SHETLAND Islands Council and the University of the Highlands and Islands are to invest in a joint project to set up a new Chair of Creative Industries in the isles, it was announced today.
Dr Neil Simco, the university’s Dean of Arts, Humanities and Business, said: “This is a major step forward towards making a professorial appointment with the potential to develop research and scholarship of international stature.
“It is intended that the chair in creative industries will inspire new businesses and support the development of existing enterprises. They’ll also have a particular remit for developing the economic base of the creative industries in the isles and providing advice and support for businesses and practitioners.”
Shetland Islands Council has agreed to contribute part of the £670,000 start-up costs for the new initiative.
Councillor Alastair Cooper, chair of Shetland Islands Council’s Development Committee, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to develop our support for some of Shetland’s most distinctive and unique industries. There’s been an increase in recent years in the number of new companies working in areas such as textile design, photography, furniture-making, craftwork and video production, and basing such a unit here in Shetland could help create and develop such home-grown companies, as well as attract interest from farther afield.”
He added: “There are also the commercial and cultural benefits which would accrue from the influx of staff and new students, and the potential to build an international reputation as a creative centre.”
Drew Ratter, chairman of the Shetland College UHI board, said: “It’s estimated that the creative industries bring in around £2.5 billion every year to the Scottish economy and this development will see the Highlands and Islands - and Shetland - taking a leading role in developing and benefitting from a growing sector.”