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Spirit:360 funding awards announced for Highland creative professionals

Sixty-six creative professionals from the Highlands will benefit from a new commissioning programme, Spirit:360, it was announced by High Life Highland and Creative Scotland today.

The Spirit:360 programme was established to support the creation of new work inspired by stories reflecting the theme of the ‘Spirit of the Highlands’. When complete, the commissions will be showcased on a new online platform as part of the ‘Spirit of the Highlands’ project, alongside the original story which has inspired the work.

Spirit:360 is a partnership with the Highland Place Partnership and £150,000 was made available through Creative Scotland Place Partnership funding to support this new commissioning programme. The programme was open to creative professionals based within, or originally from, The Highland Council area, with commissions of up to a maximum of £1,000 available for emerging and established people practising professionally across all art forms, including textiles, visual art, crafts, jewellery, music, film, photography, dance, written word, and theatre.

During this period of recovery from the pandemic, this programme adds to existing support for the creative sector, such as the recently announced Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards (VACMA) funded by Creative Scotland in partnership with Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG) – see https://www.highlifehighland.com/vacma/ for more details.

Fergus Ewing MSP, co-chair of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group said:

“It is tremendous to be able to support the creative and cultural sector in the Highlands through the Spirit:360 project, particularly during this period of recovery from the pandemic – and the huge number of applicants for the fund shows that it was welcomed by the creative sector too. The creativity inspired by the stories of our communities throughout the area will encourage people from this country and beyond to explore the spectacular places and communities in this part of the world, discovering all that it has to offer.”

Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and co-chair of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group said:

“Through the Highland Place Partnership, we are delighted to be working with Creative Scotland to deliver this unique opportunity for creative professionals in the Highlands. With this commissioning fund we have been able to support people practising professionally in the creative sector across the Highlands, supporting new work during this challenging period for us all.  I’m so excited to see the creative ideas from the successful applicants as they are developed.”

Karen Dick, Head of Place, Partnerships & Communities at Creative Scotland said:

“As we take the next steps towards renewal and recovery from the impact of Covid-19, it’s vital to continue to support opportunities for artists and creative professionals to develop and make work. Spirit:360 highlights the wealth of creative talent in, and from, the Highlands and we look forward to seeing the work inspired by the Spirit of the Highlands. Creative Scotland is pleased to support this project through the Place Partnership ensuring that our collective creative voice continues to be heard.”

Spirit:360 is supported by the Creative Scotland Place Partnership programme and is administered by High Life Highland, as part of the Spirit of the Highlands project. To find out more, contact [email protected]

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.