceptional standard of the successful programmes.” 

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “Our culture is one of our greatest assets and this year offers a tremendous opportunity to harness local creativity from across every part of Scotland and show our visitors what we’re made of. It’s fantastic to see the winners in the spotlight today and exciting to see the wealth of creative talent demonstrated. Tourism is a hotbed for creativity but it’s only by working together and harnessing enthusiasm that we can truly make the most of the Year of Creative Scotland. 



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