Edinburgh’s world famous Festivals will share £2 million from the Scottish Government to showcase Scotland’s cultural and creative talent.

The funding will support ambitious and innovative projects for audiences in Scotland and overseas. They will include collaborations between the festivals and with international artists and creators.

The Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund is designed to help maintain the global competitive edge of the festivals, to increase funding available to Scottish-based artists and practitioners and to encourage creative collaborations.

This year’s allocations will support a wide range of projects including:

* A Festival Pavilion showcasing Scottish creativity and innovation, and profiling the art festival in the heart of the city thanks to a project by Scottish artist Karen Forbes
* Highly acclaimed Made in Scotland programme presenting the very best of Scottish theatre and dance
* A world premiere of new work from international choreographer Jorma Elo by Scottish Ballet
* Development of a Scottish film-makers forum showcasing talent to leading industry professionals from across the globe during the Film Festival

Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“Edinburgh is the world’s premier festival city. That reputation is vitally important for the city and the whole of Scotland. Edinburgh’s Festivals attract millions of visitors to Scotland year round from across the globe, making a vital contribution to our economy. We are committed to ensuring they continue to flourish.

“That is exactly why we have continued to invest in Edinburgh’s Festivals. Our Expo Fund has produced creative and imaginative projects of the highest quality, many of which are critically acclaimed. It has promoted Scotland’s artistic talent and enhanced our reputation internationally.

“This year’s funding will enable even more ambitious projects, which will support home-grown talent and stunning creative collaborations, thrilling audiences at home and internationally.

Faith Liddell, Director of Festivals Edinburgh said:

“Edinburgh’s Festivals are a global magnet for visitors and media, and an incredible springboard for national and international talent. The Scottish Government’s belief and continued investment in our Festivals’ ambitious programming ensures that Scotland’s talents shine brightly when the eyes of the world are on Edinburgh. We are enormously grateful for the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, and especially so as we develop exciting projects and initiatives that will keep Edinburgh and Scotland on the map in the Olympic and Commonwealth years of 2012 and 2014.”

Today Ms Hyslop visited the Scotsman Steps project where she viewed the ongoing work by to revitalise this unique Edinburgh landmark. Commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery with support from Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund for Edinburgh Art Festival, the work involves Martin Creed re-surfacing the Scotsman Steps with different and contrasting marbles from all over the world,

She said: “This project is an excellent example of what our investment in culture can achieve. A unique collaboration between one of our youngest festivals and Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed has created a simply stunning lasting legacy to be enjoyed by the people of Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole.”

The allocations to each festival are:

* Edinburgh Art Festival £160,000
* Edinburgh International Book Festival – £110,000
* Edinburgh Film Festival – £100,000
* Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Made in Scotland) – £440,000
* Imaginate (Children’s Festival) – £143,000
* Edinburgh International Festival – £100,000
* Jazz and Blues Festival – £140,000
* Mela – £80,000
* Edinburgh Science Festival – £180,000
* Storytelling Festival – £52,000
* Edinburgh Military Tattoo – £5,000
* Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – £250,000

The Scottish Government has awarded £2 million to the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund in 2011/12. The fund started in 2008-09 (£6 million over three years) offering support to the 12 Edinburgh festivals under the umbrella of Festivals Edinburgh. It is aimed at supporting: touring within or outwith Scotland of works premiered at the festivals; work by Scottish-based artists and arts companies, and collaborative work with international artists.

Commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery with support from the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund for Edinburgh Art Festival, the work involves Martin Creed re-surfacing the Scotsman Steps with different and contrasting marbles from all over the world, creating a visually spectacular, beautiful and thoughtful response to this historic artery. Creed describes the project as a microcosm of the whole world – stepping on the different marble steps will be like walking through the world, the new staircase dramatising Edinburgh’s internationalism and contemporary significance while recognising and respecting its historical importance.