Influential decision makers and buyers from creative industries around the world will meet Scottish businesses and individuals when they take part in XpoNorth in Inverness this week.
Supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the European Regional Development Fund and Creative Scotland, XpoNorth is now firmly established as Scotland’s leading creative industries festival.
It combines a business conference with music, film, craft, design and writing showcases and offers a unique opportunity for anyone looking to boost their creative careers in the region and beyond.
World-class experts in craft, design, digital, fashion, textiles, writing, publishing, screen, broadcast, music and gaming will be at XpoNorth on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th June to offer an insider’s guide to getting ahead in the creative industries.
Alex Paterson, HIE chief executive, said: “This is the biggest creative industries event of its kind in Scotland which provides fantastic opportunities for new businesses and greater collaboration and links across the breadth of the sector. It’s fantastic to have speakers and delegates from all round the world of such high calibre in the Highlands.
"The creative industries have been a particular strength, contributing both to the economy and cultural life of the region and we are delighted to be supporting this important part of our work.
“Our emerging and established creative talent is helping to build dynamic, innovative businesses which are successfully competing in global markets. This is also being recognised by the world class influential speakers at this year’s XpoNorth, some of which return every year just to sign up and do deals with talented creative local people.”
Director of XpoNorth, Amanda Millen, said: “The XpoNorth network operates all year round mentoring and supporting individuals and businesses working in the creative sector. This is the jewel in its crown. Last year, we welcomed around 1500 delegates to Inverness and this year, I know we will exceed that number because what we are doing is both practical and inspiring.
"The people who are attending XpoNorth as speakers are operating at the top of their game. To have individuals such as film director Michael Caton-Jones and music producer John Leckie offering themselves up for one-to-one sessions with delegates offers an unparalleled opportunity for any aspiring filmmaker or musician. The same goes for the speakers who are attending across the creative board in craft, textiles, fashion, design, broadcast, gaming, writing and publishing.
“Creativity is at the core of who we are in the Highlands and Islands and the digital age has been a game-changer for creative people in the region. XpoNorth 2016 is a must for anyone interested in the creative industries.”
Some of the most influential names in the creative industries will be sharing secrets from the industry in a bid to boost the careers of up and coming new businesses.
Highlights at this year’s event include a special In Conversation event with Scots film director, Michael Caton-Jones, who has directed Robert de Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone. Earlier this year, in his Oscar acceptance speech for best actor in The Revenant, DiCaprio thanked the people 'from the very onset' of his career, name-checking Caton-Jones, who cast him in This Boy’s Life.
Davide Cimmarrusto, technical manager for Freakworks who has worked for Technicolor, Disney and BBC Worldwide.
Panels and workshops will be hosted and led by creative industry insiders such as music producer, John Leckie, who has produced over 100 acclaimed albums and worked with George Harrison, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, The Stone Roses, Radiohead and The Verve.
Laurian Davies from the UK Fashion and Textile Association will be available to talk about trade shows in specific market sectors to help businesses grow. She is passionate about textiles and her mission is to help businesses grow and encourage manufacturers and designers to successfully export all around the world.
Duncan Smith from Sony Computer Entertainment is responsible for licensing commercial music and working with composers on bespoke scores for games, adverts and trailers produced by Playstation worldwide.
Two leading figures from the Government of Nova Scotia involved in the promotion of arts and culture – a vital sector in the Canadian province – will be in attendance. Marcel McKeough and Craig Beaton are both keen to explore XpoNorth and develop partnerships here in Scotland to build on the history, shared culture and Gaelic language that influences both nations.
Screen writer and film-maker, Beatrix Wood owner of TrixPix in South Uist will also be speaking at the event. The company currently has three creative documentary films currently in production with MG ALBA.
Over the years, Ingrid Van Der Wacht, international project manager at Dutch Design Foundation has initiated projects using design as the driver for social innovation, economic growth and sustainable development. She was previously the project manager for PROUD Europe and Design Management Europe (FP7).
Anna Svensson is the commissioning editor of documentaries at Sveriges Television Umeå, up in the northern parts of Sweden. She has worked as a film and media educator at the northern regional center of film, Film i Västerbotten, and for six years a member of the Guldbaggejury, the Swedish “Oscars”, for short film and documentary. Anna is also a trained chef and photographer.
XpoNorth delegate registration is FREE, open now and runs until the end of the festival. People looking to register as a festival delegate to access all the events on the programme should check www.xponorth.co.uk for more details. Passes can be collected at the Delegate Registration point in the Main Foyer at Eden Court, Inverness which is open until 5pm each day.
This will allow delegates entrance to evening events, which includes music showcasing and networking parties. If delegates arrive after 5pm but would like to attend a pass-only event in the evening, they are being asked to get in touch via the XpoNorth website to arrange an evening rendezvous.
A delegate pass is necessary for entry to all aspects of XpoNorth, including all conference sessions, training, one-to-ones, the XpoNorth Live tv station, gaming playground, all networking parties (including the opening and closing parties) and the new Late Night Festival Club at the Pentahotel.