Creative Place Awards 2012 Revisited
St Andrews – Winner, Under 100,000 Residents
The £150,000 prize has enabled the Byre Theatre and St Andrews Partnership to programme a Year of Celebration, showcasing the wide variety of cultural events held in and around the town throughout the year. It's also helped to provide a valuable central base for the town's creative community and sparked the development of new partnerships beyond the creative sector, as project director Jacqueline McKay explains:
"The award has provided a real focus for the arts in St Andrews and has brought festivals together to work in partnership to 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."
As well as establishing the Creative Place Hub, the money has enabled the appointment of both a Press Officer and a Projects Assistant, to help promote both the award itself and the Year of Celebration events.
The centrepiece of the Year will be two community productions of MacPherson's Rant at this year’s St Andrews Festival. Taking place on the 25 Nov, festival goers can watch the performances in a specially built marquee on the lawn of Madras College.
Events in 2012 so far have included: Fife Jazz Festival; StAnza; On the Rocks Student Arts Festival; Crail Food Festival; a Byre Youth Theatre production of Bugsy Malone; East Neuk Festival; The World Saxophone Congress; Inside Out Festival; and St Andrews Voices.
West Kilbride – Winner, Under 10,000 Residents
Since opening in May, West Kilbride’s Barony Centre has received a wealth of positive feedback about both the venue and its volunteers. It's also welcomed a record number of visitors to exhibitions in the town. Maggie Broadley, director of Craft Town Scotland, recalls the moment she heard they'd won the award and reflects on what's been a landmark year for the organisation:
"2012 has been an amazing year so far for Craft Town Scotland – and it was given a perfect start by winning a Creative Place Award in January. When we heard ‘West Kilbride’ announced we were shocked, then elated as the realisation sank in that now we could put our plans into action. Our bid centred round the creative programme for The Barony Centre; a recently developed community owned asset which opened in May 2012. Since then, we’ve been able to host a series of high-calibre contemporary craft and design exhibitions which have both challenged and delighted local audiences and visitors alike – visitor numbers in the first 5 months have already matched our previous total for a 12 month period."
Craft Town Scotland’s award of £100,000 has also enabled the centre to complete its first maker in residence project, WEAVATHON, which attracted 30 young people and a number of local residents to a 24 hour weaving marathon with textile designer Angharad Mclaren. In addition, Space Unlimited have been commissioned to research how to effectively engage young people with the new centre, with a view to incorporating their ideas into the venue’s plans for the future.
Maggie goes on to say: "It’s been particularly rewarding to extend our programme to include young people, we’ve had schools involved in the residency and drop-in workshops and also established a youth-led enquiry to look at how we can make the Barony Centre and CTS a more ‘youth-friendly’ environment. Whilst the cash award has made a huge difference to our programming, the credibility and recognition that goes along with it has boosted morale and encouraged our organisation to be even more ambitious than before. This is the first arts funding we have received since our project was established in 1998 and I firmly believe the Creative Places Awards recognise the importance of place making and the role of creativity within smaller communities."
Wigtown – Winner, Under 2,500 Residents
Organisers of the Wigtown Book Festival have been using their award of £50,000 to develop the festival as well as initiate a range of other creative activities within the community. However as festival director Adrian Turpin explains, a key aspect of their plan was increasing Wigtown's creative activity throughout the year:
"Our plans were quite ambitious. We made a choice, when we entered the competition, that if we won we wouldn't use the award just for the festival but for activity all-year-round, for example creating a new lecture series, bringing residential writing courses to the town for the first time, and trying to raise the profile of the National Book Town.
"It's made us think slightly differently about the town and about how it can be a creative place throughout the year. It's about making us think about what the strengths of our community are: whether that's its landscape, its history or individuals who live here. It's very rare that you get a chance to do that. Most importantly, I think the award has made us more open to collaborating with people. That, I hope, is going to be one one of the biggest legacies."
New additions to the 2012 festival included a range of participatory events where audience members were invited to try activities including writing, drawing, sculpting, and singing, as well as the first installment of the Wigtown Lecture series, where author Lee Graham talked about the future of space exploration. Local musicians were also encouraged to create and perform new work through a series of masterclasses called A Little Night Music, and a collective of local teenagers organised Wigtown: The Festival - a miniature version of the full festival for 14 – 25 year-olds.
In addition, the award has been used to revive the Book Town branding and creative writing courses are in development to lead into the Year of Natural Scotland.
More information on the Creative Place Awards can be found in our Explore section.
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