Skip to main content

Stage set for “ground-breaking year”

Press Release   •   Dec 31, 2015 10:17 GMT

Hot on the heels of the Year of Food and Drink 2015, Scotland is getting ready to celebrate the best of its breath-taking built heritage, bold design and awe-inspiring innovation with a range of new and exciting events as part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

From textiles to technology, architecture to fashion and design, the year-long programme running from 1 January to 31 December 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s architectural masterpieces, unique crafts and textiles, and its cutting edge design creations.

With 2016 just around the corner, a number of New Year events are already set to celebrate the theme including the brand new ‘Fire and Light’ event at the Helix in Falkirk on 1 January which will see Andy Scott’s ‘The Kelpies’ as the backdrop for a 3500 sold-out capacity crowd.

On New Year’s Day, 1,200 people will splash into the chilly waters of the Firth of Forth in the shadow of an iconic World Heritage Site, famed for its cantilever design – the Forth Bridge - at the 30th anniversary Stoats Loony Dook. The event will be witnessed by almost 3,000 spectators. 

Also on New Year’s Day, those in Edinburgh can discover artists, actors and musicians at Scot:Lands as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Eleven ‘Lands’ curated by the country’s best brightest and innovative creatives will await to be found on foot around distinctive venues within Edinburgh’s Old Town built heritage. 

Another highlight in January will include ‘Hello My Name is Paul Smith’ – an exhibition brought to Glasgow for the first time at The Lighthouse, which traces the iconic designer’s development from the early 1970's until today.

A Tale of Two Cities will be on display to the public at Edinburgh Castle until 14 February 2016.  Tale of Two Cities pairs the Scottish capital with other locations that have shared key periods of change over the centuries, and uses a combination of archival material and innovative digital technology to explain the stories of two cities.

For budding architects, sculptors or just big kids at heart Build it! Adventures with LEGOBricks is a series of events and activities starting from 29 January and running until 17 April at the National Museum of Scotland.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“The 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design  offers tourism businesses across Scotland a fantastic opportunity to showcase, celebrate and engage visitors with this wide-ranging and fascinating theme.

“The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design has begun. Visitors already travel to Scotland to experience world-class architecture and top-class design and the year will build on this heritage with an enticing programme of events that shows Scotland’s creative, modern and inventive approach continues to inspire and influence audiences across the globe.

“Building on the success of Homecoming 2014 and the previous themed years, I encourage the industry to embrace this latest opportunity to show the best of what Scotland has to offer and to invite all of our visitors – from day-trippers to those coming from further afield – to enjoy the diverse range of events on offer throughout the year.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said:

“With this new themed year we have the opportunity to put Scotland on the map in a new and exciting way, catching the attention of visitors old and new, positioning Scotland as a mix of traditional and cutting-edge at the same time.

“Scotland is a nation of pioneers, home to ground-breaking scientists, philosophers, engineers and architects for hundreds of years.  From the Forth Rail Bridge to Dolly the Sheep, the telephone to the television, Charles Rennie Mackintosh to Andy Scott, and Harris Tweed to the iconic Mackintosh raincoat, Scotland’s innovative past, present and future continue to inspire and influence audiences across the globe, shaping the modern world we live in today.

“The events planned for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 are diverse, interesting and inspiring and we look forward to what we hope will be a ground-breaking year for tourism.”

The year will be celebrated with a programme of 28 events funded by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, including the Clo Mor Festival of Harris Tweed, Luminous Birds, Craft Scotland’s ‘Meet Your Maker’, SPECTRA and the Festival of Architecture – a series of over 400 events and exhibitions taking place throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, coordinated by The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS). 

Leading public arts organisation NVA, will mark the official launch of the Festival of Architecture in March 2016 with ‘Hinterland’, at which audiences have the chance to experience Scotland’s greatest modernist building, St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, with a spectacular night-time public art event exactly 50 years since the iconic building was first opened.

Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design will begin on 1 January 2016. For more information, visit

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

    • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
    • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
    • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
    • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
    • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
    • For holiday information on Scotland go to
    • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

    • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
    • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
    • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
    • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting