Creativity is its own reward
Rebecca Monks looks at the shortlisted entrants for the fifth annual Creative Edinburgh awards
Creative Edinburgh's awards have garnered quite a reputation in the five years since they've been running. Known as the 'Oscars of the creative sector', they celebrate innovation and imagination in a variety of disciplines, recognising artists, musicians, and writers alongside commercially creative thinkers and social entrepreneurs. The criteria for winning, or indeed being nominated, is quite simple: you must be creative, and you must be associated with Edinburgh. It's not just a clever title, after all.
This year's shortlist is a mixed bag, reflecting the diversity of talent that the award attracts. There are nine categories (listed in full below), and finalists include organisations, establishments and individuals. Jupiter Artland sculpture park, a drag queen poetry night by the Scottish Poetry Library, LeithLate, WHALE Arts, Lung Ha Theatre Company, Adam Castle and Local Heroes are just some of the people, places and things to cut the mustard in the organisation's eyes this year.
But it's not just the artists themselves that this event showcases. Creative Edinburgh was established five years ago, and the awards ceremony is something of a birthday party for the organisation, which reaches out to a creative community of thousands.
Speaking about the event, director Janine Mathieson said: 'It shines a light on what amazing talent we do have here in Edinburgh, but it's also a chance to celebrate Creative Edinburgh. It's an opportunity to develop our community, and to spread the word about what part we play in the city.'
As the organisation grows and changes, so does the nature of the awards. Mathieson acknowledges that, and says that they are constantly adapting to meet the needs and the work of their network. 'Creative Edinburgh now has 3000 members,' she explains, 'and the diversity within the community is massive. We have creatives that are practitioners, artists or musicians, writers or photographers, and we also have a lot of creatives that work in more commercial environments – lots of agencies, design, PR firms, architecture firms, digital firms, and increasingly over the last few years, we've been welcoming tech start ups. As the network grows with us, we wanted to explore ways that creatives are part of our everyday life.'
Moreover, the awards tapped into a specific niche: celebrating a cross-section of creative talent on a hyper-local basis. 'There are other types of awards for sure,' Mathieson says, 'but there isn't anything locally shining the light across all different creative disciplines. There might be an award about music of writing, or there could be national awards, but there wasn't anything locally. It was an opportunity and we took it.'
The full list of shortlisted artists are as follows. The winners will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony on Thu 10 Nov at Central Hall.
● The City Award: Konishi Gaffney Architects, Jupiter Artland and Local Heroes
● The Collaboration Award: Werewolf & Unstable Creations, Janis Claxton Dance & Pippa Murphy 'Pop-Up Duets', and Rob St John, Simon Kirby, Tommy Perman and Random Spectacular
● The Commercial Award: Nile (& the People's Money team), StudioLR (Terex Truck Factory Experience Project) and Disney Research – Maggie Kosek
● The Creativity Award: The Scottish Poetry Library for its event The Library is Open! Drag Queen Poems, Janis Claxton Dance POP-UP Duets and Heather Marshall/Creative Electric
● The Independent Award: Kam-Ling Design, Scott Willis and LeithLate
● The Leadership Award: Danielle Trudeau, Tribe Porty, Jack Nissan, Tinderbox Orchestra and Adam Castle
● The Social Award: Lung Ha Theatre Company, WHALE Arts for the Street Arts project and Edinburgh Tool Library (ETL)
● The Startup Award: Werewolf Tube Map Ltd for WineTubeMap. and Bright Side Studios
● The Student Award: Ellie Vallely , Michal Wdowiak and Paula Caffrey