Today (Wednesday 16th June) as Scotland’s leading creative industries conference begins, XpoNorth has unveiled a new short film showcasing the organisation’s far-reaching support network. The film, which was created by Elgin-based Northport following a competitive process, features five recent success stories of the XpoNorth year-round programme of support including film maker, Sean Grieve; children’s author, Corrina Campbell; Artist and maker, Louise Barrington; the Ullapool Museum’s curator and manager Siobhan Beatson and Inverness based musician and producer, Josh Mackenzie. Also featured in the film is XpoNorth’s Head of Creative, Brand & Digital, James Roberts.
The film explores a series of creative journeys and features a cross-reach of businesses that have engaged with XpoNorth's specialist Sector Support Programme. With the international narrative of the Highlands and Islands being a key theme of this year’s conference, the film explores the rich relationship between creativity, innovation and place, offering delegates a snapshot into the diversity of the region's unique landscapes and vibrant cultural economy. Director Sean Grieve, who premiered his North Coast 500 documentary at XpoNorth 2019 before it was picked up by STV, shares his experience of making his debut film and the inspiration he took from his home on the Isle of Skye. Orkney based artist and maker Louise Barrington talks about the importance of resilience and the challenges of creating exciting new work against the backdrop of the pandemic. Siobhan Beatson, curator and manager of the Ullapool Museum, who works closely with XpoNorth’s Heritage Sector Specialist Nicola Henderson throughout the year, highlights how culture enriches everyone’s lives and encourages continued curiosity. Children’s author Corrina Campbell, who first engaged with XpoNorth by entering its annual Tweet Pitch competition, which matches unpublished authors with agents and publishers, reveals how her perseverance has paid off and Inverness based musician and producer, Josh Mackenzie, highlights the importance of community-based music and venues. Josh has a long-standing relationship with XpoNorth’s Sector Support Programme and was commissioned to create the original backing track to the new film. The film brilliantly captures the essence of the work that XpoNorth does throughout the year to grow the creative economy in the region and really highlights the deep impact and far-reaching support that it provides, all for free.
As this year’s XpoNorth creative industries conference opens its virtual doors to everyone in the creative economy - from students eager to learn through to industry veterans seeking to collaborate and discuss the future of the sector - this video acts as a reminder of the expansive and year-round network and support available to the creative, cultural, heritage and digital sectors across the Highlands and Islands. The conference is an ideal starting point to engage with XpoNorth and take advantage of the wealth of expert advice on offer.
With no charge to attend, XpoNorth is also one of the most accessible touchpoints of its kind, creating an environment where attendees across all levels of experience can come together to exchange ideas and connect with leading regional, national and international networks. Talking about the support network offered by XpoNorth on the film, XpoNorth’s Head of Creative, Brand & Digital, James Roberts said: “If you have a creative idea, don’t wait to put it in to action. Year round support is there for you to develop your concepts with industry specialists.”
‘New ways of working and storytelling’ is the theme of this year’s XpoNorth 2021 which returns as a two-day interactive digital conference on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th June. Delegates can engage in an exciting, dynamic programme of national and international speakers from creative, digital and heritage sectors including BAFTA award winning writer, actor and TV presenter, Sir Tony Robinson; historian and broadcaster, Professor Kate Williams; fashion designer and judge on ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’, Patrick Grant; founder and CEO of Crowdsourcing Week, Epi Ludvik; Anna Lowe, co-founder of Smartify, the world’s most downloaded museum App, makes a welcome return to the conference; director of digital development at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sarah Ellis; digital producer at Scottish Ballet, Tony Currie; director of audience and experience at the Royal Academy of the Arts, and former General Manager of Merchandising at The Met in New York, Jo Prosser; author of six books of non-fiction including Adventures in Human Being, which won Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2015, Gavin Francis; Royal Television Society award winning composer whose recent projects include Sundance 2020 winning film ‘The Reason I Jump’, Nainita Desai; writer, comedian and actor who has the enviable job as writer/performer for the American late night talk show ‘Conan’ Levi MacDougall; co-CEOs of Buccaneer Media and the team behind Emmy-winning, Marcella, Tony Wood and Richard Tulk-Hart and from Netflix’s music creative and production team, Rudy Chung.
Registration remains open throughout the conference so those still without a free ticket can register at: http://bit.ly/XpoNorthRegistration. Participants will then need to download the Socio Event App for free to access the panels, trade stands and networking opportunities: https://bit.ly/SocioApp_XpoNorth2021