Cultural Research

In 2004, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, in association with Western Isles Enterprise, commissioned a report into the Social and Economic Impact of the Arts in the Western Isles (See below).

The findings concluded that the economic impact of the arts is very considerable, generating some 430 full-time equivalent jobs and £4.7 million annually in additional household income. This indicates the extent to which the arts are now a major contributor to the Western Isles' economic base and its cultural tourism sector.

Social impacts were found to be comparable in value to economic impacts, although less tangible. Benefits to individuals and communities include opportunities for people of all ages to participate in or attend stimulating activities, enhanced community identity and confidence, a role in improving health and well-being, use of the Gaelic language, social interaction within and between communities, and population retention.

The report includes six case studies of facilities and events, all of which are very successful community arts initiatives that are excellent examples, acknowledged nationally, of what can be achieved with sustained and committed effort.

Finally, not suprisingly the voluntary sector was found to be essential in sustaining arts activity in the Western Isles, and the requirement for on-going encouragement and support for this contribution is acknowledged.

The Comhairle would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who took time to contribute to the study. The results will be used to develop the Western Isles Cultural Strategy and associated Arts Action Plan. However, as a public document it is also hoped that the report will assist arts organisations and individuals throughout the islands.

If you are interested in accessing a copy of the summary or main report, please either download the documents below or for a hard copy contact: Isa Matheson, Department for Sustainable Communities Tel: 01870 602 425 (e-mail: ).


Main Report (599.8kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Summary Report (74.5kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)


Elsie Mitchell: Arts Development Officer: