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Cupido: Culture power - inspire development in rural areas

An international project developing new business opportunities in the culture and heritage sector.

CUPIDO is an Interreg North Sea Region cultural heritage project. In partnership with the University of St Andrews we're working with communities and social enterprises across the region on transnational digital heritage activities designed to help commercialise the culture sector.

CUPIDO's overarching aim is to develop new business opportunities in the cultural and heritage sectors to reinforce the economic position, competitiveness and social inclusion of local rural communities. This includes activities such as art, dance, music and cultural heritage.

The international partnership is bringing together organisations from Sweden (Länsstyrelsen Värmland – Lead Partner), Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway and UK (HIE and Creative Foundation, Kent).

The project runs from 2019-22. 

The Power of Culture, the DNA of a region

Cultural organisations, creative businesses and public sector agencies from across the Highlands and Islands have taken part in this international survey. Findings in our area show:


see culture as an economic driver


say digital innovation's key to preserving heritage


want to grow opportunities for young people


highlighted Orkney as a culturally inspirational place

Communities and CUPIDO

Find out more about the exciting digital projects being carried out by Highlands and Islands communities to share their cultural past and present.

Highlanders Museums Pow VR Image

The Highlanders' Museum

Home to Highland regiments heritage, the Highlanders' Museum is digitising its entire collection to make it easier to share artefacts and documents with the public. They're working with St Andrews University on Virtual Reality reconstructions to bring that history to life for visitors.

CUPIDO - The Highlanders' Museum
Rubha An Dùnain

The Aros Centre

The Aros Centre was the first organisation to work directly with the University of St Andrews as part of the CUPIDO project. Together they have created innovative animated content for the Skye Story and for use in a Virtual Reality exhibit.

CUPIDO - The Aros Centre
Scapa Flow Cupido

Scapa Flow

Scapa Flow Museum, in the Orkney island of Hoy, is working with St Andrews University to create digital reconstructions.
The Museum plans to build a virtual reality room where visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the Scapa Flow landscape in wartime.

St Kilda

St Kilda

The Outer Hebrides’ Ionad Hiort group is aiming to develop a world-class visitor centre for those looking to experience the isolated island of St Kilda remotely without physical travel.
The University of St Andrews is working with the group to develop a digital reconstruction of St Kilda and its history that will be exhibited via virtual reality. Get a sneak preview here.

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Stronsay Web

Orkney North Isles

Orkney North Isles Landscape Partnership, Orkney Islands Council and the communities of Westray, Stronsay, North Ronaldsay, Shapinsay, Rousay, Papay Westray, Sanday and Eday are working on a cultural Virtual reality project with St Andrews University.
The aim is to create a VR project designed to connect island communities and help promote and preserve their local culture, aiming to attract an increase in visitors to the islands and their local cultural heritage centres.

See the Partnership's photo gallery
St Andrews Team V2

Meet the Team

Find out more about the St Andrews University Open Virtual World's team which is working with our organisation on the CUPIDO project.

CUPIDO and St Andrews University


On demand - Cupido virtual workshops

We've run two seasons of virtual workshops to help you make more of digital to share your stories with new audiences, particularly while the pandemic restricts visitors.

Series one was called 'Bringing Museums to the Home' and it promotes new ways helping museums to reach audiences through virtual tours, galleries, live events and social media. It was facilitated by University of St Andrews, and included international contributions.

Our second series has been delivered with XpoNorth and is designed to help those involved in heritage projects to reach audiences in new ways. Find out how to develop a digital strategy, and practicalities for specific techniques including live streaming, developing an app, and financing digital projects.

Watch recordings of the workshops and access the presentation notes below.

S1W1 - How To Make Heritage Journeys Workshop

Virtual Tours offer virtual travel in time and space. A virtual traveller can explore historic buildings, dramatic landscapes of the discoveries of archaeology without leaving their home. Creating a virtual tour enables audiences to connect with heritage during lockdown and provides a valuable permanent resource.

S1W2 - Digitising Movable Cultural Heritage Workshop

Artefacts lie at the heart of museums, they provide gateways to imagine how people lived in the past, to the stories and lives associated with the object. Yet at the best of times an artefact can only be in one place and at the worst we are locked out from that place. Digitisation offers the potential for representations of artefacts to be accessed from anywhere.

S1W3 - Connecting with Heritage Workshop

Millions of people use social media everyday, it's the easiest way to connect with existing and new audiences. In this session we look at how to communicate heritage through social media whilst maximising impact.

S1W4 - Virtual Heritage Journeys through Digital Maps Workshop

Maps provide a great way to look at the world and to organise heritage information. Digital maps are better still because they let us link engaging media to relevant locations and take people on virtual journeys. People use digital maps like Google Maps every day, making it easy for them to join virtual heritage journeys we make.

S1W5 - Going Live with Social Media Workshop

There is something special about live. Whether it be sporting events, music or theatre. Repeated or recorded versions all have something missing. With social media it is now possible to do our own 'Do It Yourself live broadcasting'.

S1W6 - Virtual Reality Workshop

Through digital reconstructions of historic, places scenes and artefacts visitor can travel through time and space to experience and explore both natural and cultural heritage. Walking the streets of pre reformation Edinburgh, climbing to a Pictish hill fort or sampling the wonder of a medieval Cathedral all become possible with virtual reality.

S1W7 - Creative Commons and Wikipedia Workshop

Working in the digital domain, it is easy to make copies and for these to be shared. The Creative Commons provides a framework which can be used for licensing the way digitised heritage is used. Wikipedia uses creative commons licensing to provides a global repository of knowledge. We will look at the advantages and methods of connecting heritage into this repository.

S1W8 - Virtual Museums Workshop

A virtual museum can provide a framework for organising digital content and for putting on exhibits and exhibitions. Done right it should help connect communities with their heritage and provide a platform for projecting that heritage to wider communities and audiences. It should provide resources which empower volunteers and professionals to create digital exhibits and exhibitions.

S2W1 Virtual Reality and Engagement with Heritage

Impacts of Covid on heritage and museums and ways of responding.

S2W2 Digital Imaging with Digital Heritage Galleries

How you can use digital to bring objects to life.

S2W3 Using Audio to Communicate Heritage

Use of sound in heritage. Recording, editing, and sharing.

S2W4 Recording, Editing and Streaming

Use social media platforms to take your heritage live.

S2W5 Remote Participation

We have used digital to share heritage, COVID has meant we’ve had to look at new ways to reach people.

S2W6 Modelling Landscapes

Find out how modelling landscapes can bring added interpretation or recreate lost landscapes.

S2W7 Visualising Archaeology Through Digital Reconstruction

Find out about digitising archaeology.

S2W8 Virtual Travel Through Time and Space

Find out about different types of digital immersion.

S2W9 Virtual Museums Without Walls

Everything you need to know about VR past, present and future. Bringing narrative and rich media content together.

S2W10 Responding to Covid: Digital Heritage Strategies

How to develop digital goals, ambitions and a road map for achieving those goals.

S2W11 Routes to Finance

There is potential for innovation and experimentation in the cultural, heritage and technology sectors.

S2 W12 Project Evaluation & Management

Does history and heritage have a monetary value?


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