Andrew Dixon of Creative Scotland speaks to Parliament
Chief executive of Scottish arts body clarifies organisation’s policy
Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, yesterday explained the organisation’s policies during a session at the Scottish Parliament’s culture committee. The meeting came after several high profile members of the Scottish arts community spoke out against Creative Scotland’s proposed changes to funding, first announced back in May.
From next year the organisation will receive less money from the Scottish government but more from National Lottery funding. As Lottery funding comes with strings attached, Creative Scotland plans to switch from fixed funding to flexible, project-based funding for some of Scotland’s biggest arts companies. Critics have expressed concern both about the uncertainty that this will give to those companies affected and also that the changes give Creative Scotland too strong a hand in commissioning.
In yesterday’s committee meeting Dixon maintained that commissioning was still a small part of Creative Scotland’s overall role. “Creative Scotland’s primary role is to support artists and cultural producers and the majority of our funds are about responding to the ideas of [those people]. In reality, the balance is that 80% of what we do is invest in organisations and artists under their own terms but 20% will be done to try and address gaps and to build on our strengths.”
He also acknowledged that there was a need in future for better communication between Creative Scotland and artists, “I don’t think we’ve got it right in terms of being clear and transparent. We’re doing a brilliant number of things but we’ve not been good enough at getting information out about change.”
On the organisation’s wider role, he added, “Creative Scotland on the face of it might seem like a relatively simple organisation – it’s a very complex organisation. We’re an £80 million budget, we’re dealing with a very wide range of portfolios – wider than any other cultural organisation of its type in Europe. It’s a model other countries are watching.”