Local authority leaders representing the islands in the Highlands and Islands have agreed that their councils should work together in preparation for A Year of Island Cultures 2011.
Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and islands represented by North Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute and Highland Councils all have the opportunity to participate in the year long festival. The aims of A Year of Island Cultures 2011 are to celebrate and showcase the range of diverse cultures found in the islands to the north and west of Scotland.
A steering committee with representation from all these council areas has been tasked to engage with all the islands in the region, both to promote existing events outside the region and to organise new events and activities that build cultural links between the islands by inspiring artists and communities to participate.
Shetland, a host port for the Tall Ships Races in 2011, is acting as the lead council for the project. Convener Sandy Cluness expressed his delight at the arrangement. “We now have a unique opportunity to work with all the islands in the region to celebrate all our different cultures and to show the world how vibrant our communities are.”
The idea for A Year of Islands Cultures 2011 emerged from a debate at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands in 2008 when government ministers encouraged the islands to create a festival that promotes the culture of islands in the Highlands and Islands region.
Douglas Irvine, spokesman for the steering committee, said that “work has begun to put together a detailed plan for A Year of Island Cultures 2011 including the promotional activities”.
The steering committee will meet later this month to set up a programme of tasks that need to be worked on.