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Former Royal Academy Buildings

Inverness, Scotland


Category B

From Royal Academy to Creative Academy - historic school building is transformed into creative hub for Inverness and the Highlands

Inverness Royal Academy was built in 1895 by Ross and Macbeth and was the first purpose-built large secondary school in the Highlands, where it has remained at the centre of educational life for over a century. Internally, the original building is organised around a grand balconied central Assembly Hall and staircase. To this day, the buildings retain most of their original internal and external historic fabric and plan form, making a significant contribution to the character of the Crown Conservation Area.

WASPS is the UK’s largest provider of creative workspace and is home to the largest creative community in Scotland – some 900 artists and 33 organisations across 20 sites. Now, it has brought the Royal Inverness Academy back into use as a Creative Hub for Inverness and the Highlands. Phase 1 was completed in November 2018 with the restoration of the 1913 Arts and Science extension, which exceeded expectations by reaching full occupancy within six months to accommodate 40 working artists, 2 creative learning organisations and a community-run darkroom. Phase 2 completed in late 2021 with the restoration of the 1895 Inverness Royal Academy Building, converting 15 classrooms and the former double-height Assembly Hall into 80+ workspaces, meeting rooms, a café, a reception and a gallery.

An early AHF grant in 2017 towards project development costs contributed to Phase 1, and on the back of these achievements, the AHF was able to offer further grant support for fundraising capacity to support the delivery of the second, larger phase of development. The fully completed project was officially opened by the Princess Royal in May 2022.

Inverness Creative Academy - Wasps (

AHF Funding

Project Development Grant - £15,000 (2017)

Project Development Grant -  £10,000 (2019)

Project Development Grant - £3,000 (2021)

Image Credits

Paul Campbell
Gordon Barr





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