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Explore Nuart Aberdeen / Create your own tour

Our Union Street launched to spearhead community effort to re-energise Aberdeen’s Granite Mile

Former FTSE 100 chief executive Bob Keiller is to lead Our Union Street, a start-up organisation which will seek to bring new businesses and people to the Granite Mile.

The community-led organisation is currently raising funds to take premises on Union Street – but first it is seeking ideas from everyone who wants to improve the city centre.

A new website has been set up to allow residents and businesses to get in touch and share their thoughts.

Mr Keiller, who was part of the team which rescued and turned around Glencraft following its collapse in 2009, hopes to build a community which can deliver “a thousand small steps for the city centre that, collectively, can make a big difference for Aberdeen”.

The idea was raised November’s emergency Union Street summit and the organisation is being set-up by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and Opportunity North East, with additional support from Shell, which recently relocated to the street.

They will seek to raise capital and provide the governance for the not-for-profit organisation, which is in the early stages of being set-up. The partners wanted a unifying and collaborative figure to lead the effort, and approached Mr Keiller, who has agreed to provide his services for free.

He will now seek to build an army of volunteers drawn from all corners of Aberdeen to help arrest decades of decline in the city centre.

Visit www.ourunionstreet.com to share your views with the organisation and click here to read the full story.

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Leading street art festival to return to Aberdeen this June

Nuart Aberdeen, the award-winning and internationally renowned street art festival, is to return to the walls of the Granite City from 8-11 June.

The theme for this year’s festival is 'rewilding’ and will see 10 artists visit Aberdeen to create new artwork in the city.

Since the first festival in Aberdeen in 2017, it has attracted tens of thousands of visitors and locals, boosting the local economy as well as providing a lasting legacy alongside new and inspiring pieces of art throughout the city centre.

Widely regarded as the best street art festival of its kind in the world, Nuart Aberdeen is a not-for-profit event supported by partners Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council and delivered by Reed Projects.

This year’s theme of ‘rewilding’ explores how we create the conditions for nature to thrive and re-establish natural processes to repair ecosystems.

Martyn Reed, founder and artistic director of the Nuart festivals, said the theme developed from the parallels between street art and the ‘freedom to roam’ in Scotland.

Full information can be found here.

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Street Art Walking Tours are back

Visitors to Aberdeen are being invited to take a turn around the town and discover the Nuart Aberdeen large and small artworks while also discovering the festival’s impressive street art history.

Running Sunday afternoons (1.30-2.30pm) every two weeks from 26 March, the free guided walking tours run by Nuart Aberdeen will provide insights into the artists behind the murals and how the finished works were created.

Book your free space here.

Can’t attend on Sunday afternoons, build your own Nuart tour with this interactive map available here.

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Application submitted for renewal of Purple Flag accreditation

On behalf of its city centre partners, Aberdeen Inspired has submitted a comprehensive application to the Association of Town Centre Management for renewal of Aberdeen’s Purple Flag accreditation - for the 10th year in row!

An inspection due to be carried out over the weekend of March 10th and 11th was cancelled as assessors were unable to travel to Aberdeen due to weather warnings. This assessment will now take place on Friday, March 24th.

As the city centre BID, we’re calling on all levy paying businesses to support the application and show Aberdeen city centre is more than worthy of such important recognition for another year.

You can read more about the scheme here.

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An Evening with Aberdeen Inspired CEO Adrian Watson

Women Connect, a networking group for like-minded business and professional women in Aberdeen City and Shire is hosting ‘An Evening with Aberdeen Inspired CEO, Adrian Watson’.

The main topic of discussion on the night will be the regeneration of Aberdeen’s Union Street.

Adrian spent 30 years in the police service, the last seven as Commander for Aberdeen City. In July 2016, he was appointed as CEO at Aberdeen Inspired. In this role he has led on significant events in the city including the Nuart Aberdeen (Street Art Festival) and was also instrumental in securing the return of the Tall Ships event to Aberdeen in 2025 and bringing the European Pipe Band Championships to Aberdeen in June 2023.

Adrian is also a director of Scotland’s Towns Partnerships (STP) and is the National Chair for Scotland for the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM).

The event will take place on Tuesday 28th March from 6pm-8pm at Brodies on Union Grove.

Tickets are available here.

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Conference announced to support return of ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project

A conference on the benefits of employing a neurodiverse workforce to drive business growth and encourage team members to reach their own potential is to be held in Aberdeen in May.

The one-day event, titled ‘Neurodiversity in the Workplace - Unlocking Potential and Driving Innovation’, will support the return of the ADHD Foundation Umbrella Project to Aberdeen.

Strings of colourful umbrellas will once again be seen across the city from the end of May until September, in celebration of the ‘umbrella’ term of neurodiversity, which includes ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia.

Both the Umbrella Project and the conference are being organised by Aberdeen Inspired.

Sponsored by Harbour Energy and TMM Recruitment, the conference will be held at the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel from 8.30am to 2.30pm on Tuesday, May 30, adjacent to the main umbrella installation on Shiprow. Aberdeen Inspired levy payers will have the chance to attend free of charge.

It is aimed at both private and public sector businesses, with separate sessions on neurodiversity being planned for teachers and parents on Monday 29 May.

Speakers and contributors will include:

  • Dr Tony Lloyd, chief executive of the ADHD Foundation
  • Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired
  • Mavis Anagboso, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Harbour Energy
  • Charlotte Valeur, chair of the Institute of Neurodiversity
  • Amanda McCulloch, chief executive of Aberdeen-based TMM Recruitment
  • Professor Amanda Kirby, chief executive of Do-It Solutions and chair of the ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity
  • Angela Prentner-Smith, founder and managing consultant at This is Milk

The official Shiprow installation will join numerous private installations organised by businesses, schools and other organisations, who have until April 21 to sign up. More information can be found here.

The Umbrella Project celebrates the intelligence, ability and talent of every human being - including every neurodiverse individual, empowering and enabling the next generation of children and young people.

Places at the conference can be booked here.

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Shell moves back to Union Street

Shell has moved its Aberdeen operation to Union Street, with hundreds of staff relocating to The Silver Fin Building.

The move has been widely welcomed, with hopes it will increase footfall to the many retailers, cafes, restaurants and businesses in the area and act as a catalyst for further regeneration of the west end of Union Street.

The new premises are intended to provide staff with a modern workplace, which is fit for the future.

Simon Roddy, Shell senior vice president for its upstream business, welcomed local businesses to the new office for an opening ceremony, and said it was the start of an exciting new chapter for the company in the North-east.

“We are delighted to be returning to our roots in the city centre with the completion of our move into the Silver Fin Building,” he said. “The feedback from our workforce is really positive and it is great to see the impact we are starting to have on neighbouring businesses.

“Our history in the Granite City is a rich one, and it’s great to be starting this exciting next chapter.”

Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired, welcomed Shell to the city centre.

“We are delighted to see Shell showing its support for the city centre by relocating its staff from out of town back into Union Street. We have no doubt this will bring huge benefits to the shops, bars, restaurants and other businesses in this part of town.

“As the city continues to recover from the impact of Covid and amid challenging times for the economy, we look forward to seeing many more people spending their lunchbreaks and free time after work supporting the local area and hope other businesses and organisations will follow Shell’s example and encourage their own staff to do the same.”

Shell’s first office opened on Union Street in 1965 and in 2018 it marked 50 years of production in the North Sea.

The company said the move to the Silver Fin demonstrated its “continued partnership with the city and the region”, as well as its commitment to the communities and businesses here.

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Employers encouraged to look at sustainable travel

North-east employers are being encouraged to help their employees to look at more active and sustainable ways of traveling to and from work.

Active travel has multiple benefits for individuals, businesses and for society as a whole. It can lead to improved health and wellbeing, and has benefits for the environment, the economy and promoting equality of opportunity.”

Aberdeen Inspired is keen to work with our members to support more active and sustainable travel in and out of Aberdeen City Centre.

Travelknowhow Scotland delivers fast, easy access to a wealth of travel planning information and provides links to local resources.

Shona Drummond of Travelknowhow Scotland said, “Employers can take various steps to encourage more active and sustainable commuting.

“Travelknowhow Scotland is on hand to provide information, support and tools to help. Organisations across Scotland can easy access to a wide variety of travel planning solutions, all in one place.”

Visit Travelknowhow Scotland for more information.

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Cocktails don’t grow on trees, or do they?

Espresso martini trees are just one of the items on offer at the newest cocktail bar in town. Moka Bar & Kitchen opened on Union Street this month and promises to deliver a vast range of cocktails.

There is plenty of inspiration for those looking for the picture-perfect cocktail. Tequila fans can have their tastebuds tickled by the cotton candy margarita; an exciting mix of tequila, orange liqueur, lime and cotton candy, while those with a spicy palate can opt for the Fireball Float, a warming mix of cinnamon whiskey, cola and vanilla ice cream.

The cocktails are paired with food made from locally sourced produce and is served in relaxed and friendly surroundings. Those looking for a light bite can opt for the posh fish finger sandwich while the signature Moka burger 'will take some beating’ according to Moka Bar & Kitchen.

For more information visit their website here or their Facebook here.

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Image credit: Aberdeen Treasure Hub. Photo: Grant Anderson

A chance to see Aberdeen’s hidden treasures

Home to more than 100,000 items, Aberdeen Treasure Hub houses Aberdeen Archives, Gallery and Museums’ vast collection of artworks and objects when they’re not on public display.

Aberdeen Treasure Hub is hosting open days to give members of the public a chance to take a look behind the scenes and see the artworks and objects in their care.

The first open day will take place on Saturday 25 March from 11am until 4pm. The free event includes the chance to take a thirty-minute tour with the last tour starting at 3.15pm. Members of the Aberdeen Treasure Hub team will be on hand to answer any questions you might have.

By saying what gives the Granite City its grit or glint, March visitors to the Aberdeen Treasure Hub will also have the chance to contribute to ‘View of Aberdeen’, a new exhibition which is set to open at Aberdeen Art Gallery in May.

The vast collection includes everything from cameras to wedding dresses, medical equipment to toys, jewellery to carpentry tools and from beer mats to oil paintings.

Aberdeen Treasure Hub also welcomes researchers, schools and special interest groups for tailored behind the scenes tours and research visits.

A second open day is planned for Saturday, June 17.

For more information visit here.

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Thousands to descend on the Granite City for the return of the annual Pride festivities

Pride will be taking over the streets of Aberdeen on Saturday 27 May, to celebrate our beautiful community and be proud.

Grampian Pride is back to bring the local LGBT+ community and its allies together, with organisers hoping the 2023 edition will be the biggest and best yet.

The parade will start at 11am from Holburn Junction (Albyn Place) and end at Marischal College around 12pm and the party won't stop after the main parade throughout the city, with Duthie Park set to host a packed evening of music.

Performing at the Pride Village will be a mix of big names including Basshunter, The Cheeky Girls and Gareth Gates, and incredible local talent in the shape of drag star Scarlette Diamonte and singing sensation Bekkah Davidson.

There will also be an outdoor bar and Tiki Tent, complete with live music, DJ, and 13 different charities providing freebies, advice, information and engagement and various foods stalls.

For more information click here.

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Walk into your own art studio at a Frida Kahlo themed Sip & Paint

Head to OGV Taproom on April 15 at 6pm to paint your next masterpiece, sip on a cheeky tipple and listen to live music.

This painting class simply requires you to show up with your friends and maybe an apron if you’re worried about paint getting on your clothing. Everything is provided and each individual will receive their own easel, canvas or tote bag, brushes and paint, which will be set up by the team ready for you to start.

The classes are suitable for beginners or advanced painters, instructors will be there to give a helping hand if needed. However, participants are encouraged to look at the class as fun rather than an art lesson. The event’s theme will be Frida Kahlo - but you can paint anything you like!

Tickets can be purchased here.

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Black Sheep Coffee reveals opening for Aberdeen Union Square branch

Global coffee chain, Black Sheep Coffee, will open in Union Square in the next two months. Started by St Andrews University flatmates, the chain is already a fixture across the UK as well as France and the Philippines.

Their signature drinks including the Black Hoof, Vietnamese Iced Coffee, Turmeric Latte and Honey Oat Cardamom Latte, along with a wide range of drinks. They also offer great food options including Norwegian waffles, bagels, toasties, smoothie bowls and pastries.

As the centre hasn't yet confirmed an opening date, keep an eye on Union Square's Facebook page for further details.

First Bus rap song encourages young Scots to get on the bus!

First bus’ “Free to Explore” campaign has launched with its very own rap song and music video filmed on a decked-out double-decker bus.

On average, cardholders make 183,200 journeys in Aberdeen every single day with First Bus aiming to inspire young people to make the most of their free travel around the country thanks to the Scottish Government’s Young Persons’ U22 Free Travel Scheme.

First is pushing the message “Plan, Tap, Ride” with its catchy musical reminder that all those under the age of 22 can travel for free. The video can be found here or above.

Street artist Rogue One also recently unveiled a mural specially commissioned by First Bus to highlight the #FreetoExplore message in the north-east. The striking design which has been spray painted on the outside the Bon Accord Centre (M&S entrance) features large colourful wings with a cityscape backdrop.

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