Creative Edinburgh Awards: The 2023 Shortlist

The Spit it Out Project, AdesignStorie, Hidden Door, and The Edinburgh Science Festival are just some of the projects and organisations shortlisted for Creative Edinburgh Awards this year

Article by Jamie Dunn | 16 Oct 2023
  • Creative Edinburgh Awards 2022

Once again Edinburgh’s creative community will be coming together to celebrate the wealth of talent in Scotland’s capital with the Creative Edinburgh Awards. For those uninitiated, since 2012 the Creative Edinburgh Awards have been highlighting the projects, people and places that flourish across the city and help enrich its creative community. 

Today the shortlist of finalists has been revealed. In total, there are 35 finalists across ten categories celebrating qualities such as innovation, community engagement and collaborations within Edinburgh’s vibrant creative community. The full list of finalists competing at the Creative Edinburgh Awards on 17 November is below.

Creative Edinburgh Finalists for 2023

Creative Edinburgh’s Community Award is, you guessed it, all about community. Specifically, it celebrates projects that enrich their communities and help them thrive. This year’s finalists are Brass Blast, a music project providing specialist instrumental tuition in trumpet, trombone and street drumming for young people of all abilities; the inaugural North Edinburgh Film Festival, a film festival with a focus on documentary and experimental film, as well as screenings from the Pilton Video archive; The Spit it Out Project, a vital organisation dedicated to opening conversations around consent, mental health and healing through creativity, accountability and community care; and Edinburgh's Chinese Arts Association for this year's Chinese New Year Celebration on The Mound.

The Creative Startup Award is for newcomers to Edinburgh’s creative industries. This year’s finalists are sound engineer Comrie sf for Fountain Sound; the independent magazine Cunning Folk, which specialises in writing about magic, mythology, folklore and the occult; design collective Imagine If. Space CIC; and role-playing games publisher Stout Stoat Press

The finalists for this year’s Innovation Award are given to a one-off creative venture where innovative approaches are used. Up for this award are interior design studio AdesignStorie; Edinburgh's Lost Empire Palace Theatre, which aims to bring this ‘lost’ theatre back to life by unlocking archive data using physical modelling and digital innovation; and musical training group Tinderbox Collective.

The Freelance Award celebrates freelancers based in the city who produce valuable projects while working solo. The finalists are Anneleen Lindsay, Debi Pirie and Sophia Hembeck. The Student Award, meanwhile, is a prize for a student or recent graduate who has founded an exciting project or pushed the boundaries of their creative practice. It has Fìdeachlann: A Multimedia Fantasy World Co-Created with Generative AI, Gutter Punks and John Robertson (The Art of self-control) on the list.

The finalists for the Leadership Award given to a pioneer, a mentor, or an inspiring leader in the Edinburgh community – are Abi Lewis, Dr Simon Gage OBE and Bee Asha Singh & Lea Luiz de Oliveira of The Spit it Out Project. For those with a project that aspired to reuse, recycle and to make work that was carbon neutral, there’s the Sustainable Creativity Award. The finalists are AdesignStorie, High Tide, Positive Imaginings, Rowanbank Environmental Arts & Education and The Ethical Making Programme.

Edinburgh is a diverse city, so Creative Edinburgh also tips their hat to organisations that have worked hard to reflect this diversity within the community with the Inclusion Award. The finalists are Ama-zing Harmonies, Central Asia Creative Hub and Cutting Edge Theatre. The annual Collaboration Award, meanwhile, recognises organisations that have had projects flourish as a result of happy collaboration. Craft Cafe project, Intercultural Youth Scotland, Loud Poets Grand Slam Final and Tinderbox Orchestra are all up for the award.

Creative Edinburgh doesn’t really go in for hierarchies when it comes to their awards, but the Edinburgh City Award always feels like a biggie. It’s given to a project that really made a mark on Edinburgh and couldn’t have happened elsewhere. The four contenders in this category are Art27 Scotland's "Festival of Migration", The Edinburgh Science Festival, Young Edinburgh Storytellers and Hidden Door, which this year held its immersive festival in the former Scottish Widows complex on Dalkeith Road.

Those are all the runners and riders at this year’s Creative Edinburgh Awards. The winners will be announced at this year's ceremony, which takes place on 17 November at The Biscuit Factory in Leith. Tickets for the ceremony can be purchased here.