Media Release: Highlands and Islands focus for Creative Scotland

CREATIVE Scotland, Scotland’s new national development body for the arts, culture and creative industries, today announced £240,000 investment in two new projects to encourage and support literature, theatre and dance touring in remote areas of Scotland.

The investment is part of Creative Scotland’s Rural Innovation Fund, a £750,000 fund to support innovative, cross-agency working in rural areas.

£200,000 support has been awarded to Highlands and Islands Theatre Network (HITN) who will operate, in partnership with Promoters Arts Network (PAN), North East Arts Touring (NEAT) and HI~Arts, a two year Northern Scotland Rural Touring Fund for theatre and dance companies in Scotland.

A minimum of eight theatre or dance tours (including a minimum of two dance companies) will be supported during the two-year period.

The Rural Touring Fund is open to companies and artists based in the Highlands and Islands and North East of Scotland and those in other parts of Scotland provided there is a commitment to engaging the local partners in the geographic areas served by the programme.

To further support innovative rural partnerships, Creative Scotland has invested £40,000 in the Island Writers Network, allowing HI~Arts, the arts and cultural development agency for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the chance to develop the network over two years.

HI~Arts has been promoting the work of Scottish island writers and aims to increase performance opportunities for authors as well as the accessibility of island literature around the world. This funding will also help develop a sustainable touring network for literature across the islands and beyond, building on and formalising the existing work. At least 30 new literature events will take place across Scotland’s Islands.

Andrew Dixon, chief executive designate, Creative Scotland, said:“Creative Scotland is a national organisation that will be dedicated to investing in people, talent, ideas and the arts. We will be investing heavily in enabling local communities and local agencies to achieve this.

“As one of Creative Scotland’s first commitments, we hope to see this rural touring fund grow to deliver wider and better access to the arts and encourage new partnerships throughout all of Scotland.

“By supporting initiatives such as these, we can present distinctive and accessible performance platforms that unite the Island and rural artistic communities, whilst allowing them to retain their distinctiveness.

Culture Minister, Fiona Hyslop, said: “The collaborative and innovative approach of the Rural Touring Fund brings together a number of art-forms and embraces Creative Scotland’s commitment to promote understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of cultural activities.

‘Creating new opportunities for live theatre and dance performances throughout the Highlands and Islands, where distance can sometimes be a barrier to attending major cultural events, will encourage participation by people living in remote areas and enhance their quality of life.”

Peter Urpeth, writing development co-ordinator, HI~Arts, said:”The announcement of the Rural Innovation rural touring funding for the Island Writers project is really excellent news. The islands are one of the most exciting places to be for contemporary writing in Scotland, with an immense depth of quality and originality.

“In recent years, island writers have been performing much more together in Scotland and beyond. This funding will enable us to make this writing accessible across the islands, it will enable much greater inter-island exchange and to further develop the literary networks across the islands that will be a great legacy of the project going forward.”

Muriel Ann Macleod, projects development co-ordinator, Highlands and Islands Theatre Network, said: “The North of Scotland Rural Touring Fund offers a unique opportunity for theatre and dance artists and rural promoters to collaborate in an innovative way to deliver exciting new performances for rural audiences in the North of Scotland.”

The Rural Innovation Fund is part of Creative Scotland’s £5 million ‘Innovation Fund’, which is investing in new partnerships that cross traditional boundaries while supporting and sustaining the country’s artistic community during the economic downturn.

For more information about the Rural Touring Fund, visit Highlands and Islands Theatre Network; Promoters Arts Network;  North East Arts Touring or HI~Arts websites, or contact Muriel Ann Macleod at T:(0)1851700475, E:

For more information about the Island Writers Network, contact Peter Urpeth at HI~Arts, T: 01463 720 885, E: or visit .


Notes to Editors

  1. Creative Scotland’s £5 million ‘Innovation Fund’ was announced by Ministers as additional funding to invest in new partnerships that cross traditional boundaries and support and sustain the country’s artistic community during the economic downturn. Its aims are to:

           Encourage and Sustain artists and creators of all kinds

           Ensure that their work is accessible to all

           Extend practical help to new creative entrepreneurs

           Support and sustain Scotland’s artistic community and economy now, at this time of recession, by offering new ways of getting funds into the hands of artists and creative practitioners across a wide range of disciplines

  1. The Creative Scotland Innovation fund will be invested during 2009/10 and 2010/2011
  2. Innovation Fund projects include:
  • Own Art: investment in galleries to improve and increase their digital capacity and online marketing capacity. (£250,000)
  • Vital Spark: awards of between £20,000 and £100,000 to encourage work that goes beyond the boundaries of creative disciplines and supports collaboration between artists, film-makers, practitioners and producers across disciplines. The Vital Sparks awards will reward experimentation, radical new work and innovative approaches to engaging with audiences. (£1 million) See press release here.
  • Digital Media IP Fund: designed to maximize the creative, cultural and commercial opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies. Created in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, who have invested £1.5million, alongside £1.5million from the Creative Scotland Innovation fund.
  • Starter 4 Six: a pioneering programme to support creative entrepreneurs, managed by Cultural Enterprise Office (£1million) see the Press Release for more information.
  • PARTners: £500,000 for the Creative Scotland Partners artists’ residency fund – to provide additional innovative residencies for artists to work with communities in education, health and the environment. The Innovation Fund doubles the funding currently available from the Scottish Arts Council
  • £750,000 for The Creative Scotland Rural Innovation Fund – a fund to support innovative, cross-agency working in rural areas

For further information about Creative Scotland, please visit

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Contact: Charlotte Rowland
Phone: 0131 240 2498