Children and young people will be able to harness their curiosity, imagination and problem solving skills to achieve educationally, secure employment and confidently navigate life. Through new friendships and dynamic partnerships artists and organisations will foster collaborative cultural leadership and a more resilient future for the arts.

The next generation is a key theme that has emerged through the development of this strategy. There is a wealth of research and evidence available which shows just how important creative skills are to children’s development from a very young age. Curiosity, imagination and problem solving skills are essential to higher educational attainment and are shown to significantly improve performance in many subject areas. Furthermore there are significant links between creativity and the emotional well-being
of young people and their ability to manage and navigate life as they mature. 

We consider creative skills as critical, both for the future prospects of our young people and the future prosperity of Orkney. Our ambition is to embed creative learning from the very start of a child’s education and ensure that there is a diversity of opportunities for young people to develop the skills they will need in the future employment market and that Orkney will need to meet future opportunities and challenges.

“ What we are doing within the arts and art education is more than just a nice thing that makes life that bit more interesting. It is absolutely fundamental to developing a visually literate society, a society where people from all walks of life are able to read, critique and challenge their experience. ”

Rachel Maclean, Artist

Orkney can lead the way in providing an education driven by creativity. We will continue to innovate, promote and advocate creative approaches to learning. We will develop a shared understanding of creativity between learning providers and look to establish stronger links between the key stages of learning, from early years through to further education, thus establishing pathways for creative learning progression.

Retaining young people is not a challenge unique to Orkney but one faced by many rural communities in Scotland. We want to ensure that there is an innovative and sustainable arts sector with a greater number of creative opportunities for young people, catering for those who want to remain in the county and also to draw people back and encourage new people to Orkney. Building on a rich creative learning experience it is our aspiration to provide a wider range of training and development opportunities in the form of apprenticeships and further and higher education courses which will enable people to develop the very specialist skills required by the creative industries and cultural sector.

Continued professional development for artists and creative professionals is vital to individuals and the strength of Orkney’s creative sector as a whole. Due to our geographical context people must often seek specialist training out with the county and at a substantial cost. A better understanding of the sector’s requirements in this respect will enable us to identify gaps and shared needs, and seek more cost effective training solutions that will enable people to grow creatively.

Volunteers make a massive contribution to the arts in Orkney, in keeping with Scotland’s wider arts and cultural sector. Much of what is achieved would not be possible without their support and the diverse range of skills they bring with them. We will continue to support volunteers, ensuring they are able to develop new skills and enjoy their experiences. We will consider new platforms for skill sharing and the cascading of knowledge, and stimulate greater interdisciplinary working to help build capacity right across Orkney’s cultural sector. 

Sector aims and ambitions - People

  • Cultivate a shared understanding of creativity skills and creative learning across the arts and education sector in Orkney

  • Develop a greater range and number of creative learning opportunities in schools and communities

  • Support access routes into the arts sector and creative industries through apprenticeships, trainee schemes,
    further and higher education

  • Increase access to more regular and cost effective professional development opportunities for artists and creative sector employees

  • Build volunteer capacity across Orkney’s arts and cultural sector through knowledge sharing and training 

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