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One week to go until XpoNorth creative industries conference

Published: 08/06/2022

There is just one week to go until XpoNorth’s eagerly anticipated creative industries conference, which takes place online on June 15 –16.

XpoNorth, HIE's specialist support mechanism for creative industries, is set to bring together everyone from top international speakers and creative business leaders to creative industry students.

The event will offer them the chance to learn from some of the best in the business, network with peers and unite to discuss new ways of working.

A diverse panel of national and international speakers from creative, digital and heritage sectors will take to the virtual stage over two days including Gareth Jones, one of the original designers at Dyson; Steve Gardam, the director of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre; Chris Bonnello, multi-award-winning author; and Neil Webster, executive producer and script editor.

Embracing the storytelling theme, this year’s event will hear from award winning poets, authors and literary agents in various sessions offering insights into the world of publishing. Michael Pederson, poet and winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson award, will lead a session on poetry; indie authors John Jarrold and Amy Collins will explore ways in which agents and indie authors can and are working together; and Coinneach MacLeod, otherwise known as The Hebridean Baker, and award-winning author, Malachy Tallack, will discuss writing as a passion. 

The conference will also feature a much-anticipated exclusive sit down with Belladrum Tartan Heart festival founder, Joe Gibbs, and Kilimanjaro Live CEO, Stuart Galbraith, when XpoNorth will be taking a candid deep dive through the past, present and future of one of Scotland’s most loved festivals. Delegates will also enjoy a very special keynote with Musician’s Union General Secretary, Naomi Pohl, the first woman to take up the role in the Union’s almost 130-year history. 

This year’s XpoNorth digital conference will open with a keynote speech from Culture Minister Neil Gray. XpoNorth 2022 will be delivered online through the Socio app and the conference will offer networking opportunities, specialist advice sessions, digital trade stands for creative businesses to showcase their work.

Culture Minister Neil Gray said: “The creative industries have been fundamental to Scotland’s economic recovery from the pandemic and there is great potential for them to drive productivity and growth particularly in the Highlands and Islands.

“XpoNorth 2022, with its diverse range of speakers from the national and international marketplace, is an ideal forum for a lively exchange of ideas. This is particularly important to ensure that the creative industries in the Highlands and Islands emerge from these difficult times in a strengthened position.”

Iain Hamilton, head of creative Industries at HIE and co-founder of XpoNorth, said: “XpoNorth is about providing insight and support for the sector and the annual conference has been a highlight in the creative industries calendar for many years. The creative economy continues to present significant community and economic opportunities for the Highlands and Islands, with XpoNorth again delivering an important platform for our regional businesses to engage with networks from across the national and international marketplace.

“We are pleased our annual conference will again offer a great opportunity to highlight the strength and diversity of the creative economy across the Highlands and Islands.”

To register for XpoNorth 2022 conference and for more info, visit: