WASPS Opening @Paulcampbellphotography Reduced Size

Doors open at new creative hub in the Highlands

Published: 17/02/2022

The Highlands’ first creative hub opened its doors to the north of Scotland’s cultural and business communities this week (Tuesday 15), following a four year, £6m conversion of two historically significant properties.

Stuart McKellar (LDN), Claire English (Wasps), Stewart Wardlaw (HIE) @Paulcampbellphotography

Inverness Creative Academy is an Inverness-based complex that provides working accommodation for visual and applied artists as well as office space for the creative industries, social enterprise and charity sectors.

Managed by Wasps, Scotland’s national provider of creative spaces, the project has revived the redundant former Inverness Royal Academy buildings on Midmills Road in the heart of the city. 

The project was previously awarded more than £1m from HIE, through grant funding and a loan facility towards the costs of regenerating the former B-listed.

Stewart Wardlaw, senior development manager at HIE’s Inner Moray Firth team, said: “Wasps has an excellent track record of converting redundant historically significant buildings into artists’ studios and creative spaces, bringing economic benefits to cities. It’s great to see them open the doors of this fantastic facility, this week. It will allow people working in the creative industries sector in the Highlands to share their skills and ideas and promote collaboration and innovation.

“We are very pleased to support the project, which has been crucial to Wasps in achieving its mission, to provide high quality yet affordable studio and office accommodation for the creative sector. It will help the region to tap into the huge economic and cultural benefits of the arts and culture industry in the UK.”

Wasps Chief Executive Officer Audrey Carlin: “It is with immense pride that we deliver Inverness Creative Academy to the community, and I would like to thank all the supporters for their time and generosity, without which we would not have been  able to deliver this stunning facility for Inverness and the surrounding area.

“Now that the final element is complete we would like to invite organisations who operate in the creative, social enterprise and charity fields to visit Inverness Creative Academy, to see for themselves the attractive opportunities being based in this community can offer.”

The first tenants to move into the newly completed building are StrategyStory, an organisation dedicated to supporting local, national and international businesses with strategic development, established by former BBC Senior Producer Kate Hooper and Professor Donald MacLean.

StrategyStory co-founder Kate Hooper: "We're a Highlands and Islands business with both a local and international client base. We needed somewhere with the 'wow factor' that is also easily accessible to our international guests, and still gives us easy access to the communities and businesses that we work with across the region. The building is phenomenal and offers us a really impressive place to host our StrategyStory training and events."

Occupancy at Inverness Creative Academy overall has already reached 65%, with the final phase development only recently open for viewings. Those who are interested in applying for creative office space and flexible working accommodation are invited to contact Wasps via the website, www.waspsstudios.org.uk or by calling 01463 573753. Viewing events are scheduled for the evening of Thursday 3 March and during the day on Friday 4 March. To register for a Viewing Event at Inverness Creative Academy please email Lettings@waspsstudios.org.uk.

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