Cultural Pathfinder

Kevin MacNeil, Writer, Lewis

Kevin MacNeil,
Writer, Lewis

In 2006, the Outer Hebrides was one of thirteen local authority areas in Scotland to be selected by the then Scottish Executive, which is now the Scottish Government, to be national ‘Pathfinders’ for the development of culture at a local level. The overall aim was for each local authority to produce findings and recommendations that can be applied locally, considered nationally and shared with other local authorities. 

Over 700 people took part in the Outer Hebrides Cultural Pathfinder consultation process from September 2007 to January 2008, through participation in focus groups, one-to-one meetings with key individuals in the cultural sector locally and nationally, and through an innovative and wide-ranging series of artist-led ‘creative workshops’ with the stakeholders, residents and the general public.

Donnie MacNeil, Vatersay Boys, Barra

Donnie MacNeil,
Vatersay Boys, Barra

The creation of Island Voices (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) encouraged further participation in the process and offered the opportunity for local people to express their views on what was important to them. Several school projects took place as part of the process, and opportunities to contribute ideas and opinions were offered via an online questionnaire.

John-Joseph MacNeil, Barra and Vatersay Community Radio

John-Joseph MacNeil,
Barra and Vatersay
Community Radio

The Pathfinder documents are a report on the Outer Hebrides Cultural Pathfinder process and a record of the significant elements that arose from it. The main focus of the study was on the process itself: the use of cultural planning methodology in the consultation process and an analysis of the potential application of cultural planning as an approach to community planning and partnership working.

The recommendations have been developed jointly between the consultants and the Comhairle’s informal Cultural Working Group. This approach recognises that this report is a key part of the Pathfinder process but not its final destination. The  recommendations are, therefore, presented for all current and potential partners to consider, prioritise, and work on as a work in progress in partnership across the Comhairle, Community Planning Partners and local community cultural organisations.

If you would like to like to be sent a hard copy of the Final Report and Appendices, and/or if you would like to discuss them, please do not hesitate to be in touch.     


Elsie Mitchell: Arts Development Officer: