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Partner for Tapestry of the Highlands announced


By Tom Ramage

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High Life Highland has announced The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ltd as the successful creative agency partner for the delivery of a ‘Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands’.

As the creative agency partner, The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ltd will develop, design and deliver a Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands within the next two years.

Fergus Ewing: 'This is a really exciting part of the project'
Fergus Ewing: 'This is a really exciting part of the project'

The finished tapestry will be exhibited at venues throughout the area before finding its permanent home in the transformed Inverness Castle as part of the Spirit of the Highlands exhibition.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ltd comprises the artistic and organisational team behind the phenomenally successful Great Tapestry of Scotland artwork.

This huge embroidered tapestry (over 140 metres long) was embroidered by 1,000 stitchers from across Scotland.

Over 360,000 visitors came to see it as it toured the country and it now sits in splendour in a bespoke new visitor centre in Galashiels.

Historian Alistair Moffat worked closely with artist Andrew Crummy to create the historical narrative and design while Jan Rutherford and Anna Marshall were responsible for logisitics, exhibitions, fundraising and publicity.

The Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands will be a chronological history of the Highlands and Islands told in 52 tapestry panels, to be stitched by local volunteer stitchers from across the area.

In creating the tapestry, communities throughout the Highlands and Islands will become involved in this huge community arts project as both story contributors and stitchers.

It's a stitch-up: the great work begins
It's a stitch-up: the great work begins

Featuring participation from people who know the area well will enable communities to decide how to tell the story of the natural and cultural heritage in their own area through the tapestry panels.

The delivery of the tapestry is supported through the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Through this project we will work together with NatureScot and other partner organisations such as VisitScotland to deliver a natural and cultural heritage project that will deliver many benefits for local communities throughout the Highlands and Islands, helping to unlock economic potential and improving visitor experiences across the region.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “A tapestry is an exciting medium for bringing to life the rich and remarkable history of the Highlands and Islands. The project is also a chance to unite communities as they stitch together their stories of the past into our present, leaving a valuable legacy for the future.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support Inverness Castle’s transformation into a major visitor attraction in the area and welcome the announcement of the Creative Agency Partner who will manage the tapestry project.”

Fergus Ewing MSP, co-chair of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group said: “This is a really exciting part of the project, engaging people from all walks of life throughout the Highlands and Islands in telling the story of their lives and their land.

"With the support of NatureScot, and ERDF, we have been able to extend the reach of the Spirit of the Highlands project across the Highlands and Islands area – so important for the tourism and creative sectors during this period of recovery from the pandemic.

The stories of our communities throughout the area will encourage people from this country and beyond to explore the spectacular places and communities in this part of the world, discovering all that it has to offer.”

Helen Carmichael, Provost of Inverness and Area, and co-chair of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group said: “Through the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands we will tell the story of the area, ensuring that people have the opportunity to decide what stories appear from their particular area. It’s an excellent opportunity for people to get involved in this project. I’m really excited to see the panels as they are developed throughout the area.”

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.

It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.


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