Meet the people behind the festivals - Ruth McEvilly
An integral part of Aberdeen Festivals’ work is to strengthen the cultural sector in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. This is mainly achieved through our key resource, our people. This month we are speaking to Ruth McEvilly from North East Open Studios (NEOS):
Tell us a bit about your job
I am Chair of NEOS which is an art event held each year throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for nine days in September. Run by volunteers we are a collective who aim to highlight the diverse and exciting wealth of creative talent in the North-east. My role along with the committee is to put together our NEOS Book from launch of the application process in March to publication of the book at the end of July. A key part of my role is encourage our wider membership to take ownership of NEOS and be key participants in how it develops and grows.
What do you think makes our region's cultural offering stand out?
The diversity of what is on offer, we have everything a tourist, whether local or from outside the area, typically associates with Scotland. Fantastic scenery, amazing visitor attractions , whisky and golf of course but in addition we have a growing festival and cultural scene around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which has added another dimension to what is available in the region. It is great to see a small city with such a wealth of talent working to promote and support what is on our doorstep. I think as an outsider I see the gaps that still exist but see that steps are being taken to address this. As the oil capital of Europe emphasis has not been placed on what else we have to offer but we are working to redressing this in a very positive way.
How has working as part of Aberdeen Festival developed the festival you represent and your career?
The support provided by Aberdeen Festivals to NEOS has been great as part of the Festivals we are reaching a wider audience via direct advertising and the social media links which have raised our profile amongst a different group of potential visitors. The promotion of the Festivals as a whole regional offering works really well and helps put the North East firmly on the cultural map. From a personal point of view being part of the collective and working in collaboration with the other festivals has been an interesting and educational process which I hope to build on the next 12 months.
How do you spend your weekends?
As I live in “The Shire” if I am not working away in my own studio I like nothing better than getting out into the countryside and finding interesting places to visit especially if it involves a good café or eatery, there really are some hidden gems out there. On a fine day beach combing is top of the list with a fish and chips chaser.