In January 2014, Helmsdale was announced as the winner of a Creative Place Award 2014. Run by Creative Scotland, the award scheme celebrates the creative achievements and ambitions of communities outside of Scotland’s cities and recognises the invaluable contribution that creative activity can make to the social and economic well-being of smaller, often rural, towns and villages.
For Helmsdale, winning a Creative Place Award is recognition of the creativity and vibrancy of the community, those who live and work here, and those that are drawn here, enthused and inspired by the unique culture of our small village in the far north of Scotland. It highlights the breadth and quality of work that has already been done here and provides an opportunity to build on this work with increased ambition and confidence. Promoted nationally and highly regarded, the award also raises the profile of our community and we look forward to welcoming new visitors to Helmsdale and showing them all that we have to offer.
The award supported an additional programme of activities in 2014/2015 titled Serendipitous North, a mapping project and residency programme that made visible the creative connections that exist within our remote community and celebrated the skills and imagination of Helmsdale’s inhabitants.
Serendipitous North investigated six creative artforms: sculpture, music, crafts, painting, dance and writing/storytelling. An established creative practitioner from within each field was invited to work in Helmsdale over a period of 6 weeks, finding and mapping the creative activity existing within the community related to their artform and culminating in the creation of new work that was inspired by their time in the village.
Serendipitous North offered a fantastic opportunity to build on the creative work that was already being done in the village and allowed us to further benefit from the value that can be realised through imaginative and ambitious thinking. Mapping the creativity of Helmsdale enhanced the local sense of pride and collaboration with established creative practitioners provided opportunities for the community to engage in creative activity, learn new skills and share their own.
The production of new work by established artists celebrating the diversity of our place emphasises Helmsdale as an inspirational environment for high-quality production and the public performance/exhibition of these works should draw visitors to Helmsdale, attracting new audiences and supporting our local economy.
We would like to thank everyone for their generous local support, for taking initiative, for making things happen and for being such a special community. Without the place and its people, and without the activity that goes on behind the scenes this would not have been possible.
A Day in Helmsdale
A great short film made in support of Helmsdale’s Creative Place Awards nomination.