Inverness Creative Academy is a £5.7m project which will transform two beautiful B-listed former school buildings on the old Inverness Royal Academy site in the Crown area of the city into the largest creative facility for artists, designers, makers, creative industries, cultural social enterprises and the community in the Scottish Highlands.

This will be the largest creative hub in the Highlands, providing space for artists, designers, makers, creative industries, arts organisations and cultural social enterprises.

The two buildings currently provide 3,200 m2 in floor area and therefore have the capacity to make a considerable contribution to local heritage regeneration and to the growth of the wider creative economy in the Highlands.

This project is being led by Wasps, Scotland’s largest provider of creative workspace. Wasps is home to the largest creative community in Scotland including 900 visual artists, 25 arts charities and 33 creative businesses at 19 sites from the Scottish borders to the Shetland Islands.

We cant wait to complete our first major creative hub in the Highlands, building a central home for collaboration, production and opportunity.

The creation of Inverness Creative Academy is happening in two phases.

Phase 1 was completed in November 2018. This phase brought the 1913 Arts and Science extension back into use as 30 studio spaces for artists and makers. The first tenants moved into their studios in December 2018. and this part of the project was formally opened by Provost Helen Carmichael on the 28th March 2019.

See building plans for Phase 1 below:

Here is a visualisation of the studio spaces created by LDN architects:

F1637 L(2-) 021_Proposed Sections.PC9

We are currently fundraising for Phase 2 which will provide:

• 54 workspaces for creative industries and cultural social enterprises

• Public café within the restored former assembly hall

• Public exhibition, events and workshop spaces on two levels overlooking the hall

Fully accessible meeting rooms and facilities for hire

Phase 2 will restore the original 1895 Academy building, one of the finest listed buildings in Inverness, completing the ‘creative industries’ wing of the project and restoring the grand assembly hall into an inspiring public space. This stage will complete our vision to deliver a vibrant creative destination to serve the whole of the Highlands.

See building plans for Phase 2 below

Here is a visualisation of the assembly hall space by LDN architects

PG16. Building A - Atrium Section.jpg

Together, both phases will provide a ground breaking contemporary facility for artists, designers, makers and creative organisations and will be a catalyst for growth of the local creative economy. Inverness Creative Academy will return these historic buildings to the forefront of cultural life, innovation and learning in the Highlands.

Wasps already provides good-quality studios, workshops, offices and other facilities for 900 creative people in centres from The Borders to Shetland.

The Creative Academy will be a major plus for Highlands, helping the region tap into the growing importance of the creative industries, which generates £3.7 billion a year for the Scottish economy and provides 73,600 jobs.

This is in line with HIE’s ambition for the creative sector to account for 7% of the region’s economic activity – equalling the Scottish average.