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Cta Man

Shetland gears up for XpoNorth

Published 09/06/2021 by Helen Smith 3 min read

Camera filming XpoNorth and streaming it live

As the creative sector gears up for XpoNorth, Helen Smith of HIE’s Shetland team is looking forward to seeing more islanders getting involved.  

My highlight in HIE’s packed calendar of events is the annual XpoNorth conference, taking place on 16  and 17 June this year. 

It’s a free conference, and the largest of its type in Scotland, for anyone working or wanting to work in the creative sector. The programme is packed with highly skilled and experienced speakers from all genres within the creative, digital and heritage sectors. I might be a wee bit biased, but I think the programme of talks, workshops and seminars gets better every year! You can check it out for yourself here.   

If this year’s event wasn’t digital, I might fall over myself trying to get to Patrick Grant (of Sewing Bee fame) to ask him about his work as a Saville Row tailor. 

Pre-Covid, the conference was held at the Eden Court Theatre and the Ironworks in Inverness. Both venues were a hive of activity and you couldn’t help but be swept up in the buzz – musicians, filmmakers, textile designers, publishers, broadcasters, artists and performers from every possible type of creativity mixed and mingled over the two days. New connections were made and creativity blossomed.

As we all know, last year was a year unlike any other but that didn’t stop the XpoNorth team. They were determined to deliver a conference, so they did that 2020 thing – they pivoted and delivered it digitally. And with great success. This year they’re building on that success. 

In previous years, delegates from Shetland might have felt it tricky to attend. Sometimes it’s not possible to step away from the business or day job for a couple of days and then there’s the added expense of travelling to Inverness to factor in too. Doing it digitally sweeps those barriers away and the Islanders can enjoy the same experience as anyone anywhere.

You can attend the event using the Social App and access content from wherever you are and either watch live or download it and watch it later.  And there’s another advantage, you don’t have to decide which great talk you’re going to miss when two are running at the same time. You can even interact and strike up conversations with speakers and other delegates via the app, so the networking opportunities are still there – maybe even slightly easier, and no more trying to track someone down between talks, or at the bar.

My only wish is that I could hear the Elephant Sessions live – they’re playing at the official afterparty at the Ironworks on 17 June. As I write this, I’m playing Riverview (Ros T Remix) to get me in the mood! I suppose that’s one of the benefits of working from home, I can play music in the background and not annoy my colleagues!  

It’s not far away now so grab your tickets and register for XpoNorth Conference.

I hope you enjoy XpoNorth as much as I do!  

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