Pier Arts Centre, Stromness

2015 – ‘Stories and Fables’ Commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise

This study was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise with the aim of understanding how cultural life in the Orkney Islands has developed over the past 30 years. Recognising that Orkney has been particularly successful in this field, notably through the St Magnus International Festival, the Pier Arts Centre and the craft industries, HIE wished to see whether there were transferable lessons that other parts of the region might draw upon.

The study is unusual in two ways. First, because it tries to trace what has hap; pened in a community’s cultural life over a long period of time: the natural starting point – the late 1970s, when both the St Magnus Festival and the Pier Arts Centre were established – is a time when James Callaghan was Prime Minister. Secondly, it is unusual in its focus with why things happened in the ways that they did: in seeking explanations for the distinctive successes of Orcadian cultural development.