Jackie Brierton, CEO of GrowBiz, on why we should embrace our Creative, Independent and Cultural sectors.
“As we look towards the opening of the new Museum in March 2024, much has been made of the potential it will deliver into Perth city centre and the surrounding areas. Set to generate around 133,000 visitors each year – thanks in no small part to the successful endeavours that secured the return of the Stone of Destiny to Perth – the Museum presents a very real opportunity for Perth & Kinross to become a centre of excellence for creatives and culture. I say this, because, of course, the foundations are already here.
“In November 2021, Perth was awarded UNESCO status as the UK’s only Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art. This placed us into a global network of cities, opening doors for local artists and makers to showcase themselves on an international stage and setting a benchmark for quality that stretches beyond UK borders.
“The award will strengthen existing creative networks like Perthshire Open Studios, Perth Creative Exchange and Perthshire Artisans, a curated platform of creatives launched by GrowBiz Scotland in 2020. To date, we have supported over 300 creative businesses in Perth & Kinross and supported the launch of initiatives such as the area-wide Creative Trail and Open Studios Festival in September.
“By their nature, makers and artisans are often sole trader operations faced with the significant and unique challenges of making and selling at the same time. From a practical standpoint, the Museum offers a new route to market through permanent exhibitions of local artists’ work, a busy gift shop, and a steady stream of national and international customers.
“Culture and creativity have a huge overlap and interlink particularly well. Both sectors are diverse, inclusive and are driven by passionate individuals.
“A venue such as Perth Museum has the potential to pull everyone together, in one exciting and inspiring space for performers, artisans and musicians. The opportunity then, for cross-fertilisation of art, music, history, digital, workshops and education, means we can breathe new life into our historic city.
“When combined, international links, a broader creative/cultural approach, peer-to-peer support, and the provision of a retail outlet, will undoubtedly go a long way to fuelling the ongoing ambitions of this vibrant sector. From here, I’d expect to see growth in demand for shop fronts and workshops giving us an opportunity to build on the successful independent business story, and to encourage artisans to make and sell from their own space.
“It’s a simple fact that when people see success, they want to be part of it. We speak to our networks of enterprises all the time, and we know that the environment in which they live and work is crucial to their creative process and sense of pride; is there any place more inspiring than Perth & Kinross for creating exactly this?”