Ashley Smith-Hammond

Our monthly summary of news from across Scotland’s culture and arts sector.

Now that we are past Easter, you are likely planning for the coming summer. Festival fever will be upon us soon enough – especially as this year marks the 70th anniversary for the Edinburgh Festivals. Before we are swept up in their wake, let’s take a moment to look back over the past month’s doings in Scotland’s cultural sector. 


Awards & applause

The National Theatre of Scotland’s Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour has won two separate awards recently! The Oliver Award for Best New Comedy AND the Tonic Award for women in theatre. These inaugural awards celebrate the achievements of game-changing women.

Fife Cultural Trust’s new Carnegie Library has just been named the best building of the year in the 2017 Edinburgh Architectural Association (EAA) Awards



Richard Parry will become Glasgow International’s new Director after serving as Curator-Director of Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool. He follows Sarah Mccrory, who has been appointed Director of the new contemporary art gallery at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Jo Coomber, formerly of Dobbies Garden Centres, will step in as the new Director of Public Engagement at National Galleries of Scotland.

You may be surprised to know that Mashable’s founder and CEO Pete Cashmore is from Scotland. He built the publication up over the past 10 years and was recently profiled by The Drum.



Scottish Government has approved funding for two new WASPS Studio Projects. Both the Perth Creative Exchange and Midmills, Inverness studio projects have been given a boost thanks to Regeneration and Capital Grant Funding from the Scottish Government. WASPS state that the need for creative workspace in both of these cities is significant, and both of these projects will play a huge role in sustaining local creative communities in smaller cities.

Dundee publisher DC Thomson is launching a new charitable trust to develop a historic printworks into a £18m culture hub. The West Ward Works building will act as an arts venue hosting live performances, festivals and exhibitions.

TWO new film production studios are in the works, both outside Edinburgh.

  • Pentland Studios have been green lit by the Scottish Government. The plan includes building six sound stages on a 106-acre site but it is opposed locally by the current landholders.
  • Guardhouse Studios on the grounds of Heriot Watt University will include eight studio buildings as well as exterior lots, and it will be related to another new studio which is to be built in the north of Italy by Guardhouse.

A range of venues in Leith are expected to benefit from the plans being developed by Leith Creative, which is working with local residents to look at ways to continue the redevelopment of Edinburgh’s port area. You can still get involved – learn more from the Leith Creative website.

An innovative partnership between a local Edinburgh school and the Edinburgh International Festival will see Castlebrae Community High School in Craigmillar to be used as a venue for performances during the festival this summer.

Edinburgh is about to gain a bespoke performance space for dance in the A-listed St Stephens Church in Stockbridge. A former director of English National Ballet, Peter Schaufuss, is behind the project.

Finally, a salutatory reminder from the Sunday Herald, which reflected that it may be easier to raise money for venue development than maintenance or programme development: “it remains the case that it seems a deal easier to find the money for capital projects in the arts than to sustain – far less develop – the budget for making the work that is the only justification for the buildings.”



Creative Carbon Scotland have recently published their 2016 Green Arts Initiative Report which showed a growth in the number of participating organisations (we are proud to be amongst the 170 members) measuring and monitoring the core environmental impacts of their work including transport, energy use and waste management.

There’s a new report from the European Commission on audience development. Key findings confirmed that the link between artists and audiences is, in the words of the report, an “immensely local phenomenon. Culture grows where people meet: in their neighbourhoods, in their cities, in their schools, at cultural centres often within a short distance of their homes.”


For more on what’s afoot across Scotland, see our April summary piece on Scotland’s cultural sector news.


Main image credit: Edinburgh by Charles Clegg (CC BY-SA 2.0)