Keep Culture Alive

Aberdeen's culture scene is under threat

Keep Culture Alive


Sorry to barge into your inbox early this month, we’re a little ahead of schedule. We think it's crucial that you're aware of the threat to Aberdeen's cultural landscape so you can make your voice heard.

If the necessary funding isn't secured, Spectra and Granite Noir could disappear, along with the Jazz Festival. Creative spaces will disappear, the Art Gallery will suffer, and there will be little hope for the Belmont to reopen its doors anytime soon. We urge you to read this message carefully and take action, ideally today, as a council vote is scheduled for March 1st.

It’s not all drama though as the second half of the email is our regular look at the month ahead.

Chris & Kevin 💌

This month

  • #SaveCulture
  • What’s on in March?
  • Your photos
  • Until next month


Aberdeen City Council faces a considerable funding shortfall, posing a significant challenge. Various proposed solutions have been suggested, including a drastic reduction in our cultural budget. This will inevitably result in the disappearance of many of the city's events.

In recent years, few things have brought the city together more than its exceptional festivals. Aberdeen is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage that can only reach its full potential with a well-funded cultural programme. Nurturing our culture requires passion, hard work, and healthy financial support.

Festivals and cultural events attract visitors from around the country and the world.

Cultural events and activities improve people's well-being by providing a sense of community, reducing isolation, and promoting mental health. Participating in cultural activities lets people feel connected to others and feel a sense of belonging. Additionally, cultural activities such as dance, music, and theatre can provide therapy and help people express themselves creatively.

Festivals and cultural events attract visitors from around the country and the world. This brings in desperately-needed revenue for local businesses, hotels, and restaurants. In addition, cultural institutions such as museums, galleries, and theatres create jobs and contribute to the local economy. Investing in cultural programmes supports a cultural tourism industry and bolsters our local economy.

The city's cultural programme provides opportunities for people from different backgrounds to come together and celebrate our diversity. Providing a platform for people to share their cultural traditions and practices promotes understanding and appreciation of other cultures. This leads to a more inclusive society.

Cultural programmes provide educational opportunities for people of all ages, allowing them to learn about different cultures, histories, and art forms. This promotes learning and creates a more informed and engaged community. By investing in cultural programmes, the city can provide opportunities for its residents to learn and grow, which can help to improve our quality of life.

We've listed a few things you can do to convince Aberdeen City Council that cutting its cultural budget is not the solution that some may think it might be. No decisions have been made yet, but this will be discussed TOMORROW, so now is the time to take action.

A well-funded cultural programme is crucial for Aberdeen. Promoting diversity, boosting the economy, enhancing education, and improving well-being

1. Contact your councillors. Visit the WriteToThem website and enter your postcode to find out who your representatives are. Then, go to the Aberdeen City Council website for their email addresses. Compose a brief email to them all expressing dissatisfaction with any proposal to cut the budget and explain why. Don't forget to include your home address. This lets them know you are a constituent.

2. Sign the online petition at, leaving a personalised message of support.

3. Use the hashtag #SaveCulture to share your thoughts on social media. Specifically, share some of your favourite events from recent years and explain why these events are significant to you.

A well-funded cultural programme is crucial for Aberdeen. Promoting diversity, boosting the economy, enhancing education, and improving well-being create a more vibrant and thriving community. Investment in cultural programmes makes the city a cultural destination. The alternative is empty theatres, creative spaces and galleries. This would inescapably lead to more empty shops, cafes and restaurants.

What’s on in March?

Once you’ve made your voice heard, it’s time to sit back, relax, and check out what Aberdeen has on offer during March. As always, this is just a selection of the events. There is always more…and you can find it at our Aberdeen Events page, updated throughout the month.

Every Friday - SNUG

SNUG is a fantastic project taking place at The Anatomy Rooms, Marischal College. Offering a warm and friendly environment where you can relax and be creative. You can also enjoy free hot drinks and access to art materials, resources, and activities. Studio doors are open to visitors on Fridays from 10 am to 5.30 pm.

3 March - Aberdeen Cultural Summit

Aberdeen’s cultural organisations come together at RGU to discuss the state of the culture scene in Aberdeen, and tculturalate new ideas to push the sector forward in a more coordinated manner. Jointly hosted by RGU and the University of Aberdeen, the focus of this summit will be on the visual arts in all their different forms.

4 March - Polish Scottish Mini Festival - Kosy and Iona Fyfe

Aberdeenshire folk singer, Iona Fyfe joins charismatic, socially responsible artists Kosy for a night of song at The Lemon Tree. Iona performs both folk and pop songs in the Scots language, while Kosy combine their arrangements with traditional Polish, folk material. Sure to be a great night.

4 March - 3 September - The Testament of Alexander Jaffray

A new exhibit launching at Aberdeen Art Gallery, The Testament of Alexander Jaffray examines the life of the two-time provost of Aberdeen and uses the manuscript of Jaffray’s last testament as the starting point for a closer look at the man himself and the persecution endured by Quakers at the hands of the city authorities.

6 March - Roller Derby Taster Session

The Granite City Brawlers, a roller derby league based in Aberdeen, and their friends at Granite City Roller Derby are inviting you to try roller derby with them at the Beach Leisure Centre. Whether you’re an experienced skater or a complete beginner, you are welcome to give it a go.

10 March - Aberdeen Boat Race

Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen will go head-to-head in a highly-anticipated showdown. This is the 28th annual race between the two institutions. Fans of both sides are encouraged to join the competitors at the Aberdeen Boat Club to cheer on their teams.

16 - 26 March - Aberdeen Jazz Festival ’23

Aberdeen Jazz Festival is celebrating its 20th year, offering live music ranging from smooth to raucous, and trail-blazing to traditional. Noteworthy performances at Aberdeen Jazz Festival this year include a duo by Sebastian Rochford and Kit Downes, Fergus McCreadie and Matt Carmichael’s duet, and Martin Kershaw’s octet.

18 - 19 March - Code the City 28

Code the City 28 participants will spend the big weekend using technology and data for civic good. The team use a variety of tools to generate ideas; open data, workshops, and idea-generation tools. This is a hackathon for people who care about making the world a better place.

24 March - 2 April - Climate Week North East 2023

A 10-day event packed full of inspiring events designed to raise awareness of climate change and show you what you can do to make a difference. Climate Week North East is not only informative but also fun. From family fun days and guided walks and bike rides to upcycling events and wild meadow making

25 March - Treasure Hub Open Day

Aberdeen Treasure Hub is where Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums’ impressive collection of artworks and objects are stored and cared for when they are not on public display. This is your chance to see behind the scenes and meet the team. Thirty-minute tours throughout the day on a first-come-first-served basis.

31 March - Fittie Film Club screening From Scotland with Love

Directed by Virginia Heath, From Scotland With Love is a documentary. The film features original music by Scottish singer-songwriter King Creosote. This purely visual documentary spans 75 minutes and is crafted entirely from archive film material from the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Screen Archive.

31 March - Tetris streaming on Apple TV+

The filming for Tetris arrived in Aberdeen in February 2021. Aberdeenshire born and raised director Jon S. Baird believed that many of the brutalist buildings in the city would pass for cold-war-era Moscow. The film tells the story of how the iconic game found its way into the hands of millions of gamers worldwide.

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Until next month

We thought we’d leave you with this video from Jon Reid this month. It’s his hugely entertaining talk about how he’s explored Aberdeen’s creative scene through his Mood of Collapse blog, now called Creative Aberdeen. This is a perfect tonic to the difficult news we opened with.

We’ll see you next month 💛