Stirling has witnessed a series of curious cult pop happenings of late.

It has seen carnal-folk reprobates John Knox Sex Club ripping it up in a church on Good Friday; alt-rock necromancers Louise McVey & Cracks In The Concrete thrilling a bohemian town-centre basement; and an art exhibition bedecking a 19th-century arcade. These pop-up events have come courtesy of Joe Hall and her Creative Stirling CIC team: a talent collective seeking to inspire and enliven Stirling's arts community, and to establish a cultural and creative hub in the heart of Stirling's historic old quarter. As of next month, Hall and co will be based in Stirling's Old Town Jail.

Hall has extensive experience across events, education and production at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scottish Screen and the Macrobert Arts Centre, and is passionate about the need to galvanise creative life and business in Stirling. "We started doing the First Friday pop-up events to get everybody together, to platform local talent, to start creating a network, and to give the creative community somewhere to meet each other," she says of Creative Stirling CIC's grassroots endeavours, such as the church and basement gigs.

"I'd say we have 10 members who are devoting time and effort daily, another 30 who are actively involved, and almost 200 more who are interested supporters." Support for the project also comes from Stirling Council and Stirling University's Department for Research and Enterprise.

Creative Stirling CIC (Community Interest Company) will aim to provide cultural events (inside the Old Town Jail, outdoors in the yard and at pop-up venues around town), a creative professional development hub (talks, forums and information sessions for local arts businesses), a public creative programme (all-ages multimedia design workshops, film clubs, family art groups), plus professional design services, office and desk space, and a print studio.

"The overall aim is to foster emerging Scottish creative talent in a commercially sustainable business environment, and to grow a model contemporary social enterprise at the heart of the city's regeneration initiatives," she says. "The first thing we thought of was something that's easy to manage – a cultural hub, office facilities, hot desks for hire and screen-printing facilities – so that was all great," she says.

"And then we looked outside the office and studio spaces, which are pretty quirky, and there was this huge yard which would be perfect for live events. We could do concerts, we could do fairs, we could do lots of culturally interesting things – festivals, exhibitions, film screenings," she enthuses, and hints at potential ideas to come, including a city-wide art installation and the introduction of literary tours.

For now, however, Hall and the team are gearing up for Saturday's Record Store Day Breakout in Stirling's Old Town Jail Yard, their first public event. It's being organised with Stirling's much-loved independent record shop, Europa, and will feature local bands and DJs, food and drink, gig merchandise and record stalls selling goods into the night.

"Ewen [Duncan] at Europa is a mainstay, all the bands and DJs we work with know him," says Hall. "He's been trading in Friars Street for 20 years, he's been in business for 35 years, he's part of our cultural knowledge." (He is also the proprietor of one of Scotland's greatest record shops – Europa's wall-to-wall second-hand vinyl mecca must be seen to be believed.)

Hall's drive to unite and inspire the creative community is welcomed by myriad local artists, including exceptional poet William Letford, whose collection, Bevel, will be published by Carcanet Press in the summer.

"Much of the work I do takes place in Glasgow, Edinburgh or even further afield, and many artists I meet from Stirling feel that same inexorable pull," says Letford. "Creative Stirling's move to the Old Jail will create a focal point, a cultural hub for local artists to meet, get to know one other, collaborate and perhaps give our city the creative identity it thoroughly deserves."

Freelance illustrator David Galletly ( regularly contributes to Wired magazine and provides art direction for King Creosote's Fence Collective. He says: "The Macrobert shows amazing films, the Tolbooth hosts amazing gigs and the Changing Room exhibits amazing artwork, but there never seems to be much of a creative community or music scene in the town, and that's frustrating because it feels like there should be.

"Joe's ambition is really infectious – the creative community needs somebody with her energy, and if Creative Stirling can gain traction, I think it will benefit the area greatly.

"The events, exhibitions, gigs, shops and projects that could potentially form from a cultural hub would complement the town more than a bunch of high street shops ever could. Maybe more students would form bands or become involved in organising events if they knew there was stuff off-campus."

Galletly also believes local arts professionals will benefit. "Having offices, workshops and facilities nearby would be great. Even just having a place to meet others and talk through ideas can be really helpful if you are a typical locked-away-in-the-spare-bedroom freelancer, as I am. At the two Creative Stirling pop-up First Friday events I've attended, I met amazing people from Stirling I didn't know existed, and that feels weird in such a relatively small place. I talked about potentially coming on board with a couple of projects, heard music that didn't sound like an Oasis cover band, was introduced to new work and introduced my own work to new people."

"I can only imagine that with each step Creative Stirling takes in this direction, the community will get stronger, the audience will get larger and the benefit to the town will become more obvious."

Record Store Day Breakout, Old Town Jail Yard, Stirling Saturday, 6-11pm; Europa Music in Stirling will host in-store performances and offer special RSD releases from 12-5pm. For more information on Creative Stirling, see