Pick from a range of interesting facts and detailed information about Scotland and the Scottish people.
Scotland is known the world over as a place of history and heritage as well as cutting edge art and culture
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Live & Workin Scotland
Key information on the practical aspects of moving to Scotland and where to get advice. Plus read about the experiences of people who have moved to Scotland from all over the world.
Scotland is renowned across the globe for its rich culture and heritage, and its contribution to the world past and present. From its thriving contemporary arts and music scene to its achievements in industry, medicine, science, law and literature, Scotland's story is one of immense achievement
Meeting the challenge of remoteness
A good model
You do what they do in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland: see the problem not as a problem but as a challenge, tackle it with enthusiasm and use your ingenuity.
There is a wealth of artistic talent in the region. Little wonder when you consider the raw material of inspiration: a landscape known the world over for its wildness and its magnificence. But linking local artists to gainful employment and providing training as well as bringing the arts to remote communities and taking indigenous arts out to a wider audience comprise the bundle of challenges that go with the territory.
In answer to this, Highlands and Islands Arts Ltd (HI-Arts) was set up in 1990 in order to promote and develop the arts in the region. In just over a decade it is proving to be an exemplary model of innovation.
Nurturing and nourishing
HI-Arts has taken a multi-pronged approach, one being to link the arts with other sectors. Two inspired initiatives are currently helping meet the challenge.
Stimulating Creativity was a pilot project launched in 1997 to explore the potential benefits of linking arts and childcare. Partnerships were created between local musicians, visual artists and drama practitioners and childcare groups in four remote areas of the Highlands and Islands. The results proved beneficial for all parties involved and have led to demand from childcare organisations to take part in similar projects. HI-Arts is therefore setting up a new scheme ArtsPlay a programme of training for childcare workers and artists with the emphasis on "training the trainers".
The other initiative links Arts and Health. Since 1999 HI-Arts has been working with the Highland NHS Trust to foster the role of the arts in both preventive and curative health and social care. To promote the value of the arts in health care two publications were launched at a seminar in Inverness in December. One of the speakers was Sarah Munro a traditional fiddler who has been awarded a NESTA* fellowship to develop composition and performance skills with a view to researching the therapeutic role of scale patterns for those with mental and physical disabilities.
*NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts helping people across the UK develop their innovative ideas within these fields. A fuller report on NESTA awards in Scotland will be covered in a feature in March.
Seeing some action
For some, however, access to the arts means being able to see the latest James Bond or Harry Potter film. HI-Arts addresses this too in the form of the Screen Machine. This silver screen on wheels transports a state-of-the-art widescreen cinema with 102 comfortable seats, air conditioning and digital stereo sound system from Ullapool to Ardnamurchan to Arran.
And for those who like the smell of greasepaint and the expectant hush as the houselights dim the HI-Arts Theatre Network offers a choice of seventeen theatre companies working in the region. From the Grey Coast Theatre company in the far north, to Dogstar Theatre Company in the Highland capital Inverness to the uniquely intimate Little Theatre in Mull the myths and everyday stories of Gaeldom are given contemporary dramatic interpretation, keeping the culture alive, cogent and potent.
The sound of HAIL
The heart and soul of the Highlands and Islands have, of course, always been found most inimitably in its music. The fiddle, the clarsach, the pipes and the lilting voice create, on the one hand, a spiritual signature of the Celt's deepest dreams and, on the other, a burling beat to dance the night away.
HI-Arts is actively developing music forums for both professionals and enthusiastic amateurs: one of the most exciting is HAIL (Highlands and Islands Labels) a forum for independent record labels, promoters and distributors and the gateway to some of the best music from Scotland today.