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Creative talent from Hawaii to the Hebrides on show at XpoNorth 2019

Published: 26/06/2019

Tradition and technology will feature at Scotland’s leading creative industries festival when it returns to Eden Court, Inverness 3-4 July.

XpoNorth brings together a host of regional, national and international speakers to discuss the hottest topics shaping and influencing the sector.

The annual festival also hosts a spectacular live music showcase at city centre venues as well as networking opportunities for businesses.

XpoNorth is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and the European Regional Development Fund, as well as the Northern Innovation Hub on behalf of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal partnership.

Film screenings and an in-depth discussion on the opportunities for minority languages in media and technology are among this year’s highlights.

MG Alba will chair a panel discussion on Wednesday 3 July at 14:15, bringing together industry figures representing, Gaelic, Basque, Sami and Hawaiian.

Entitled ‘Re-orientating the Map: Minority Languages and the Creative Industries’ , speakers are Domhnall Caimbeul, CEO of MG Alba (Gaelic) who will be joined by Na'Alehu Anthony, director Oiwi TV (Hawaiian); Itziar Azpeitia Iruretagoiena, head of special projects, EITB (Basque); Ingá-Máret Gaup-Juuso, singer (Sami).

The panel will discuss the opportunities that technology and media can offer to bring exciting, authentic, new content to global audiences.

To accompany this session, there will be lunch preview screenings of two films from very different locations – South Uist and Hawaii.

Wednesday 3 July at 12:30 is San Fhuil (In The Blood) by Hebridean film-maker Beatrix Wood. The film looks at a family immersed in crofting in South Uist and shows how, with humour, wits and determination, the crofters battle to protect their way of life.  

Thursday 4 July will see the screening of Moananuiākea: One Ocean, One People, One Canoe made by Hawaiian director Na’alehu Anthony. It tells the dramatic story of a round the world voyage in a traditional Polynesian ocean-going canoe.

HIE’s head of creative industries, Iain Hamilton, said: “The showcase element remains an important aspect of XpoNorth and offers a fantastic platform for talent to access a global network of industry professionals. Gaelic is both a cultural and economic asset to the Highlands and Islands and provides an opportunity to create products that have a real provenance, something that really hits the mark with consumers.

“The discussion itself will be interesting and valuable with a focus on how the media impacts the language. The films offer audiences the chance to see two different island cultures even if they are not attending the whole event. Both films are excellent, and we are delighted that we can make them available to audiences and industry to see.”

Wednesday’s programme will also see Beatrix Wood meet award-winning Nigerian writer and musician, Chibundu Onuzo, author of ‘The Spider King’s Daughter’ and Welcome to ‘Lagos’.

Coming from very different geographical backgrounds, both work across multiple art forms, and both have place and a sense of authenticity at the core of their creative work.

XpoNorth is completely free to attend and accessible to all. Register at Eden Court on the day, or in advance online.

Registration for tickets and the full programme is at

Photo: Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries at HIE

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