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Meet Our #PerthPioneers!

Perth 2021 started looking for ‘Perth Pioneers’ that demonstrate the wonderful depth and breadth of talent that Perth and Kinross has to over across its cultural sectors.

Perth Pioneers are people who make a difference to Perth and Kinross, and demonstrate that we have an engaged, community-driven region which can work together to deliver UK City of Culture 2021.

The majority of our Perth Pioneers have been nominated through the official Perth 2021 website or at the campaign launch event in August 2016. At the campaign event members of the public were asked to write the names of their nominees on blank nametags, which were later compiled into a list of Perth Pioneers.

Due to the overwhelming number of nominations, Pioneers were narrowed down based on multiple nominations, geographical spread across Perth and Kinross and the kind of work they were being recognised for.

Perth Pioneers were contacted if they demonstrated one of several virtues, which included being an advocate and ambassador of culture in their community, promoting fairness and equality and demonstrating creativity, ambition and vision.

Each pioneer is being profiled for the Perth 2021 website and will later be asked if they would like to champion Perth 2021 as an ambassador for the bid. This will involve using their position in the creative community to support the bid and increase engagement wherever possible.

The pioneers that step up will help talk about the social, economic and cultural benefits of winning the bid and will help share our new themes:

  • Home –recognising Perth’s place at the heart of rural communities, its history and heritage as the first capital of Scotland and the seat of Scottish monarchs.
  • Wild - capturing the city’s location as the gateway to the Highlands, the wealth of our natural beauty and the importance of the landscape to local culture.
  • Belong - emphasising the city’s role as a meeting place and melting pot and drawing on the city’s rich heritage as a catalyst for creativity and ideas.


From Top Left to Right

Aaron De La Hayé - Bankfoot artist Aaron de la Hayé has been nominated as a Perth Pioneer for his highly successful art business, Stonecold Paintwerks. MORE >>>

Becky Minto - Based in Perth, freelance stage designer Becky Minto is making waves across the world stage. She played an integral part to the design of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games as Associate Designer for the opening and closing ceremonies back in 2014! MORE >>>

Cornelia Weinmann - Kettins artist and designer Cornelia Weinmann has been nominated as a Perth Pioneer in recognition of her work in furniture upcycling on the Zero Waste Highland Perthshire project. it’s her passion for turning ugly, unwanted furniture into vibrant focal points that has led to her nomination. MORE >>>

Debra Salem - Every now and then you meet a person who is so utterly and completely in love with their passion that it takes over their life and defines not only what they do, but also who they are.
Read Debra's amazing #BigPersonality and find out more about this awesome woman! MORE >>>

Frank To - Prepare to be inspired! Frank is an artist and helps to instil his burning creative flare and ambition in the talented art students that he teaches at Perth UHI. No need to just take our word for it, when Sir Patrick Stewart was recently interviewed for his movie 'Logan' he mentioned Frank as someone he discovered at art school. MORE >>>

Helen Grant - Perth as a cultural hub is full of great writers and a great heritage of storytelling.  One such storyteller is Perth Pioneer Helen Grant, a highly successful author who lives in Crieff.  Helen has written a number of young adult fiction books, often taking her inspiration from the Perthshire countryside around her. MORE >>>

Iain Burnett - Highland Chocolatier Iain Burnett has been named as a Perth Pioneer in recognition of becoming one of the world’s most renowned truffle specialists – placing Perthshire and Scotland firmly on the world map. MORE >>>

Iliyana Nedkova - Creative Director for Contemporary Art at Horsecross Arts. Her role revolves around curating quarterly exhibitions which are at the cross-section of the visual and performing arts. MORE >>>

Jason Blyth - Kinross High School teacher Jason Blyth, whose song ‘Tear up the Dark’ is competing to become the entry for Romania at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, Ukraine! MORE >>>

Jean Squires - Jean was nominated by the committee of Blairgowrie, Rattray and the Glens Book Festival as its Perth Pioneer. In 2016, BOOKMARK’s October festival sold almost 1,000 tickets over seven events, and aims to increase ticket sales further in 2017, its fifth year! MORE >>>

Robert 'Boab' McMillan - A former secondary school teacher, Robert is no longer able to teach following a severe aggravation of a football injury and diagnosis with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Despite being in constant pain and reliant on crutches to move around, Robert has combined teaching and an affection for football into a passion that is providing new opportunities for the young people of Scone. MORE >>>

Ryan Hannigan - Aberfeldy-based designer and painter Ryan Hannigan has been nominated as a Perth Pioneer for his work organising the annual Aberfeldy Festival and his work as lead designer at Haggart’s 1801 printmaking and tweed shop. MORE >>>

Yunior Aguiar Perdomo -  is an award-winning contemporary artist who has a distinct take on art, and is also a lecturer at Perth College UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands) MORE >>>

Nicola Martin - The woman behind Small City Big Personality-of course she had to be a #PerthPioneer! Her love for Perth, the people, and everything that makes our small city so special, runs through her veins and our amazing online magazine!!