Work has commenced to transform the Midmills buildings (once Inverness Royal academy and later Inverness College) into the Inverness Creative Academy. This project has two phases and Phase 1 of the Inverness Creative Academy will be ready for tenants in late 2018.
This first phase of development will provide affordable workspaces for 39 artists and makers and letting will commence shortly.
Phase 1 construction work is being carried out by Elgin based contractors Robertson Construction.
We are currently fundraising for the second phase of the project which would provide exhibition, performance and events space, a public cafe, workshop areas and offices for 54 creative industry businesses.
In brief, Inverness Creative Academy will provide:
- 39 studios for artists and makers
- 54 workspaces for creative industries and creative social enterprises
- A public cafe within the restored former assembly hall
- Public exhibition, events and workshop spaces
Since we carried out a demand survey in 2015 we have been aware that demand for creative workspace in Inverness is high and have been keen to work with the local creative community to push this project forward.
Audrey Carlin, Wasps Chief Executive Officer said: "Scotland is a powerhouse for the arts. craft making and the wider creative industries. But people that want to base their careers, or build businesses in these sectors have faced major obstacles in the Highlands because of an acute shortage of quality workspace and of hubs that allow them to collaborate and generate new ideas.
The Creative Academy has had a great deal of support from the large creative community in and around Inverness, particularly from Highland Council, HIE, and UHI. We are very proud that this will be one of the largest projects of its kind in the whole of Scotland and we hope it will enable creative people from across the Highlands to fulfill their ambitions and dreams."
This project has been supported by the Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Creative Scotland, Inverness City Heritage Trust, the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, and McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles Limited.
James Gibbs, Area Manager for HIE said: "Wasps is a social enterprise with an excellent track record of bringing economic benefit to cities. This facility will allow workers in the creative industries sector to share skills and ideas and promote collaboration and innovation.
HIE assisted Wasps' development to help grow a strong creative cluster in Inverness and bring new economic activity to the city centre."
Clive Gillman, Director of Creative industries at Creative Scotland, added: "Wasps has built a strong and sustainable model for supporting our creative communities the length and breadth of Scotland.
We are proud to have helped them on that journey and especially through partnerships such as that in Inverness, which will see a significant building brought back to life to support the rich creative community in and around the city of Inverness."
Benefits to Inverness and the Highlands will be:
- Two significant listed buildings in the centre of Inverness saved and reused
- Provision of the only creative hub in the Highlands
- Additional economic activity to the city centre Support for, and retention of, creative talent in the Highlands
- Opportunities for collaborative working, skills sharing and networking
- Public access to historic buildings and creative activity programmes
- Improved appearance of the local area