Conference to look at enhancing the changing economy through culture

2018 brings the return of the SPECTRA Catalyst Conference. Designed to strengthen and sustain the cultural buzz in Aberdeen around the popular annual light festival, Catalyst takes place on the 9 and 10 February in the Anatomy Rooms at Marischal College.

Leading artists, designers, academics, business leaders and social entrepreneurs will once again come together again for the two day conference, with international partners from Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway, to identify ways to develop the cultural economy in Aberdeen while also fostering conditions to define, draw attention to and distinguish the industry and city on a global scale.

Run in collaboration with Creative Scotland’s Place Partnerships Team, the 2018 ticketed conference explores the theme of creative place-making, concentrating on the important role that the arts plays in improving a community’s wellbeing and prosperity

Headline speaker Martin Green, who successfully led Hull as the City of Culture 2017, will be joined by the First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid, who is the co-founder of Iceland Writers Retreat as well as very actively promoting the art and literature scene in Iceland. Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Director of the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands is also confirmed as well as Hilary Nicholl, Associate Director of the Look Again Visual Art and Design Festival.

Aberdeen City Council culture spokesperson Cllr Marie Boulton said: “The arts are the driver of and not just the result of a successful place.

“Catalyst Conference is bringing industry leaders from across the globe to Aberdeen when it is at its most vibrant. The discussions that will take place over the two-day conference will shape a series of follow up projects that will influence the arts community locally, but also on a national and international scale.

“The economic landscape of Aberdeen is shifting and as it does we must look to our cultural offering to enhance the changing economy of our city.

“Our vision for the city is to create and foster opportunities to promote and enhance the long-term economic prosperity of Aberdeen and the wider region by attracting visitors, both local and from further afield”.

The conference will explore key arts and cultural catalysts through panel discussions, workshops, tours and discussion groups, as well as feature performances from SPECTRA 2018 festival artists and musicians.

To join the conference, tickets are available at: