Creative Scots sign open letter to Creative Scotland

  • The List
  • 16 October 2012
Creative Scots sign open letter to Creative Scotland

David Greig

As artists revolt and the Scottish Government steps in, the attacks on Creative Scotland continue

The stormy relationship between artists and Creative Scotland has picked up pace with 100 of Scotland’s leading artists writing an open letter to the agency’s chairman, Sir Sandy Crombie.

The letter, from 9 October, laid out the reasons that artists believe the organisation is ‘damaged at the heart’. Those who put their name to the letter include Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochhead, crime writer Ian Rankin, playwright and artist John Byrne, artist David Shrigley, writer and artist Alasdair Gray, theatremaker David Greig, actor Tam Dean Burn as well as eminent Scottish figures from the music world James MacMillan and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. An online petition has also been set up so more artists can add their name to the list.

The group asked for Creative Scotland to consider the following points: ‘genuinely acknowledge the scale of the problem; affirm the value of stable two to three year funding for small arts organisations; end the use of business-speak and obfuscating jargon in official communication; revisit CS policies with an eye to social and cultural as well as commercial values; collaborate with artists to re-design over-complicated funding forms and processes; ensure that funding decisions are taken by people with artform expertise; establish an effective system of dealing with complaints as swiftly as possible.’

Sir Sandy responded with his own letter saying he hoped the artists ‘will trust and accept that we have a strong desire to perform as an organisation for the people of Scotland’, and offered to meet as many of the signatories as possible to listen to ‘concerns’ stating they would examine ‘thoroughly every point raised with us’.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has also stated that she takes the situation ‘very seriously’, while adding: ‘The government does not interfere in Creative Scotland’s artistic decisions.’

There are plans for open meetings where artists can discuss their concerns further to take place at the end of October.

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