GrowBiz Year of the Stories – Albatross Arts
This case study was originally produced in partnership with GrowBiz for ‘Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022’ which provided an opportunity to celebrate the innovative & vibrant businesses within Scotland’s rural and island economy with stories to tell. The theme for August was ‘Creativity’.
Who?: Albatross Arts are a Community Interest Company (CIC) who aim to inspire, create and empower local communities in order to connect people and confront current social challenges. They work with all members of society, from very young children to the elderly. Albatross Arts provide support UK-wide and take this learning and plug it back into Scotland. They aren’t afraid to tackle the big problems.
Where?: They are based in Southern Argyll and Bute. Their location is beneficial as they are near enough to the coast but also close enough to cities and various transport links. There is a huge amount of creativity in Argyll and Bute as well as a rich & diverse knowledge and practice across the creative industries.
When?: Albatross Arts were established in 2019.
Why?: The concept for Albatross Arts was born out of 20+ years of frustration in the creative industries in a freelance capacity where the Organisation founders felt that there was never joined-up thinking. The softer skills and the wider picture of what the arts can bring was getting lost. They also felt that the industry wasn’t always ethical so the Organisation was established to rectify that.
Challenges: The pandemic wasn’t helpful. But it meant that Albatross Arts had to step-up and they managed to do that with alarming speed. Living in a rural area has some wonderful benefits because you can reach little pockets of society and have an impact on a small scale. You can then take that learning and scale it up. In turn you can take urban understanding and scale it to fit into a rural situation. If you are always in an urban environment you miss out on those nuances of working in smaller communities. Broadband is also sometimes an issue.
Achievements: Growing the business to a solid place has been a massive achievement for Albatross Arts, along with the investment in relationships amongst the team and within other organisations and colleagues. They worked with Inspiralba to put together some financial models and forecasting. The forecasting was quite ambitious and at the outset did not seem manageable. But they decided to wait and see what could be done. They ended up reaching the targets that they had set themselves. They have managed to avoid becoming downtrodden and are still ambitious and passionate about what they do.
How where they live inspires their creativity: Living in Argyll and Bute is amazing as it allows you time and peace to think and reflect. Being able to take a break, step outside and be surrounded by nature, gives Albatross Arts energy and inspiration. Additionally, being able to connect with your local community is inspiring in itself and something that can not be found as easily in an urban setting. For them, it’s the land and sea, the geography, the big skies and the space to breathe. Plus the interesting weather!
Read more about Albatross Arts here.