XpoNorth’s annual creative industries conference is set to take place next week on Wednesday and Thursday, June 16 and 17.
The event will return this year as an interactive digital conference with attendees encouraged to download the Socio App to engage with this year’s programme.
Known historically for being a music showcase event, XpoNorth’s scope now incorporates wider aspects of the creative industries across the north of Scotland such as film and broadcast and fashion and textiles.
Aside from its annual conference, XpoNorth delivers a range of support programmes year-round to encourage growth and innovation of the local creative economy.
The key themes of its upcoming 2021 conference will include new ways of working and storytelling.
Historian, author, broadcaster and award-winning professor of history, Suzannah Lipscomb, will also be headlining the two-day event alongside a range of regional and international speakers.
Iain Hamilton, head of Creative Industries, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and co-founder of XpoNorth, said: “The past year has probably been the toughest our creative network has ever had to face.
“Last year’s conference was an opportunity to unite our creative economy looking to survive.
“But one year on, it’s a chance to share new ways of working and look forward to life post-pandemic and post-Brexit.”
— XpoNorth (@XpoNorth) June 9, 2021
Caroline Campbell, owner of Ironworks in Inverness, who produces XpoNorth on behalf of the HIE, mentions that the conference has allowed workers in the live sector to gain new jobs during the pandemic.
“We’ve taken our experience from the live sector and been able to implement that into the virtual world which is great,” she says.
“A lot of venue staff across the Highlands and Islands were obviously very anxious being out of work.
“But with a bit of upskillng and training, XpoNorth has been able to give them employment in roles quite similar to what they did before.”
Alex Smith is the project manager of the XpoNorth conference. He mentions that part of XpoNorth’s work is to change perceptions on the creativity of the Highlands and Islands: “The Highlands and Islands is such a creatively diverse place.
“There are a range of sophisticated businesses here that are already trading internationally and are pushing the boundaries of innovation.
“I’m not sure that this is always the perception of the Highlands and Islands, and I think that part of XpoNorth’s function is to showcase that.”
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➡️ Sector Support Programme
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➡️ 'XpoNorth on Demand'
➡️ #XpoNorth2021https://t.co/V0aGGPnLld pic.twitter.com/1iic7xVjBy
— XpoNorth (@XpoNorth) June 4, 2021
With this year’s conference programme being “broader than ever”, Alex believes that there is something for everyone to enjoy at XpoNorth.
“XpoNorth is hugely accessible as it’s free to attend,” he says.
“Regardless of where you are in your creative journey, I think XpoNorth has something for most people.”
Visit xponorth.co.uk to register for this year’s conference.