A new creative and cultural industries strategy aiming to help shape the future development of the sector in the Outer Hebrides has been published this week.
The strategy aims to grow and develop the industry in the Outer Hebrides, helping individuals and businesses involved in the creative and cultural industries to maximise their competitive advantage and capitalise on economic opportunities.
Developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) and Skills Development Scotland, the three-year strategy builds on recent research and consultation on the economic impact and future opportunities for the sector.
The fastest growing sector in Scotland, the creative and cultural industries in the Outer Hebrides have recently been identified as supporting around 500 jobs and adding more than £33 million to the local economy, with particularly strong levels of employment in broadcasting, textiles and heritage. Creativity and culture are also recognised as forming part of the social fabric of the islands, generating community and social wellbeing, and making the Outer Hebrides an attractive place to live, work and visit.
Councillor Archie Campbell, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar commented: "This strategy recognises our strengths in heritage and culture, Harris Tweed, Gaelic content and broadcasting. The Comhairle is committed to supporting initiatives which will create jobs and add value within the sector, in order to increase its overall economic contribution to the local economy."
Mairi Buchanan, Senior Development Manager at HIE, said: "The Outer Hebrides has many distinctive strengths as highlighted in the strategy. The area is host to a number of renowned creative and cultural people, businesses, events and facilities which build on its cultural and creative base. The strategy seeks to build on these strengths and generate increased economic impacts.
"HIE is working with a number of individuals and businesses to grow the creative industries in the Outer Hebrides, creating new talent, networking opportunities and accessing new international markets. The creative industries have a substantial cultural community importance and together they make a vital and powerful contribution to the islands' economy."
As part of the work around the strategy, the Comhairle and HIE have been working with Hi-Arts to arrange a series of events for creative and cultural businesses. This will offer professional advice and training for cultural, creative and heritage professionals, including specialist advice and support in the areas of Crafts, Visual Arts, Heritage, Music, Screen and Broadcast, Writing, Marketing and Audience Development.
For queries regarding these events, please contact Robert Livingston HI-Arts on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01463 720884.