CABN – Creative Industries
By Mary Morrison, Creative Leader, CABN: Creative Arts Business Network.
Scotland’s arts and creative industries sector is a real success story. It is estimated to be worth up to £3.7 billion a year to the Scottish economy and is a key development sector for the Scottish Government. The creative industries are dominated by microbusinesses, and support to these businesses is crucial to their development. Across Scotland, a range of local and national networks exist to support the creative industries. These include Creative Edinburgh, and in the largely rural Scottish Borders, the Creative Arts Business Network (CABN) supports a diverse mix of artists, writers, musicians, performers, designers and makers, as well as a range of organisations and venues. CABN was a founding partner of Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival, which takes place every year in Hawick and brings a large number of international filmmakers to the town. In 2017, in partnership with the Talbot Rice Gallery (Edinburgh), Alchemy represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale, with the work of Scottish filmmaker Rachel MacLean.
The Scottish Borders has a rich cultural legacy, and a world renowned textile industry, where larger companies like Lochcarron rub shoulders with smaller designer/maker businesses such as Galashiels based ERIBÉ Knitwear. Heriot Watt University, School of Textiles and Design is a world leader in innovation and is also based in Galashiels. It is also home to hundreds of contemporary practitioners, including a thriving literary scene which builds on and reinvents the traditions of great legends of Scottish literature like Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg - the Ettrick Shepherd. As well as connecting and supporting creatives through a programme of professional development support, CABN delivers innovative projects. One such project - ‘Scott’s Treasures’ – was a partnership with Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott, where CABN developed contemporary writing projects in the context of this fascinating house. The concept of ‘Scott’s Treasures’ was inspired by the National Museum of Scotland’s ’26 Treasures’ project, which Borders based poet Stuart Delves had been involved in, and was developed locally by Dr Sandra Mackenzie of the Abbotsford Trust and Jules Horne (CABN Advocate for Literature). Funding was then secured from The Scottish Book Trust (Live Literature Funding) to deliver the Scott’s Treasures project.
On the launch of the project in 2014, Dr Sandra Mackenzie said:
‘Sir Walter Scott described Abbotsford as “a museum for living in” and filled his home with an astonishing collection of artefacts, objects and treasures from home and abroad which inspired his writing. Following the success of our first Poetry Showcase event last year, we are delighted to work with CABN again and encourage local writers to follow in Scott’s footsteps as they take inspiration from our fascinating collection.’
Poets interested in Sir Walter Scott’s magnificent collection of quirky treasures were invited to take part in workshops at Abbotsford House to inspire new poems around the collections. The workshops were run by Borders based poets Julian Colton, Anita John and Dorothy Alexander who led the poets through different approaches and forms of poetry. Dr Sandra Mackenzie of the Abbotsford Trust illuminated the stories behind the individual objects, or ‘treasures’ and these formed the starting point of new writing which was presented in the atmospheric setting of the Library of Abbotsford House in November 2014.
Each of the 16 poets who took part had been inspired by a range of objects in different rooms of the house, including: the head of Robert the Bruce in the Hallway, a Toadstone amulet in the Study, and portraits of Scott and his French wife Charlotte Charpentier in the Chinese Drawing Room.
Other projects delivered by CABN include con-TEXT - an innovative series of residencies for artists and designer makers at Heriot Watt University, School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels. 6 creatives developed new ideas and products, accessing the world class facilities, library and expertise at the University.
As part of a vibrant programme of events, CABN runs a series of PechaKucha Nights in Galashiels, showcasing and bringing to light the inspirations and processes of Borders based creatives.
PechaKucha is a simple presentation format where creatives present 20 images for 20 seconds per image to showcase their work. The worldwide phenomenon that is PechaKucha began in Japan, is pronounced ‘P-cha K-cha’ and literally means ‘chit chat’ in Japanese. It is a fast and furious format, with a highly visual emphasis.
Local designer-maker Sarah Taylor, who is also CABN’s Advocate for Crafts, presented at the inaugural PechaKucha Night in Galashiels - or Vol 1 in PechaKucha speak. Sarah works in e-textiles and combines optical fibres within woven textiles and design-led artefacts to create light emitting textiles. She uses traditional, craft-based processes in conjunction with digital and responsive technologies. You can view and listen to Sarah’s PechaKucha presentation ‘Archive Inspired Digital Lace’ here and browse the presentations from Vol 1-5 of PechaKucha Night Galashiels on our city page.
The Scottish Borders has a range of venues – including hotels, a major conference venue at Springwood Park in Kelso, historic houses, independent arts venues and a range of museums, galleries, centres and venues operated by Live Borders. It is a uniquely placed region – a Borderland – with an exciting future being realised by its creative sector.
CABN is part of Live Borders Arts & Creativity, and is supported by Creative Scotland.
With thanks to Mary Morrison and everyone at Creative Arts Business Network (CABN).