Winners of the 2014 Creative Place Awards announced

Published: 18 Feb 2014

The communities of Helmsdale, Peebles and Falkirk have each won a 2014 Creative Place Award.

The winners were announced to a packed audience at Wednesday evening's award ceremony which took place in Kilmarnock's Palace Theatre.

Places under 2,500 residents (£50k), the winner is: HELMSDALE

Helmsdale is looking to run an additional programme alongside their planned Paradigm North project in 2014. This will be called Serendipitous North and will map the creative connections that exist within the remote community. Making visible the often unseen and unrecognised creativity of Helmsdale’s inhabitants while supporting the development of significant new work across multiple art forms by established creative practitioners, the project will celebrate and activate creativity within the community.  Financial support and developmental assistance will be made available to participating community members and groups in order to harness the momentum it generates.

Anna Vermehren, Director at Timespan said: "We are delighted to receive Creative Scotland's prestigious award, and deeply grateful to the panel for their support of Helmsdale as a Creative Place.

“In Helmsdale people seek and find. They have come here for centuries in search of gold; today they are inspired and enthused by the gems of creativity hidden in the small fishing village; and in the future they will find an astonishingly vibrant place on the remote East coast of Sutherland, in one of Europe's most remote areas that is deeply rooted in its Northern identity.

“It is Timespan's mission to be a cultural meeting place, and our role to engage the local population and our visitors in projects initiated and directed by contemporary artists of national and international renown.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who has contributed to today's success."

Places under 10,000 residents (£100k), the winner is: PEEBLES

Peebles community would use the Award to support an imaginative set of activities, events and installations featuring art and artists within the context of work, study, tourism, leisure and play; the enhancement and extension of the existing festival programme and the development of a marketing strategy in collaboration with tourism and business sectors.

Caroline Adam, General Manager at Eastgate Theatre & Arts Centre, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of the creative energies that make Peebles so special; and a great opportunity to make the town better, brighter and busier than ever.”

Places under 100,000 residents (£150k), the winner is: FALKIRK

Falkirk community will use the Award to support a project called Acts Of Discovery aimed at offering audiences a fresh look at the area and its cultural offering. Based on the themes of people, routes and pathways, Acts Of Discovery will build on and complement Falkirk’s cultural offering by enhancing existing 2014 cultural activity.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council's spokesman for culture, leisure and tourism, said: "I'm delighted the local area has won a Creative Place Award. The award will provide additional cultural funding to enhance our creative programme for 2014. I'd like to congratulate the team at Falkirk Community Trust - who successfully led the bid - for all their hard work and bringing this accolade to the local area."

Brian McNeill, musician and project supporter, said: “I am delighted this project has been approved. It’s going to mean so much to everyone involved – especially the many young budding singers and players who will have the opportunity to develop and polish their traditional music skills. I cannot wait to start bringing this project to life and know we’ll all have a great time along the way”.

Alan Bissett, author and project supporter, said: "I'm delighted to hear that Falkirk has been the recipient of the Creative Place award.  This - like the recent completion of the magnificent Kelpies sculpture - should really help amplify focus on Falkirk as a cultural hotspot.  I'm very proud of my hometown and look forward to helping bring to national attention the imaginative talents and energies of the people who live there."

Representatives from the three communities received the awards at tonight’s ceremony hosted by broadcaster Dougie Vipond at The Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock.  The winners of each category have received cash awards to enable them to enhance and promote their creative activity throughout 2014.

The Creative Place Awards celebrate and recognise the hard work and imagination that contributes to the rich cultural life of Scotland’s smaller communities, as well as their social and economic well-being. The initiative focuses on creative programmes in areas out with Scotland’s main cities.

Twenty applications from a range of organisations, across twelve local authority areas were received for the 2014 Creative Place Awards. From this high calibre of entries, nine nominations were shortlisted across three categories:

Places with less than 2,500 residents
Places with less than 10,000 residents
Places with less than 100,000 residents

Nominees were selected for the wide involvement of the whole community as well as the track record of their existing creative programmes.

The Creative Place Awards winners were chosen by a panel of judges made up of: Janet Archer, CEO, Creative Scotland, (Chair of Jury panel); Malcolm Roughead, OBE, Chief Executive and Director of Marketing, VisitScotland; Jackie Kay, Writer; Emma Halliday, Architecture Curator and Programme Director for Access, Architecture and Design Scotland; and Geoff Fagan, CEO, CADISPA (Conservation and Development in Sparsely Populated Areas).

Responding to this evening’s announcement, Janet Archer, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland said: “Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Creative Place Awards.  I look forward to visiting Helmsdale, Peebles and Falkirk to see how this money has contributed to enriching each community through these creative programmes.

“We received a high calibre of applications for this year’s awards and the judges had an extremely difficult decision selecting the winners.  Every single submission has evidenced how imaginatively communities across Scotland are using creativity to transform lives and inspire new futures.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, commented: “The Creative Place Awards celebrate all that is best about Scotland and our communities. These shortlisted nominations demonstrate the vibrant culture and heritage of our communities and vividly illustrate how culture and creativity can enrich, empower and shape our communities.

“We are committed to ensuring communities across Scotland are encouraged and supported to participate in these awards, ensuring the hard work and imagination that contributes to the cultural life of our communities is recognised and rewarded. My congratulations to all those shortlisted tonight.”

Rhona Corscadden, Senior Events Manager, EventScotland said: “The calibre of the applications for this year’s awards is extremely high, and they highlight the strength of the creative industries across Scotland. These awards showcase the breadth of creative talent we have in our communities and each of the applicants should be congratulated for their achievements to date.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The Creative Place Awards are a fantastic way of promoting and celebrating Scotland’s wealth of creative talent. I would like to congratulate Helmsdale, Peebles and Falkirk on their outstanding achievements, and hope it leads to more visitors coming to see what these ‘Creative Places’ have to offer in the year that Scotland welcomes the world.”

Commenting on East Ayrshire’s hosting of the 2014 Creative Place Awards and how winning an Award in 2013 has had a positive impact across Kilmarnock, Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “It has been an honour for Kilmarnock to host this year’s Creative Place award ceremony. Last year, Kilmarnock scooped the top award which allowed the Council, with our partners from local theatre group Centrestage, to bring a range of new activities and experiences right into the heart of the town centre by opening The Hub and The Studio within two empty shop units, which supported workshops, street theatre and cabaret performances.

“Last year was a fantastic year for culture in Kilmarnock, which was thanks in no small part to the support from Creative Scotland and winning the Creative Place award. I am sure this year’s winners will also grasp the opportunities made available to them with both hands.”

Speaking from this evening’s ceremony, Provost Jim Todd of East Ayrshire Council, said: “I am delighted to be attending the ceremony and to speak at the evening reception held within the Palace Theatre and Grand Hall complex. I also took the opportunity to personally congratulate each of the winners and discuss their plans to develop culture in their area in the coming year.

“Kilmarnock is a thriving arts and culture venue, and I am very proud of the exceptional year round calendar of events, which include music and book festivals, outdoor theatre performances and art exhibitions, available to our local community.”

Fiona Lees, Chief Executive, East Ayrshire Council, said: “The Creative Place awards 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. We know first-hand that the arts can transform lives and can encourage sustainable regeneration.

“Kilmarnock stands tall alongside the art and culture offer of any city in Scotland and we are committed to further improving our creative programmes throughout East Ayrshire.”


Notes to Editors

The purpose of the Creative Place Awards is to enhance and promote the creative activities and programmes of smaller, specific communities in Scotland.  They aim to recognise achievements and ambitions in using these activities, both for the benefit of local communities, and to attract visitors.

Shortlisted nominees were selected for their track record in delivering a high quality programme of work, the quality of their plans to enhance their programme and for the involvement of the wider community.  Category winners receive funding to enable them to enhance their activity further. The Awards were not open to the nation’s cities.