Unique Funding Partnership Backs Edinburgh Festivals’ Ambitions for Wider Reach

Unique Funding Partnership Backs Edinburgh Festivals’ Ambitions for Wider Reach

Today the first details of a major new investment programme for Edinburgh’s Festivals, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, have been announced. The PLACE [Platforms for Creative Excellence] programme will provide £15 million over the next five years for a range of creative and community projects. The Programme is funded by the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland. The investment will enable festival programmes to be more diverse and global, benefitting new participants and future generations.

The introduction of the five-year commitment of the PLACE Programme creates a strategic approach to evolving the future direction of the festivals through long-term developments and collaborations with global as well as Scottish partners. Today’s announcement of the first £5.8m of this investment programme supports a huge range of local, national and international projects across three areas which will be game-changers for the scale, innovation and reach of the festivals:

Sustained and strengthened programming innovation

Increased creative development opportunities across Scotland

Improved lives for citizens and communities through cultural engagement

With the initial investment received, the Book Festival will build confident, empowered communities of thought via three core programmes of activity:

  • Citizen: A three-year residency programme, empowering communities across Edinburgh to engage in democratic discourse and build a relationship with the August Festival.
  • Outriders: A biennial programme bringing Scottish and international writers together to make physical journeys exploring geopolitical contexts and create work inspired by their experiences.
  • Playing with Books: A programme of original cross-artform commissions exploring new ways of presenting books and ideas.

The PLACE programme recognises the Edinburgh’s Festivals unique role at the centre of Scotland’s cultural and tourism sectors, with recent studies having shown that:

  • the Festivals invest around £14.4m annually with Scottish based individuals and organisations on creative programming and event production.
  • they had an attendance of  around 4.7m during 2018, putting them on a par with a FIFA World Cup and second only to the Olympic Games.
  • 50% of people at the Festivals are residents of Scotland, with the remaining 50% being visitors to Scotland.
  • the economic impact of the Festivals on the Scottish economy is £313m annually, with most of that funding benefitting the accommodation and wider tourist sector.

At the end of its five-year programme, it is anticipated that the PLACE programme will have strengthened the resilience of the Festivals as key national assets, enhanced Scotland’s global creative reputation through innovative programmes, contributed to positive outcomes for communities, schools and citizens, and brought more money and jobs in to the economy.

Announcing the PLACE programme, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “The investment is about ensuring Festivals can continue to develop and innovate so they can be world leading in a competitive market, to share the cultural experiences of the Festivals more widely across Scotland and to help more residents and communities of Edinburgh to be part of the Festival city. The Scottish Government is committed to sustaining and improving Edinburgh’s position as the world’s leading festival city. This partnership will provide £15 million over the next five years and builds on the £21 million we have provided to the Edinburgh Festivals through the Expo fund since 2008.”

Today’s funding announcement of £5.8m is for the first three years of the PLACE programme and decisions on the further £4.2m will be made in 2021/22 – with that total of £10m being supported by £5m from the Festivals, spread over the full five years of the programme, to create an overall funding package of £15m.

More details about the PLACE programme can be found on the Festivals Edinburgh website.


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