<<< Back to articles
BANNER 12 Days of CE
12 Days of Creative Spirit!

2020. What. A. Year.

Over the years of talks, guest speakers, panel conversations, Awards ceremonies and collaborations, there is one trait that has been universal across creatives, regardless of their sector, background or industry experience: resilience.

So it’s no surprise that with all the unprecedented setbacks, opportunity for growth and immense challenges 2020 faced us with, Creative Edinburgh’s community of makers, thinkers and innovators proved that amazing things can come from the most trying of times.

Behind-the-scenes at Creative Edinburgh, we’ve been delighted to continually work with a range of creative folks to bring projects to life and opportunities to the community.

With those opportunities open for redelivery in 2021, we thought we’d recap on the year that’s been in the run up to the festive break so you can delve into programmes, projects and events made possible by incredible creatives from across Edinburgh!


A playlist from Edinburgh Music Lovers

2020 Creative Edinburgh Awards nominee Edinburgh Music Lovers contributed to this year’s Summer Party with a playlist sure to get us grooving! EML is a community of music fans, supporting music for mental health and Edinburgh as a music city.

The Creative Edinburgh Summer Party playlist has been the soundtrack to many a Creative Edinburgh event and features a range of Edinburgh-based artists - have a browse!

Two cohorts of mentees welcomed!

Creatives are often used to supporting one another through sharing of skills, knowledge and experience. Mentoring formalises this process, pairing a mentee with a mentor with industry know-how and experience in their sector. 2020 has been a busy year for our Mentoring scheme, with 50 matches made overall - that’s a whole lotta love for community growth!!

Early in 2020, Creative Edinburgh’s mentoring scheme had a bit of an upgrade. We have welcomed two mentee cohorts under our pilot scheme - of which we have matched 13 individuals! There’s plenty more to come in the new year and we look forward to continuing to listen and learn from the mentoring community to develop the scheme.

Three panel members at our monthly meet ups!

While we’ve been sad to lose the hugs and handshakes usually flying around at Creative Circles, shifting this event virtual has allowed us to explore a range of topics in our monthly conversations.

With a chair and two guests from across the industries, we delved into our Lockdown Silver Linings, how festivals navigated the pandemic, what the future of education can look like and inspiring new projects. We've welcomed at least 18 guests to these chats - thank you all!

We’ll continue these talks in 2021 when we return to Creative Circles on Tuesday 2 February, in conversation with EPAD!

Four evolving student partnerships

Our final ‘IRL’ events of 2020 saw us collaborate with Creative Informatics, University of Edinburgh Careers Service and Edinburgh College of Art on Creative Enterprise Week, delivering a jam packed week of events to support students. These events have continued in digital form throughout 2020 and into 2021.

A future in the creative industries is rarely linear and working closely with Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College, we delve into the value of networks, building confidence and expecting the unexpected for students and recent graduates!

Five Creative Circles On the Road venues lined up!

Back in January, we excitedly announced a year of bimonthly Creative Circles events popping up across the city, offering more chances to network while welcoming the community into inspiring city spaces.

Off to a great start February, we were at Fruitmarket Gallery’s Bookmarket at Waverley Wall, chatting over coffee and cakes.

We planned to hop across town, visiting Projekt 42 in Leith, Riddle’s Court, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Leith Theatre before the year was out. Be sure to explore what they’ve got on in the meantime!

COVID pulled the brakes on those visits, but the venues deserve a lot of love and we can’t wait to rearrange pronto. And of course, a special shout out to our monthly home at CodeBase!

Six partners in our Party Packs!

The Creative Edinburgh Awards is brought to life by the freelancers and businesses who contribute to it. From 3D photo booths to face painters, DJs and comedians to bakers and brewers, the Awards celebrate innovative businesses across Edinburgh as well as the shortlist..

Moving #CEAwards20 virtual, we did not want to lose that , and so the Party Packs were born. Delicious totes filled with drams, sweet treats, puzzles and posters to keep folks entertained and give us a taste of what the city has on offer.

Partnering with Sweetdram, Mademoiselle Macaron, Barclays Eagle Labs, Creative Informatics, Farr Out Delivery and 2020’s Awards artists, the Party Packs were crammed full of goodies which would make pretty good shop local gifts too…

Seven Summer Party performers

As entries opened for #CEAwards20, we marked the occasion with a visit to the Awards 2019 shortlist. Welcoming a line up of performers and winners from last year, we took to Facebook Live to see in a summer evening with a beer and a boogie from the comfort of our sofas!

Our line up included spoken word from Imogen Stirling, poetry readings from Alycia Pirmohamed and Andres Ordorica, inspiring words from Helena Good, a chat with Fringe of Colour’s Jess Brough, short films from Creative Electric and the previously mentioned playlist, curated by EML!

Eight workshops in our new skills programme

Back in September, we launched Raise Your Game, a digital skills programme for the future! Covering a range of topics designed to help freelancers take stock, make moves and think forward with their big ideas, we partnered with creative freelancers and businesses to deliver the sessions, with a range of additional resources on offer too!

Following a period of evaluation and developing, we’ll be redelivering the programme in 2021 so keep your eyes peeled!

Nine projects funded by Connected Innovators (so far!)

We launched our first round of Connected Innovators funding. In partnership with Creative Informatics, the programme offers funded support for emerging leaders to develop an idea using data or data-driven technology.

The first cohort covers a wide range of projects, including Alex Durussel-Baker’s service design project about Type 1 Diabetes, Brian Baglow’s project mapping the rapidly evolving games industry, Sarah Calmus upskilling her use of data-driven tech for visual arts and Michael Begg’s data sonification project. Round 2 applications closed last week and will be announced in early 2021!

Ten Creative Edinburgh Awards 2020 Winners!

It’s just over a month since we announced the winners of 2020’s Creative Edinburgh Awards! With over 200 applications, a shortlist of 36 people and projects from across Edinburgh, the 10 winners represent the diverse, exciting and inspiring work taking place in the city - even in the face of a pandemic.

Our virtual ceremony was live streamed in partnership with Sweetdram and 54EP and took place across YouTube and Zoom. We delved into the shortlist, revealed the winners live and danced the night out with Maranta!

Eleven industry expert drop ins!

With the creative industries hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, we called upon the community to lend support to those in need of advice, guidance or expertise in a variety of fields.

In addition to drop in sessions with Team Creative Edinburgh, we offered one-to-ones with specialists from film & video production, marketing & branding, finance and project management, leadership and working from home.

Thank you to all the folks who donated their time! If you have any queries about the industry, you can reach out to Creative Edinburgh at info@creative-edinburgh.com - we can signpost you to the right place!

Twelve lightning talks!

Our Talking Heads events are a staple of the CE events calendar. Combining inspiring creative journeys with lightning speed, we gather together creatives for an evening of story sharing - usually over a pint and a slice!

We couldn’t have predicted how apt our theme of Shifting Gears would be as we hosted Talking Heads just a couple of weeks into lockdown, but it proved a much needed lift to spirits in unprecedented times. The main takeaway? A creative career - and a creative life - will always resemble a squiggle more than a straight line.


And there we have it, a host of inspiring creative folks helping make the magic happen!

Here’s to a brighter, calmer and always creative 2021.

We'll see you there!

Team CE x

join us
Join Us
and be part of
our community
Join now
Creative Edinburgh Member
Creative Edinburgh Member
Free membership
Online Profile
Apply for Mentoring Scheme
Creative Matchmaking
Legal Consultations
Member Shout-Out