The organisers of a major cultural conference being held in the Highlands and Islands are delighted by the response. Around 120 delegates will be attending 'Old Maps and New: Where Culture and Social Enterprise Meet' in Inverness in November. The conference is now almost full, with a very limited number of spaces left for people to attend, with delegates coming from across Scotland and as far away as Australia for the event.
It will be also be webcast live at www.northings.com, allowing additional groups and organisations to tune in to the presentations and discussions, and to contribute their own questions and comments during the event. The conference proceedings will be available afterwards for streaming from a range of websites.
The event is being jointly presented by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Creative Scotland, and is being organised by HI~Arts. It will be held at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness on November 12 and 13.
Bringing together the many different organisations and individuals in the sector, delegates will discuss which models of working will allow cultural community growth to continue despite challenges in public sector funding.
The conference will highlight the experiences of innovative groups from across the region. This will include the work of the St Magnus Festival in Orkney, Taigh Chearsabhagh Arts Centre in North Uist, Shetland Arts and Timespan in East Sutherland.
The recently appointed National Gaelic Arts Officer Brian O hEadhra will talk about his remit, while HI~Arts Director Robert Livingston will reflect on the changes in the cultural landscape of the Highlands and Islands since the first major cultural conference in the area, in 1991.
Keynote speakers will be Willy Roe, Chair of HIE; Seona Reid, Director of Glasgow School of Art and previously Director of the Scottish Arts Council; Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, and Neil MacLean, Director of the Social Enterprise Academy.
A panel drawn from national and regional agencies — Museums and Galleries Scotland, Creative Scotland, the Social Enterprise Academy, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and HISEZ, the Highlands and Islands Social Enterprise Zone, will consider the question 'what do we do next?'
Day two of the conference will the chaired by Dr Donna Heddle, Director of the Centre for Nordic Studies - a unique initiative supported by UHI, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Orkney and Shetland councils and Orkney College UHI.
The conference is being held on the weekend of the centenary of the birth of the poet Norman MacCaig, and takes its title from one of his poems. There will be opportunities to reflect on his work during the conference, through links with Top Left Corner from Assynt, and the Scottish Poetry Library.
To lay the groundwork for the conference HI~Arts has commissioned an essay, Spaces to be Filled, from author and researcher François Matarasso, best known in the Highlands for his highly influential study of the Fèisean movement, Use or Ornament.
The full programme, and François Matarasso's essay, can be downloaded from the Hi-Arts website.
Before, during and after the conference, Hi~Arts is making the most of technology to share and debate the ideas and issues being discussed. In person and virtual delegates as well as the wider public can engage through Twitter and Facebook and by posting comments on the Northings website at www.northings.com