Winners of Creative Place Awards 2013 Announced

The winners of the country’s Creative Place Awards were announced yesterday at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews by Creative Scotland.

The inspirational musical scene of the Pathhead Music Collective, the international creative links and artistic community initiatives in Huntly and the thriving arts venues and year round series of festivals of Kilmarnock all received awards in recognition of the opportunities they offered for wide community involvement within their creative initiatives.

Now in its second year, the Awards were established to celebrate and recognise the hard work and imagination that contributes to the rich cultural life of a community as well as its social and economic well-being.  The initiative focuses on creative programmes in areas outwith Scotland’s main cities.

Representatives from the three communities received the awards at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster Dougie Vipond at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews.  The winners of each category received cash awards to enable them to enhance and promote their creative activity throughout 2013.

For places with up to 2,500 residents, winning £50,000, the winner was Pathhead, Midlothian, home to 15 acclaimed musicians including Martin Green, Tom Bancroft and Karine Polwart.  The Creative Place Award will support Pathhead Music Collective in its aim to make Pathhead internationally renowned as a centre of musical excellence through a range of activities including increased performances, education outreach projects and three one day festivals.

For places with up to 10,000 residents, winning £100k, the winner was Huntly, a place which has developed world-wide creative community links through its ‘Town is the Venue’ programme.  Several projects, including the town re-branding, have been led by artist initiatives involving the community. The Award will enable Huntly to create a roaming initiative, ‘Walks of Life’, bringing together physical walking initiatives with creative and cultural opportunities.   In addition, over three years, including the Year of Natural Scotland and Homecoming Scotland, local arts groups and individual artists will be able to collaborate on a new initiative, ‘Hospitality in Huntly and District’.

For Places with up to 100,000 residents, winning £150k, the winner was Kilmarnock, awarded for it's thriving arts venues and year round series of festivals including Kilmarnock Edition Festival, Kilmarnock Fair Festival, Summer Symphony and Harvest and Imprint Festivals, presenting an ambitious range of cross art form programming.  The Award will enable the East Ayrshire Festivals to expand their programmes, including new work based in vacant shops in Kilmarnock as part of on-going work to regenerate the town centre.

Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development for Creative Scotland, says:  “These three communities are fantastic examples of how embedding arts and culture within the foundation of a community strengthens and improves people’s lives, impacting the social and economic wellbeing of the community.  The Awards celebrate how arts and creativity can promote the identity and character of a place.  Congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted places.  The creative vitality and energy demonstrated in this year’s shortlist is extremely impressive.”

Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Local Government and Planning who attended the awards ceremony, said: “The Creative Place Awards provide inspiration for our people and visitors by encouraging and promoting the exceptional creative programmes that are taking place in towns, villages and communities across the country. Culture really can be an important catalyst for economic development and a powerful force for regeneration. As well as attracting tourists and inward investment, creative and cultural activity helps to support and shape our communities and places, fostering and reinforcing people’s sense of identity and community cohesion. I congratulate the winners of today’s awards.”

The Awards were hosted in St Andrews, winner of the 2012 Creative Place Award for places with up to 100,000 residents.  Jacqueline McKay, former Chief Executive at the Byre Theatre and part of the team who submitted the Creative Place Award bid, said: “The Creative Place Award has provided a real focus for the arts in St Andrews. It has brought festivals together to work in partnership and better tell our creative stories with enhanced impact. We now have a Creative Hub that projects and festivals can work out of and we've attracted additional support for our year round calendar of projects. Importantly we've established new opportunities to collaborate with the business and tourism community and are confident that this way of working is here to stay.”

Alan Tricker, the Byre Theatre’s current Chief Executive said: “Being a recipient of the Creative Place Award has been tremendous for the Byre Theatre and St Andrews. We have been able to develop our relationship with local festivals, create a Festivals Office to help sustain them in the future and put on a stunning performance of MacPherson’s Rant as part of the St Andrews Festival.  Having the 2013 Awards ceremony at the Byre closes the circle for us. It is the end of a successful and vibrant year and is a chance to show our wonderful theatre to the 2013 recipients. We wish them all success in their endeavours.”

The application process for the next awards in 2014 will open in spring 2013, with an autumn deadline. Information about the application process can be found here. For more information about the Creative Place Awards go here.