PlaCE Programme - Interim Report: Years 1 to 3 [May 2023]

16 May 2023

Place Interim Report - cover


The Platforms for Creative Excellence (PlaCE) programme is a unique three-way partnership between the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals. Created in 2018 as a legacy of the festivals' 70th anniversary year in 2017, this five-year programme aims to support the festivals' strategic development across three primary areas of work and  this report provides analysis of progress in delivery Years 1-3 (2019/20 to 2021/22) – a period which was hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the festivals’ resulting ability to deliver planned activity in both Year 2 (2020/21) and Year 3 (2021/22). 

Interim Report: Findings

1. Sustained and strengthened programming innovation  

  • Proportion of participants taking part in PlaCE-funded activities (rather than general festival activities) increased from 28% in Year 1 to 53% in Year 3
  • PlaCE funding supported and enabled production of high-quality cultural outputs, affirmed by 95% of programming partners  
  • PlaCE funding helped diversify the festivals' contributors/partners, according to 88% of core staff 
  • Number of activity strands funded by PlaCE remained relatively stable despite the challenging conditions  
  • PlaCE funding provided flexibility and support in shifting services online and continuing to commission ambitious work 
  • PlaCE funding played a significant role in festival resilience through the pandemic

2. Increased creative development opportunities across Scotland  

  • Co-created PlaCE activities and initiatives increased by 360%, indicating that models of collaboration have developed positively 
  • PlaCE partnerships with other arts and culture organisations and professionals remained relatively high (133 in Year 3) 
  • Number of international PlaCE partnerships dropped significantly, likely because of pandemic-induced restrictions 
  • Fewer PlaCE opportunities were provided to emerging practitioners reflecting a general move towards supporting established professionals who had lost their livelihood during the pandemic 
  • Levels of new collaborative partnerships returned in Year 3, with 283 individual cultural practitioners engaged for the first time through PlaCE funding, with 85% based in Scotland 
  • In the same year, 551 cultural professionals participated in PlaCE networking and skills development, with 85% reporting enhanced skills and knowledge they could not find elsewhere

3. Improved lives for citizens/communities through cultural engagement  

  • Despite the disruption of Covid, the number of community participants increased by a third during Years 1-3 of the PlaCE programme, and the number of school engagements rose by 72%   
  • Postcode data shows that this activity is well matched to need as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 
  • Community partners report high levels of satisfaction from their PlaCE engagement, with 97% reporting clear positive outcomes 
  • PlaCE has enabled festivals to engage with new and existing community/school partners at scale, across Edinburgh and Scotland 
  • Festivals report PlaCE transforming their work, democratising approaches, and taking a more equitable approach to co-creation 


  • Further explore, in the remaining funding period, how festivals are able to build resilience and capacity coming out of the pandemic 
  • Implement structured needs analyses, especially for emerging and early-stage professionals 
  • Share the learning and best practice from schools and community work both within the PlaCE cohort, and beyond Edinburgh  
  • Revisit international priorities and ways of working in the context of environmental concerns and global financial instability 
  • Funders (and Creative Scotland) to highlight and support effective forms of international collaboration. 

You can download and read the full Interim Report HERE.

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