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History of Orkney Arts Forum
The Arts Forum was originally set up by Orkney Islands Council, under the chairmanship of Councillor Roderick MacLeod in 2001. The Council and other members of the Forum were keen to establish a strategic approach to arts development in the county, and along with Forum members Orkney Enterprise and the Scottish Arts Council, commissioned a major piece of work to audit current activity and the state of the arts in Orkney.
The Orkney Arts Audit was undertaken by Bryan Beattie of Creative Services, and was published in 2002. The was quickly followed by the creation of the Orkney Arts Strategy 2003-2006, again by Bryan Beattie.
The Orkney Arts Strategy included over 100 recommendations over a variety of areas such as improved facilities, opportunities for artists, increased opportunities for participation and new staff posts.
The strategy included a recommendation to establish a post of Arts Development Officer and at the time that the strategy was published the Arts Forum ceased its work, and the Council worked with Orkney Enterprise and the Scottish Arts Council, to establish the post for three years.
At the time that the arts development officer came into post in May 2004, the Orkney Arts Forum was re-established in its present form, in order to advise the arts development officer, and take a key role within the Orkney Community Planning Partnership. It was chaired by Alistair Peebles (Literature Representative) until 2009, and is now chaired by Leslie Burgher, the representative for Architecture, Design and New Media. Alongside its work to move forward and advocate for the arts in Orkney, the Forum has managed several specific projects such as the Highlands 2007 music commission of the poems of Robert Rendall, "Winterings" performed by the St Magnus Festival Chorus in December 2007, and Tullimentan - the showcase for the arts held in 2005.