Executive Summary

Orkney Folk Festival, 2017 - Copyright Sean Purser

Orkney Folk Festival, 2017 - Copyright Sean Purser

Orkney’s distinctive cultural landscape has evolved over thousands of years and the arts have without doubt played a hugely significant role in shaping the islands, the people who live here, and those who visit.

Orkney has provided the inspiration and situation for some of the most talented artists and unique works of art of the 20th and 21st centuries and because of this it has a reputation that extends far beyond its own shores.

Our ambition is that Orkney continues to be defined by this rich artistic culture. That the next generation are able to foster their creative talents, that arts organisations, festivals and events continue to develop and showcase work of international reputation and that the arts sector, is together, able to play a greater role in shaping a healthy, vibrant and sustainable future for the islands.

Whilst this ambition depends on many factors, some of which we will have more control over than others, we recognise the value of a shared vision and the role that policy can play.

Orkney’s Creative Future has been developed over a period of 12 months and is the result of extensive efforts by the Orkney Arts Forum. The development of the strategy has also been influenced by open public consultation and focused conversations. The strategy outlines 3 strategic themes which reflect the needs of the sector and the community. Although distinct in their presentation the 3 themes are closely interlinked and together provide a framework for developing the arts in Orkney over the next 10 years.

These themes are intended to act as a platform, not only for the arts, but for work in regeneration, economic development, social mobility, education, health and wellbeing, and seek the shared challenges that may only be achievable by working together.

Whilst the strategy looks forward, it is also an opportunity to celebrate achievements in the arts since the conception of and over the duration of the last development plan. In the past few years it is notable that a new generation of talented artists and designers have begun to consolidate their practice and relationship with Orkney. Over this same period Orkney has continued to host acclaimed artists, present critically acclaimed exhibitions, musical premieres and stage internationally significant events.

On the following pages you will find examples of some of these moments as well as short commentaries from people across Orkney that reveal the significance of the arts to them. Orkney’s Creative Future seeks growth and continuity and demonstrates
a commitment to develop the arts in a way that positivity impacts on the lives of artists, audiences and communities.

Rik Hammond, Chair, Orkney Arts Forum