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By Rachel Smart

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Chris Bonnello
Chris Bonnello

XpoNorth is the specialist support mechanism for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and its annual conference will be taking place on 15th –16th of June this year. From top international speakers and creative business leaders to creative industry students, the XpoNorth conference brings creatives together and provides them the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business, network with peers and unite to discuss new and innovative ways of working.

The conference, which is free to attend, will see dynamic regional, national and international speakers from the creative, digital and heritage sectors unite to discuss the key theme of this year’s conference: storytelling. Gareth Jones, one of the original designers at Dyson; Steve Gardam, the director of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre; Chris Bonnello, multi-award-winning author; and Neil Webster, executive producer and script editor; are just some of the speakers set to take to the virtual stage over the two days of conference.

Embracing the storytelling theme, this year’s event will hear from award winning poets, authors and literary agents in various sessions offering insights into the world of publishing. Robert Louis Stevenson award winning poet, Michael Pederson, will lead a session on poetry; indie authors John Jarrold and Amy Collins will explore ways in which agents and indie authors can and are working together; and Coinneach MacLeod, otherwise known as The Hebridean Baker, and award-winning author, Malachy Tallack, will discuss writing as a passion.

Amy Collins
Amy Collins

Welcoming top names in Scotland's screen industry, XpoNorth will host STV chief executive Simon Pitts, co-CEO of Buccaneer Media, Richard Tulk-Hart and Susanne Simpson executive producer of Masterpiece PBS who will share their own experiences and give insight into exciting projects and new Scottish collaborations.

With cultural recovery and renewal in motion in a post-covid landscape, guest speaker Naomi Pohl, General Secretary at the Musicians Union, will lead conversations on the important role of artists and musicians and what is required for them in order to thrive. The conference will also feature a much-anticipated exclusive sit down with Belladrum festival founder, Joe Gibbs, and Kilimanjaro Live CEO, Stuart Galbraith, XpoNorth will be taking a candid deep dive through the past, present and future of one of Scotland’s most loved festivals.

Joe Gibbs
Joe Gibbs

Following two hugely successful years as a digital event, the conference will return as an interactive online experience via the Socio platform. Designing an immersive destination where attendees from different sectors can connect and exchange ideas is central to the XpoNorth experience, with this year’s edition offering enhanced opportunities for attendees through a blend of unique seminar content, dedicated 1-2-1 sessions, networking opportunities and digital trade spaces.

Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and co-founder of XpoNorth,said, “We’re really pleased with the diversity and range of this year’s conference programme and are excited to share further details on some of the key themes and inspirational speakers joining us next month. The creative economy continues to present significant community and economic opportunities for the Highlands and Islands, with XpoNorth again delivering an important platform for our regional businesses to engage with networks from across the national and international marketplace. This year’s seminar schedule is set to cover more content areas than ever before - and with the digital format continuing to break down access barriers, we’re delighted to be bringing such an exciting experience to our XpoNorth community.”

To register interest in attending the conference, be kept up to date with the latest news from XpoNorth and to discover hundreds of engaging pieces of content please visit www.xponorth.co.uk

Delegates can now register to attend for free via: www.xponorth.co.uk

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