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Cta Man
Sound board

Creative Industries

A vibrant, innovative industry with big potential.

What are the creative industries in the Highlands and Islands?

With its rich culture and heritage the Highlands and Islands is a hotbed of creativity.

The sector is made up of micro businesses and freelancers who share the market place with a small number of multinational and major companies. TV, software, fashion, crafts and publishing sustain the majority of jobs however music, arts and antiques, and architecture are also identified as significant growth areas. It is a fast-moving vibrant sector that has both economic and social benefits for our region. 

Scotland's Creative Industries were identified in Scotland's Economic Strategy as one of the growth sectors in which we can build on, increasing productivity and growth. It has particular significance for us because of its economic and community role.

The screen machine mobile cinema lorry

Using culture and heritage to support community development

Our area’s community-based culture, arts and heritage activities are a big part of what makes our region special.

We provide targeted business development assistance to businesses and social enterprises operating in the culture and creative industries sector and support community-based cultural activities.

We work directly with cultural organisations, such as Fèisean nan Gaidheal (FnaG), to support opportunities for youth and community participation in Gaelic culture related music and drama. FnaG currently works with 45 separate Fèisean organisations, many in our most fragile areas.  

Our islands, towns and Inverness city boasts many high quality venues, arts centres and performing arts facilities. Our growth clients include Mareel in Shetland; Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre in North Uist; and the Highland’s largest theatre facility Eden Court.

We also work with Regional Screen Scotland (RSS) which brings outreach art provision to remote areas, including the much loved Screen Machine.



We hold Scotland's leading Creative Industries festival every year in the capital of the Highlands - Inverness. It is also a creative industries network that provides year-round business support and help on behalf of HIE.

FInd out more about XpoNorth

Creative Scotland

We work closely with Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.

Visit the Creative Scotland website
Malka, a musician at XpoNorth 2018

Creative Industries Stats


of value to the region


people working in the industry in our region


of growth within the sector between 2010 and 2017



Community organisations working in heritage across our region are part of this project designed to look at business models to commercialise the cultural sector.

Our communities are working with St Andrews University on transnational digital activities. Co-funded by the Interreg North Sea Region Programme 2014-20, the project opens up knowledge and expertise from 16 partners in seven countries.

Visit the website >>

Girl standing by the famous Callanish standing stones in the outer hebrides

Connecting technology and heritage

Find out how we're helping community groups to use technology to protect and promote our heritage

View case study

Your Space Music

Olwen Macleod founded Your Space Music Lessons in 2013, from her island home in North Uist

View case study

Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop and Tamzene with two others marking the launch of Belladrum records

Belladrum Records help budding musicians

The Belladrum record label is creating exciting opportunities for musicians to develop their talent

View case study


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