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Peebles Creative Place - Independent Review

on Fri, 04/03/2016 - 12:09

PEEBLES IS CREATIVE - IT IS OFFICIAL         Release published 1 March 2016

Peebles is a place with a high level of cultural and artistic opportunities where a vibrant community of creative artists, organisations and volunteers work together to develop engagement and participation.  At its cultural heart is the Eastgate Theatre, with strong and effective leadership making it a creative hub that contributes to the community’s sense of civic pride.

These are just some of the findings of an independent report on the impact and outcomes of the Peebles Creative Place Award published this week by Education Scotland.    The national body, more usually associated with evaluation of learning and teaching in schools, was commissioned by Creative Scotland to carry out a thorough assessment of the Creative Place Awards in three towns including Peebles.

A team of HM Inspectors spent a week in the town in November 2015, talking to a range of people about the impact of the 13 event Creative Place programme and its potential legacy.   As well as those directly involved in Creative Place events, the team interviewed business owners, civic leaders, visitors and residents, students and teachers, artists and community groups.

Caroline Adam, General Manager of the Eastgate Theatre said: “Evaluation of arts projects is never simple so it was a pleasure to hand this one over to an organisation that specialises in quantifying direct and indirect effects.  I think Peebles should be very proud of the results contained in this report.  The willingness of all sorts of people to find the time to re-consider Creative Place, to be interviewed about their reactions and to offer the Education Scotland team first-hand experience of their activities, means that the inspectors were able to form a balanced, enlightened view of a very complex project.”  

Examining the impact of the Award on the lives of residents and visitors the report cites increasing artistic activity, and the role of the Eastgate Theatre as a place where people can experience and take part in arts, encouraging collaborative working with individuals groups and organisations.   It commends the range of ages involved from pre-school dancers to the residents of sheltered housing.   The Inspectors were impressed by the variety and quality of provision for people with disabilities, and the work of Nomad Beat is singled out as an example of good practice.

Assessing the impact of the Award on the artistic and local community, the report highlights the culture of volunteering in the Peebles area and the development paths opened for schoolchildren, tutors, artists and board members.   It lists specific projects including Fish Flagrante, Working Perspectives, Peebles Mural and the Peebles of John Buchan as helping to build civic pride and community cohesion.   Informal networking between artists and with the local business community (particularly Tweed Valley Tourist Consortium) are also highlighted.

Collaborative working, the heart of the Creative Place process, is appreciated as a means of maximising the impact of marketing and promotion.  The report states that the funding arrangements between the Eastgate Theatre and Scottish Borders Council provide vital resources with which to build a core programme; and goes on to recommend that the partners continue to work together to help deliver the recently adopted Cultural Strategy for the Scottish Borders.

The Peebles Creative Place Review concludes with recommendations for the future.  These include the development of a shared creative vision for Peebles, the development of a forum for further raising the profile of the town, developing stronger links with schools, and developing ways to share information and improve networking.

The full Peebles Creative Place Review is published on the Education Scotland website at


For more information contact Maggie Mackay, Marketing Manager, Eastgate Theatre, Peebles.           t:01721 725777