The community of Stornoway and the islands of Lewis and Harris have been awarded £125,000 as a winner of this year’s Creative Place Awards.
The Awards were announced to a packed audience at an evening awards ceremony, which took place at Falkirk Town Hall in the presence of the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop. The event was arranged by Creative Scotland in partnership with EventScotland and Falkirk Community Trust.
Stornoway and the surrounding villages will use the award for a programme to present and profile a route of artistic and cultural experiences into, throughout and beyond the town, so that Stornoway becomes a recognised gateway to the creative community of the Outer Hebrides.
Key activities include innovative and creative residencies in Stornoway Port Authority, the new Lews Castle Museum and Archive and other key local businesses and venues; traditional and contemporary Gaelic music and performing arts events in intriguing and unusual places; commissioning works to create an arts trail and route through the town; curated exhibitions in pop up venues; walking and Segway tours incorporating digital storytelling; specialist creative business support and a programme of staff development for all partners to raise the quality of the visitor experience.
Elly Fletcher, Chief Executive of An Lanntair, said: “We are overjoyed with this result. What a wonderful opportunity this is to celebrate the incredible, creative Gaelic community of Stornoway and the outlying islands of Lewis and Harris. We are delighted and cannot wait to get our project – ‘Bealach’ – off the ground, which will see a dynamic partnership from across our community come together to create a route and gateway to Gaelic arts experiences into, throughout and beyond the town of Stornoway.”
Fellow Creative Place Award winners are Moniaive/Glencairn Parish and Forres Area, who were awarded £50,000 and £100,000 prizes respectively. The winners of each category received cash awards to enable them to enhance and promote their creative activity throughout 2015/16.
Responding to this evening’s announcement, Janet Archer, Chief Executive at Creative Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Moniave/Glencairn Parish, Forres Area and Stornoway and the islands of Lewis and Harris on winning this year’s Creative Place Award. It is such a privilege to be able to share the passion and depth of commitment these communities are making through arts, creativity and culture. “The written entries, the inspiring films and the audio pieces we received from all nine finalists made this an extremely enjoyable, but difficult judging process. They all acted as powerful testimonies to the difference creativity is making to people everywhere and all the finalists should be fiercely proud of their achievements.
“We were bowled over by the quality of the submissions received this year – 32 entries from communities in Scotland, across 21 different Local Authority Areas. This is the highest number of entries we have received since these awards began four years ago, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the standard has never been higher.”
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, commented: “The Creative Place Awards celebrate all that is best about our communities in Scotland and recognise the hard work and imagination driving the cultural life of communities all over the country. There are exceptional creative programmes taking place in towns, villages and communities across the country and these awards demonstrate an ongoing commitment to supporting the development of projects that might not otherwise get recognition.
“Creative and cultural activity helps to support and shape our communities and places – fostering and reinforcing people’s sense of identity and community cohesion and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the exciting work this year’s three prize winners have planned.”
The Creative Place Awards winners were chosen by a Jury panel made up of: Janet Archer, CEO at Creative Scotland, (Chair of Jury panel); Jim Tough, Executive Director at the Saltire Society; Iain Caimbeul, CEO at Bòrd na Gàidhlig; Vic Galloway, Presenter; and Julie Fowlis, Musician. Falkirk was selected as the host of this year’s awards after winning a Creative Place Award in 2014.