Inclusivity drive for independent music venues launches

People at a music venue
19 Jul 2022

Independent music venues will be encouraged to form a national network offering daytime programmes of music-based activities to engage with diverse audiences.

Former hospital in Dumfries to become £15m cultural site

12 Jul 2022

An ambitious new cultural site has been planned for a disused former hospital building set amid 85 acres of grounds on the outskirts of Dumfries in Scotland. 

The £15m project, funded and overseen by the Crichton Trust, will begin with a design competition to find architects to construct the new building, provisionally called the Crichton Centre for Memory and Wellbeing.

It will house the Crichton Archive and the Crichton Heritage Centre, as well as a new visual arts and exhibition space, an academic study space and resource centre and a land art archives and research centre.

The project aims to transform cultural provision in Dumfries and Galloway and complement the facilities and organisations at the Crichton, which is home to a range of academic institutions and business.

The competition to find architects is designed to encourage collaboration between different practices, including smaller firms. It is partly funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The closing date for initial submissions is August 19, after which a blind shortlisting process will award five teams £20,000 each to develop their proposals. The winning team is due to be announced in November.

“We are very excited about creating the Crichton Centre for Memory and Wellbeing, in what will become a new landmark building in the heart of the Crichton,” said the trust’s Chief Executive Gwilym Gibbons.

“This is one of several development projects included within our ambitious 100-year plan for The Crichton and is an important milestone in our journey to connect people, place and the past to shape the future.”

Cairn: a new association for performing arts professionals

12 Jul 2022

Following the resignation of the majority of Equity’s Scottish National Committee last year, a group of creative arts professionals have come together to form a new association, as Julie Coombe explains.

Edinburgh Festival director calls for visa-free travel for artists

11 Jul 2022

The outgoing director of the Edinburgh International Festival has called on government to simplify visa to allow musicians and artists to travel overseas more smoothly.

Fergus Linehan, who directs his last international festival next month, said the UK’s post-Brexit visa rules have stifled collaboration, making it harder for British artists to tour abroad, labelling the situation a “disaster”.

He has called on government to introduce visa-free travel for artists and address logistical problems affecting companies importing touring equipment into the UK.

“Clearly, when musicians go to perform [in another country], they’re not going to set up home," he said. 

"That’s not what it’s about. So visa-free movement for people. We’re part of an ecosystem. The idea of discouraging collaboration is a disaster in our industry."


National Lottery: DCMS predicts £65m boost for good causes

05 Jul 2022

Good causes set to benefit by at least £65m a year under new contractual arrangements due to begin in 2024.

Edinburgh Festivals launch vision for 2030

04 Jul 2022

The Edinburgh Festivals are aiming for the Scottish capital to be a world leading sustainable festival city, according to a new vision agreed by the festivals and their stakeholders.

Launched in the festivals’ 75th anniversary year, Edinburgh: City of Imagination is a vision for a resilient and ambitious festival city by 2030, encompassing eleven annual events including August’s Edinburgh International Festival and Festival Fringe.

The 2030 vision is based on six collective ambitions, including championing global solidarity, creating skills and work for local artists, workers and traders, and making links with city community groups and schools.

A goal to reduce emissions in line with the city’s goal of being net zero carbon by 2030 also features, alongside investing in excellence and innovation and increasing the festivals’ resilience and long-term financial sustainability.

Festivals Edinburgh Chair Simon Gage says the vision sets a course of action and should act as a starting point for each festival.

“Each festival [can] consider the shared ambitions and identify their particular areas of contribution and for joint efforts across the festivals, funders and stakeholders to identify how we can thrive as a world leading sustainable festival city in this decisive decade.”

Scottish Ballet pilots new care home initiative

27 Jun 2022

A pilot programme called SB Duet will be launched in three Independent Sector Care homes within Inverclyde Health and Care Social Partnership to support the wellbeing of people with reduced mobility.

Scottish Ballet are partnering with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Care Home Collaborative to run the pilot, which will offer care home residents an accessible movement experience that can be done in bed or at the bedside with a carer, visitor or independently. 

The programme package includes two ten-minute films and audio resources, each containing a short excerpt of a Scottish Ballet performance, followed by five minutes of gentle guided movement.  

Dance and movement have been shown to improve physical fitness, cognitive function and quality of life for care home residents.

The programme builds on the neurological programmes and projects run online by Scottish Ballet during lockdown, which demonstrated that people with neurological conditions and reduced mobility were willing and able to take part in gentle guided exercise.

“Research suggests that dance-based interventions are effective in improving both the physical and mental well-being of older adults,” said Pooja Gupta, Care Home Collaborative AHP Care About Physical Activity Lead.

“This resource will not only support physical activity, but also promote mental well-being and help people do what matters to them the most.”

Edinburgh’s first Deaf Festival set for August

20 Jun 2022

The first Edinburgh Deaf Festival will take place from 12 -19 August.

Organised by Deaf Action, with the support of Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, the festival is the first of its kind to be held in Scotland. Its organisation, production, shows and events are all deaf-led and it is scheduled to feature drama, magic, comedy, cabaret, tours, exhibitions, workshops, book clubs and a deaf rave.

Performances will include a mix of deaf and hearing artists and will be interpreted and captioned to be inclusive for hearing people as well as the deaf and hard of hearing.

“The festival will be a real celebration of our language, culture, heritage and the variety of people that make up our community,” said Deaf Action CEO Philip Gerrard.

Fringe CEO Shona McCarthy said “the Edinburgh Fringe is really proud to be associated with the first deaf festival in Scotland”.

“I think this is something that’s going to continue into the future and I hope it becomes an annual addition to the festivals landscape,” she said.

Scottish theatre company launches programme for disabled people

09 Jun 2022

A Scottish theatre company has launched a new initiative to help disabled people get involved with performing arts.

Cutting Edge Theatre, based in Edinburgh, has received funding from the ScottishPower Foundation for its Inspire Disability Arts programme.

The theatre company said the programme will establish a clear pathway into theatre for those of primary school age all the way to professional training and employment.

Suzanne Lofthus, artistic director at Cutting Edge Theatre, said: “It’s about offering equal access to the performing arts. I was able to do drama at school and then join a youth theatre.

“People with disabilities should have the same access I had, whether they want to pursue a career in theatre or just take a class for fun.

“When I started to look to see where in Scotland learning-disabled people could train in performing arts in a supported environment with their peers, the answer is almost nowhere.

“This award from the ScottishPower Foundation means we can start to change that.”

Edinburgh Fringe producers get £1.3m resilience funding

26 May 2022

Edinburgh Festival Fringe producers have received financial support to help them recover and remain resilient following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A total of 13 Edinburgh Festival Fringe producers have been awarded a share of £1.275m from the Fringe 2022 Resilience Fund, financed by the Scottish Government and distributed by Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

Venues in receipt of the money are Assembly, BlundaBus, Gilded Balloon, Greenside, Just The Tonic, Laughing Horse, Monkey Barrell Comedy, Pleasance, Scottish Comedy Festival, Summerhall, theSpaceUK, Underbelly and ZOO.

A further £305k has been allocated to support the ongoing resilience of the Fringe Society, which includes £55k to support the delivery of street events during August.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “It’s fair to say that the last few years have been the most challenging in our festival’s history. 

"Now, as we prepare to enter our 75th anniversary year, creatives across the Fringe landscape are working hard to ensure that this incredible festival not only survives, but continues to work hard to be the best version of itself.

“This support from Scottish Government is absolutely vital in helping us to achieve that goal: allowing producers and creatives across the landscape to not only recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, but to offer enhanced support to artists, workers and volunteers; to continue to programme creative and innovative work; to improve accessibility; to tackle affordability and to ensure that this festival remains true to its founding principles of openness and inclusivity.”

Scotland to tie arts funding to net zero progress

27 Apr 2022

Creative Scotland says it will expect all funding recipients to demonstrate how their work contributes to making the sector carbon neutral by 2045.

Row over trans label in museum collection

25 Apr 2022

A Glasgow museum has received mixed responses to a display label supporting transgender rights. 

The Burrell Collection, which reopened in March following a £68.25m refurbishment, labelled two porcelain figures of Buddhist goddess Guanyin as a “transgender icon”.

One of the labels reads “trans people have always existed and are rooted in history. Figures like Guanyin reflect this, showing that gender and identity are not always fixed”, while another says “trans rights are human rights. Be more Guanyin”.

Campaign group Women Scotland accused the labels of appropriating Buddhist art to “prop up an ideology”.

Charitable trust Glasgow Life, which oversees the city’s museums, says academic studies have long referenced Guanyin as an icon for transgender people.

“One of the aims of the refurbishment of the Burrell Collection was to work with community groups to reflect often previously under-represented histories as part of the re-display, including LGBT histories, because Glasgow Life museums are places for everyone.”

Future of culture in Edinburgh

Seminar room Edinburgh University
12 Apr 2022

Recent research urged Edinburgh’s cultural sector to adopt a values-led approach to addressing inequities and precarities. Vikki Jones assesses the implications of the findings for the city.

Edinburgh to appoint music-writer-in-residence

06 Apr 2022

The city of Edinburgh will hold a competition to select a music-writer-in-residence.

The appointee will chronicle the recovery of the local live music scene on the webistes of Edinburgh Music Lovers and Forever Edinburgh, a £90,000 campaign by Visit Scotland.

Edinburgh Music Lovers founder Jim Byers he that "telling more people about music in Edinburgh is something I’m very passionate about ".

"Local venues and artists need support more than ever and a music writer in residence can help showcase Edinburgh to music fans around the UK and also showcase and develop their writing skills at the same time.”

Bringing the classical closer

23 Mar 2022

Struggling with the elitist nature of the concert hall, Matthew Whiteside decided it was time to bring contemporary classical music to local music venues.

£25m pledged for Edinburgh concert hall

08 Mar 2022

£25m has been committed to build the Dunard Centre, a long-awaited and much-debated concert hall in Edinburgh.

The Royal Bank of Scotland and Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee stumped up the funding as part of the £75m project budget. £15m more must still be fundraised.

City councillors green lit plans the new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra late last year. Initial plans were successfully challenged in court by hotel developers who worried the venue would block city views.

It will be Edinburgh's first new music venue in 100 years and the "cultural flagship" of its City Region Deal.

"I know so many people in the city are looking forward to enjoying all that this first-class cultural experience has to offer," Council Leader Adam McVey said.

Construction is due to begin soon on a site between St Andrew's Square and the St James Quarter. 



UNBOXED launches first event

02 Mar 2022

UNBOXED, the 2022 festival of creativity and innovation, has launched its first event in Scotland.

About Us, a multimedia projection and performance artwork celebrating "our place in the universe and the connections between us", is the first of 10 creative projects commissioned for the festival.

Lead creative partner 59 Productions is presenting About Us in Paisley before moving on to Derry, Caenarfon, Luton and Hull. Alongside the nighttime shows, daytime installations and workshops will extend the project's reach to children and young people.

Nine more commissions will be experienced across 80 sites and through digital and broadcast media throughout 2022.

Fringe Festival volunteering ‘leans into ableism’

a crowd gathers at Edinburgh Fringe Festival
23 Feb 2022

Allegations of discriminatory practices ignite calls for the festival to adopt new principles to tackle inequalities. 

Scotland gives £16m for cultural recovery

21 Feb 2022

The Scottish Government is giving £16m to Scotland’s culture and events sector.

Delivered through the Omicron business support fund, the money is earmarked for cultural organisations, events, museums and freelancers to recover from the economic impact of recent restrictions.

£12m goes to Creative Scotland to develop a hardship fund for creative freelancers, a recovery fund for cultural organisations, and support for Edinburgh Festivals in their 75th years.

The £8m fund for freelancers will be split into two £4m rounds, the first opening February 23 and the second on March 2.

Creative Scotland CEO Iain Munro asks people to fully consider their needs before applying: “Funds are finite, and we expect a high level of demand, therefore we will trust that those who request these funds are in need of emergency funding at this time.”

EventScotland and the Museums Recovery Fund will each receive £2m.

Culture Minister Neil Gray says the funding reflects the Government’s support for these industries.

"As we embark on our recovery, cultural activity has a pivotal role to play in reinvigorating our economy and communities as well as promoting individual wellbeing."


Inverness opens £6m artists' residence

15 Feb 2022

A £6m arts facility in Inverness has opened to its first residents.

Sited in a former Victorian school, construction on The Inverness Creative Academy took four years.

Project developers say the space features affordable accommodation for up to 44 artists and 54 workspaces for creative businesses, social enterprises and charities.

A public space at the venue is expected to be completed later this month.

The project was managed by Wasps, a national provider of creative workspaces across Scotland.


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