Business chief Martin Gilbert said yesterday a stronger focus on culture can help to rebuild the north-east’s battered economy.
The co-chief executive of Scottish financial services giant Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) was speaking as Aberdeen prepares to host its second annual Nuart street art festival.
He also compared the challenges and opportunities facing the Granite City with the Kent port of Folkestone, saying the two places have much in common other than their coastal locations.
Mr Gilbert said: “Both have suffered economic challenges as society, trade and the economy has changed around them.
“Folkestone, once a busy fishing port which benefited for a century and a half from the steamer, then ferry crossings to France was hit hard by the loss of cross-Channel ferries in 2000, when the Channel Tunnel opened. Folkestone’s Channel Tunnel is Aberdeen’s oil industry.”
Aberdeen and Folkestone are both now investing in a “joined-up approach” to arts-led regeneration, he said, adding: “Folkestone has its creative art without walls festival, Triennial.
“Aberdeen has been growing its cultural offering in recent years. Accessible artwork . . . entices increasing numbers of visitors, and showcases the location as a great place to live and work”
SLA’s investment arm – Aberdeen Standard Investments – is a co-sponsor of Nuart Aberdeen, which runs from April 12-15 and will feature street artists from around the world.