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Place Makers: Micro-cluster Networks

We are delighted to announce that the Place Makers: Micro-cluster Networks fund, awarding £5,500 for each of three creative ‘place making’ collaborations across Argyll and Bute, has selected three outstanding projects to be supported and delivered in 2021. We received 10 excellent and diverse applications on the deadline of Monday 7th December, which an expert panel reviewed on Friday 18th December to select the three successful applications from a highly competitive selection. The awardees will deliver the bulk of their placemaking projects between January and June 2021, with a mid-review in April 2021 and a showcase (anticipated to be digital) of the projects in June/July 2021.

The awarded placemaking projects include: 

  • Eco Creatives Cluster, establishing a creative community network around a community dye garden set up on the grounds of the The Rockfield Centre, a newly refurbished culture and heritage venue based in Oban;
  • Take Flight, an arts programme led by SO:AR artist collective, of collaborations and workshops across several artforms to introduce a regular selection of arts experience and participation for both community and visitors on Jura, linking with communities on other islands;
  • Dunoon Goes Pop, building on The People of Place: Shop Keepers of Dunoon project to develop drink products, associated maps, marketing material and an exhibition on Dunoon High St from local heritage narratives and archive material to create new experiences relating to the town’s cultural history.

These were recognised as innovative proposals of creative collaborations with local heritage, industry, cultural and community organisations in ways that aim to enable local places to survive and thrive. The proposals showed ambition for partnerships and impacts to last beyond the funding period, with funded collaborations also able to access additional expert support when delivering their projects.

These Awards form the final phase of the CHARTS Micro-Cluster Networks project in partnership with the Innovation School at The Glasgow School of Art, funded through Creative Scotland’s Create: Networks programme. Since March 2020, creative workers, enterprises, venues and organisations across Argyll and Bute have been receiving bespoke development support through one-to-one mapping sessions and a programme of network-building webinars (see below) and workshops. 

We will be strategically positioning these new micro-cluster networks within the development infrastructure of the membership-network (CHARTS), as examples of good practice and points of reference for other developing organisations. The overarching goal is to design and grow micro-cluster culture, encouraging people to join resources and work together, on the principle that sustainable and resilient regional economies need to be understood as networks. To support regional development of the creative and cultural sector, including sole traders and microenterprises, we aim to better understand the complex relationships between organisations, people, places, institutions and companies at all scales.

Jo McLean, Chair of the CHARTS Board, says:

‘Participation in this project has included a very broad range of members to share their experiences and expertise from across mainland and islands. Coupled with the intensity of engagement in digital workshops and webinars, this has offered significant development opportunity to the sector overall. The Board is delighted with the very positive feedback received from our members to date about what they have personally gained from this project and is especially pleased that the CHARTS network partnership with GSA’s Innovation School has exceeded all expectations to support growth against the backcloth of the pandemic. We much look forward to further developing innovative network support systems and building the profile of creativity, culture and collaboration across Argyll and Bute over coming months.’


The Value of Creative Growth: Microcluster Networks in Argyll & Isles Report (PDF, designed to be displayed in a ‘two page view’).