New assembly aims to boost culture and the arts

A new co-operative for culture, heritage and the arts across Argyll and Bute will hold its first meeting this weekend.

The Cultural Assembly aims to promote the area across the UK and internationally, attracting visitors with financial support from Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership Awards.

Interestingly, although Argyll and Bute Council’s area is divided into four regions, for this project the same area is split into eight, with Helensburgh and the Rosneath Peninsula forming part of ‘Loch Lomond and the West Clyde Sea Lochs’ – one person from each area sits on the board, and the local representative will be elected on Sunday.

The initiative is holding its first meeting this Sunday, March 22, in The Tower in Helensburgh from 3pm to 5pm and anyone working in the sector – or interested in moving it forward – is encouraged to attend.

A spokesperson for the assembly’s steering group said: “We believe strongly that everyone who works in the culture, heritage and arts sectors – as a volunteer, employee or artist – will benefit from being part of an independent co-operative with its own voice.

“This is a great opportunity for us all to work together to showcase the wealth of activity in this area and to promote Argyll as a creative destination.”

Under Creative Scotland’s Place Programme up to £250,000 is on offer for proposals, which also require match funding and should be cross-regional and cross-discipline.

The assembly aims to tap into this, as well as mapping culture, heritage and arts, allowing sectors to work together more closely.

The council’s policy lead for community and culture, Robin Currie, said: “Our culture, heritage, arts, Gaelic language and music are an intrinsic part of what defines Argyll and Bute’s identity, character and appeal.

“There is huge potential to develop these assets and their contribution to our cultural tourism and their support of the economy and we are looking forward to working with the culture and heritage sectors alongside Creative Scotland in taking this exciting project forward.”

Further meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

The initiative follows a study by Business Tourism Solutions Ltd, commissioned by the council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, in March 2014.