Unique funding partnership backs Festival ambitions for wider reach

6 November 2018

PLACE launch IMG 6838 02

The first details of a major new investment programme for the Edinburgh Festivals have been announced today [06 November 2018], which will enable festival programmes to be more diverse and global, benefiting new participants and future generations. 

In a unique three-way partnership between the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals, the PLACE [Platforms for Creative Excellence] programme will provide £15 million over the next five years for a range of creative and community projects which will renew the Festivals' ambition and purpose after the defining moment of their 70th anniversary. The Programme is funded by the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland. 

The introduction of the five-year commitment of the Platforms for Creative Excellence Programme creates a strategic approach to evolving the future direction of the festivals through long-term developments and collaborations with global as well as Scottish partners. 

Today's announcement of the first £5.8m of this investment programme supports a huge range of local, national and international projects across three areas which will be game-changers for the scale, innovation and reach of the festivals: 

  • Sustained and strengthened programming innovation: which will see new commissions, global and European premieres, multi-year national and international programming partnerships and onward tours of work, including:
    • A global programme of performance, creative development and community engagement as part of the International Festival
    • Spectacular arts interventions developed by globally renowned companies with local partners as part of Hogmanay celebrations
    • A unique programme bringing Scottish and international writers together to explore hotspots in world politics and share inside stories of their journeys with audiences
    • Creating and exporting major interactive exhibitions based on Scotland's research strengths in science and technology, with new international partners
  • Increased creative development opportunities across Scotland: which will see skills development opportunities for schools, teachers, young people and professionals using the Edinburgh Festivals platform, including:
    • An innovative schools programme called Inspiring Generations, bringing world-class theatre and dance into 21 schools alongside year-round artist engagement to help teachers boost creative learning
    • An international partnership with the Earth Charter Initiative to develop the Global Storytelling Lab as a fulcrum for new experimental work emphasising people and places
    • A challenging nationwide film programme of curated screenings, workshops, masterclasses for and with young people from across Scotland
  • Improved lives for citizens and communities through cultural engagement: which will see community partnerships, community-based productions and creative learning projects, including:
    • A dynamic Fringe plan to break down barriers to the arts by collaborating with 31 charities in Edinburgh's most socially-excluded communities
    • A stimulating series of new public artworks commissioned with community partners in under-served areas
    • The creation of a new jazz performance centre, rehearsal space and open-access music hub at the heart of one local Edinburgh community

The PLACE programme recognises the Edinburgh's Festivals unique role at the centre of Scotland's cultural and tourism sectors, with recent studies having shown that:

  • the Festivals invest c£14.4m annually with Scottish based individuals and organisations on creative programming and event production
  • they had an attendance of c4.7m during 2018, putting them on a par with a FIFA World Cup and second only to the Olympic Games
  • 50% of people at the Festivals are residents of Scotland, with the remaining 50% being visitors to Scotland
  • the economic impact of the Festivals on the Scottish economy is £313m annually, with most of that funding benefitting the accommodation and wider tourist sector 

At the end of its five year programme, it is anticipated that the PLACE programme will have strengthened the resilience of the Festivals as key national assets, enhanced Scotland's global creative reputation through innovative programmes, contributed to positive outcomes for communities, schools and citizens, and brought more money and jobs in to the economy. 

Announcing the PLACE programme, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said:

The investment is about ensuring Festivals can continue to develop and innovate so they can be world leading in a competitive market, to share the cultural experiences of the Festivals more widely across Scotland and to help more residents and communities of Edinburgh to be part of the Festivals city. The Scottish Government is committed to sustaining and improving Edinburgh's position as the world's leading festival city. This partnership will provide £15 million over the next five years and builds on the £21 million we have provided to the Edinburgh Festivals through the Expo fund since 2008

Commenting on the announcement, City of Edinburgh Council Leader Adam McVey, said

Borne out of our productive City Region Deal discussions with the Scottish Government, this joint funding package is a commitment to protect the legacy and support the future of our festivals. Between them, the festivals attract audiences of over 4.5m and are vital to our city's success and reputation, adding £313m to the Scottish economy every year.  It is a huge milestone to announce this first phase of investment. The funding will support some really pioneering projects, ones which without our joint support could not take place.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, City of Edinburgh Council added:

The Festivals have never been more successful yet there are challenges on the horizon. This one-off funding package is a chance to bolster our Festival City's international ambitions and build on their 70 year legacy. In line with our own aspirations to expand the reach of festival activity beyond the city centre and into our communities, and to bring the benefits of the festivals to some of the most socially excluded in Edinburgh, many of these projects are also perfect examples of how we hope to see the festivals develop going forward.

Responding to the announcement, Sorcha Carey, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, said:

The Festivals'success has always rested on a combination of the local, national and international - resulting in inspirational programming which is authentically rooted in Scotland and creatively engaged with the world. The PLACE programme will support us to sustain and enhance our unique programming - nurturing our creatives, stimulating our economy and energising our communities.

Iain Munro, Acting Chief Executive, Creative Scotland, commented:

Edinburgh's Festivals are a very important and precious asset for culture in Scotland.  They play a vital role in connecting Scotland to the world through showcasing our outstanding talent on the international stage and bringing people together from across the globe. Platforms for Creative Excellence elevates and enhances this work further, not only in Edinburgh, but connecting with new artists, audiences and companies across Scotland and beyond, helping strengthen our global creative reputation. 

Today's funding announcement of £5.8m is for the first three years of the PLACE programme and decisions on the further £4.2m will be made in 2021/22 – with that total of £10m being supported by £5m from the Festivals, spread over the full five years of the programme, to create an overall funding package of £15m.

[Pictured in the front row - at the announcement of the funding programme in St Bride's Centre, Edinburgh which will become a new jazz performance centre as part of the PLACE funding - from left to right are Sorcha Carey [Chair, Festivals Edinburgh], Fiona Hyslop MSP [Cabinet Secretary for Cultural, Tourism & External Affairs, Scottish Government] and Adam McVey [Leader, City of Edinburgh Council].

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