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Shetland Arts has announced a two-year partnership with Shetland Islands Council to support delivery of a range of exciting creative solutions for The Knab as part of their Redevelopment Masterplan.

Through funding from Shetland Islands Council (SIC) and Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), a two-year secondment has been secured for a Creative Outreach post via Shetland Arts, ensuring that creativity is embedded in the design and build of the Knab redevelopment. The role has been taken on by Creative Project Manager Jane Matthews, who previously worked at Shetland Arts on a variety of national and local projects including exhibitions, schools’ projects and residencies.

Core to the Knab Masterplan, adopted by Shetland Islands Council in 2019, is the proposal for the development of the Anderson Institute into a creative hub including creative workspace, artists’ studios, exhibition space, workshop and community meeting spaces. Part of Jane’s role will be to deliver a pilot project on the ground floor to fully establish what demand is for this sort of facility before the whole building is developed as part of the Islands Growth Deal. Shetland Arts will also use the site to launch and house the Tool Library, previously announced, alongside a community paint recycling facility and a dark room.

Graeme Howell, CEO of Shetland Arts explains, “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring our expertise to the table and support SIC’s redevelopment of the Knab. We believe that creativity is an important part of everybody’s life, and we continue to enable and empower our communities, groups and individuals to fulfil their creative potential. We work with schools, care settings, community groups and individuals to achieve these outcomes and we see all this work being integral to the next stage of work at The Knab”.

Jane Matthews continues, “The aim of my new role is to help build a way for the wider community to connect with the developments at the Knab over the coming years and the focus for this will be at The Institute.

“Written into the masterplan for the site is the establishment of a creative hub in the old Institute building and I’m going to be supporting this by helping to get the building repurposed to house artist studios, a gallery and project space, meeting rooms, photographic darkroom and a community workshop. We’ll also be launching our tool lending library from the building and establishing a paint recycling scheme to prevent unwanted paint from entering the waste stream.”

“At an SIC Public Consultation event planned for Wednesday 15 & Thursday 16 June at the Town Hall, anyone who wants to share stories and memories from their time at The Institute will be welcome to come and chat, or just leave a note. I’m hoping we can follow this up with the support of Lerwick History Group to record some oral histories in the coming months.”

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