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Creative industry professionals urged to sign up for a chance to learn from the best at XpoNorth 2021

By Calum MacLeod

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Local indie-folk band Elephant Sessions will close this year's XpoNorth with a live performance from The Ironworks.
Local indie-folk band Elephant Sessions will close this year's XpoNorth with a live performance from The Ironworks.

An international line-up of guest speakers will gather via the internet to discuss new ways of working and storytelling at this year's XpoNorth creative industries conference.

Usually held at various venues around Inverness with its base at Eden Court Theatre, this is the second year that Covid restrictions have forced XpoNorth to reinvent itself as a fully online event and the theme of this year's conference, which will be held on Wednesday June 16 and Thursday June 17, will reflect the challenging circumstances which the creative sector continues to face.

The event has added to previous announced guests including television historian Professor Suzannah Lipscomb and Blackadder and Time Team star Sir Tony Robinson, with more guesst from the worlds of fashion, music, television and publishing.

They include Scottish designer Patrick Grant, director of Saville Row tailors, Norton & Sons and well known to television viewers as a judge on The Great British Sewing Bee, along with former rugby international turned theatre, television, radio and drama producer, Edward Crozier, Talk Radio and Talk Sport host Sam Delany, scientst and author David Edwards, and gig economy expert Dian Mulcahy.

Kim Hawes was one of the first female road managers, touring with heavy metal legends such as Black Sabbath and Motorhead.
Kim Hawes was one of the first female road managers, touring with heavy metal legends such as Black Sabbath and Motorhead.

Music industry pioneer, Kim Hawes, one of the first female tour managers who toured with some of the most notorious rock bands including Black Sabbath and Motorhead, will talk about her experiences and her new role as a life coach helping others achieve their goals within the music industry.

For a change of pace, Professor Kate Williams, professor of modern history at Reading University and a presenter and contributor to many historical television shows, including BBC 2’s Young Victoria and Inside Versailles, will discuss the joys and challenges of writing historical fact and fiction.

Also connecting history and television will be Michael Wilson, producer of Highland set international hit show Outlander.

Delivered via the XpoNorth app, the conference will offer dedicated training spaces, networking opportunities, specialist advice sessions and a focus on wellbeing and mindfulness. New for this year will be the addition of digital trade stands and applications are now open for companies looking to take a virtual space at the conference.

Award-winning indie-folk band Elephant Sessions will close the conference with a live performance at The Ironworks in Inverness.

Band member Alasdair Taylor said: “The band is originally from Inverness and the surrounding area. We have grown up attending XpoNorth over the years and know how important the creative industry is to the Highlands. There’s a thriving music scene up here with some amazing festivals and venues like the Ironworks which are such a great asset to the area. We are buzzing to be involved!”

Fashion designer Patrick Grant.
Fashion designer Patrick Grant.

XpoNorth project manager Alex Smith believes this year's event could have its biggest audience to date.

“Last year, our first digital edition of the conference was attended by over 6000 people making it Scotland’s largest conference at the time," he said.

"With the superb calibre of speakers we’ve got lined up for this year coupled with much improved interactivity and a wider scope of sessions incorporating wellbeing and practical business support, I have no doubt this year’s conference will be our best attended yet.

"The opportunities available to learn from some of the best in the creative business, network with peers and unite to discuss new ways of working in this period of accelerated change is not to be missed. I urge everyone in the creative industries from those just starting out to industry veterans to join us on June 16 and 17.”

To register to attend the conference, find out about trade stand applications, be kept up to date with the latest news and to discover hundreds of pieces of extra content. please visit www.xponorth.co.uk

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