Unique funding partnership backs Festival ambitions for wider reach

The first details of a major new investment programme for the Edinburgh Festivals have been announced today, which will enable festival programmes to be more diverse and global.

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.

PLACE launch phone pic 975x400

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.

Edinburgh International Science Festival


 Edinburgh International Science Festival will place science at the heart of   culture by:

  • Developing and touring innovative new science-themed content that plays to Scotland’s research strengths, to audiences in Scotland and across Europe
  • Devising new frameworks and opportunities for upskilling the creative people from across science, and the arts and digital/creative industries - including through a delegate programme and early-stage development of new content
  • Expanding the festival’s work with underserved audiences in local communities to remove barriers to access and train youth leaders to embed science as part of their core activities

Edinburgh International Children’s Festival


 Inspiring Generation is a new innovative programme, to be launched in   Imaginate’s 30th anniversary year, designed to:

  • Inspire schools to engage more deeply than ever before with theatre and dance
  • Inspire new and more diverse audiences to attend the festival
  • Inspire artists to make new theatre and dance for children and young people
  • Inspire teachers to find new ways to use the performing arts in their practice

Edinburgh International Film Festival


 Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) provides a platform for the world’s   best films and filmmakers, for industry and talent development, and for young   people to engage with film – as filmmakers, as curators and as audiences. With   support from the PLACE Programme EIFF will:

  • Embed its industry and talent development programmes within the artistic vision of the Festival, creating pathways in film talent development for participants from across Scotland
  • Deliver an inspiring, challenging and accessible programme of curated screenings, workshops, masterclasses for and with young people from across Scotland 

Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival


 A new direction for Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (EJ&BF) that will   underpin a strong future: year round programming, with impact at local   community, Edinburgh, Scottish, and international levels – based at St Brides   Community Centre, Dalry. The programme will include:

  • Community music engagement programme for the city of Edinburgh
  • Carnival, multi-cultural arts, and street arts hub for the city and Scotland
  • Support for the Scottish jazz and blues sector, including an annual conference, a rehearsal and small scale performance centre in Edinburgh and new international initiatives
  • A long term relationship with an established Edinburgh community group, aiming to increase cultural, social, and economic benefit for the local community

Edinburgh Art Festival


 A series of ambitious international commissions, supported by a strong network   of national and international partners; a dedicated programme for developing   new artistic and curatorial talent; and two multi-year partnerships with local   communities resulting in new works co-commissioned with a community.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society


 The Fringe programme will help to deliver the vision that everyone, irrespective   of their background, should have the opportunity to experience and express   themselves through creativity. Building upon the Fringe’s international   reputation, it will deliver positive outcomes for artists, industry professionals,   communities and young people across three strands:

  • Building Scotland’s global arts marketplace - by strengthening the world’s greatest meeting place for creatives, industry professionals and media
  • Breaking down barriers to the arts - by collaborating with 31 charities in Edinburgh’s most socially-excluded communities to improve access to culture
  • Inspiring young people in our schools - by bridging the gap between performing artists on the Fringe and Scotland’s teachers and young people

Edinburgh International Festival


 The International Festival will produce a global programme of world class   performance, creative development and community engagement designed to   secure the international reputation of the International Festival and of the City   of Edinburgh as a centre of 21st century innovation and creativity.  It responds   to the urgent need to represent a wider range of voices than those currently   offered – geographically, socially and artistically - harnessing their work for the   wider good of the citizens of Edinburgh and the development of Scotland’s   creative sector and individual artists. It will operate as an expansive   collaboration, partnering with government agencies, businesses, arts   companies and the education sector in Scotland, the UK and globally.

Edinburgh International Book Festival


 The Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) will build confident,   empowered communities of thought via three core programmes of activity:

  • Citizen: A three-year residency programme, empowering communities across Edinburgh to engage in democratic discourse and build a relationship with the August Festival
  • A biennial programme bringing Scottish and international writers together to make physical journeys exploring geopolitical contexts and create work inspired by their experiences
  • Playing with Books: A programme of original cross-artform commissions exploring new ways of presenting books and ideas

Scottish International Storytelling Festival


 Programme investment will ensure the sustainable growth of the Scottish   International Storytelling Festival (SISF) and its connection to Edinburgh and   Scotland by nurturing the creativity of place through a combination of strategic   lines of action, leading to Programme Innovation, Creative Development   Opportunities and Improved Lives for Citizens and Communities:

  • Global storytelling LAB and Earth Charter Initiative;
  • Artists commissions: Scotland and the World;
  • Digital innovation;
  • Partnerships and Residencies;
  • Storytelling bursaries and Apprentice programmes;
  • People’s Parish: Creative Place Practice;
  • Community outreach campaign;
  • Online resources development; and
  • Volunteers programme

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay


 Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will invite an international arts company to take over   and reimagine segments of the iconic Street Party on 31 December each year.   Each year, a world-leading cultural partner will collaborate with Scottish   companies to create large-scale interventions along Princes Street, at the heart   of the Hogmanay celebrations. In front of crowds of thousands, these   innovative partnerships will result not only in new work, but skills development   and the exchange of ideas across international boundaries, as well as growth in   the organisational capacity, competency and creative practice of all partners.

Festivals Edinburgh


 Festivals Edinburgh will develop three projects to connect with more   communities and creatives, sustaining Edinburgh’s leading festival city position   locally and globally:

  • The first component is mapping the community engagement opportunities of all the festivals, creating easy to access information, and extending connections with new areas and new partners across Edinburgh
  • Secondly, a project to increase knowledge sharing on festivals management to creative professionals across the country will be delivered through networking, peer support and advice
  • Finally, by capturing impacts of all PLACE programme projects, an international evidence bank will be developed on how festivals can work at the heart of cultural, social and economic wellbeing


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