Arts projects are truly Epic

Scotland winners musicians in exile at the 2019 epic awards

Foru Scottish projects were amongst those recognised at the annual Epic Awards

7th October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Inspiring cultural projects across the UK have been recognised for their creativity.

The Epic Awards took place at Central Hall in Edinburgh on Thursday (3 October), hosted by BBC Scotland presenter Janice Forsyth.

The awards are run by Voluntary Arts, who promote active engagement in creative, cultural activities. Voluntary arts groups put themselves forward for the awards, and judging panels in each of the nations selected a total of 31 groups to be shortlisted for the final awards.

A host of Scottish projects were amongst those recognised. Musicians in Exile – a community initiative for asylum seekers and refugees in Glasgow - was selected as the top Scottish project.

Paul MacAlindin, artistic director of The Glasgow Barons, said: "When you flee a troubled land, you've not only left everything behind, but also have to start over in a very foreign land. Musicians in Exile gives asylum seeking musicians their instruments and voices back so they can regularly rehearse and perform again, retrieve their cultures, rebuild their networks, friendships and give back to their host communities. It's an incredibly simple project, and as well as being revealing and healing." 

The runner-up in the category was 24 Carat Gold, a dance group set up by older Scots aged 60 to 87.

The Celebrating Diversity Award went to Kirrie Connections, a community dementia support hub in Angus, and Arthur Howie, of North Edinburgh Arts was named Local Hero.

The 2019 winners received bespoke crafted awards made by Glasgow-based arts cooperative Jangling Space, as well as a cash prize. Winning or being shortlisted for an Epic Award can also have very positive effects for voluntary arts groups, who find their profile raised locally and nationally and that it can help with fundraising efforts.

Robin Simpson, chief executive of Voluntary Arts, said: “Since 2010 Voluntary Arts has showcased the excellence and innovation of local voluntary arts groups from every corner of the UK and Ireland through our annual Epic Awards.

“The stories of more than 80 winning groups over the past 9 years have demonstrated the amazing ingenuity, willpower and determination with which volunteers are transforming local communities across the UK and Ireland through their creative activities. And the 2019 Epic Awards winners and runners-up are a humbling and inspiring tribute to simple power of people expressing themselves creatively in their everyday lives and practising their creativity socially with other people.”

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in Scotland said: “I would like to congratulate all of the winners of the 2019 Epic Awards, including Musicians in Exile, which has done so much to help asylum seeking and refugee musicians in Glasgow.

“Voluntary arts is a truly vibrant sector: over 60,000 arts and crafts groups across the UK, including over 10,000 in Scotland alone, meeting regularly in town halls, libraries, theatres, churches, mosques and at kitchen tables.

“The Scottish Government believes that as many people as possible should be able to participate in these groups, which bring people of all backgrounds together to empower, enrich and shape their communities through arts and culture.”