Scottish arts vision unveiled - Museums Association

Scottish arts vision unveiled

Creative Scotland's 10-year plan sets out five key priorities for the cultural sector and simplifies funding streams. Gareth Harris reports
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Gareth Harris
Creative Scotland continues to build bridges with the arts community after leading cultural figures lambasted the organisation in 2012 for being overly bureaucratic and out of touch with creative professionals. 
Its latest 10-year plan outlining its priorities for the country’s creative sector (see box) has been cautiously welcomed by the sector. 
Wendy Law, a Scotland-based arts and museums consultant, says: “These ambitions have existed and been realised in Scotland for many years, although it is good to see them adopted by Creative Scotland.”
Under its new chief executive Janet Archer, the funding and development agency consulted almost 1,000 arts organisations ahead of the publication of its vision. 
The plan also outlines several objectives that Creative Scotland will focus on in the next three years. These include working in partnership with local authorities, supporting development of sustainable business models and strengthening digital platforms. 
The organisation has simplified its funding streams into three routes: a regular funding programme; funding for individuals and organisations to deliver time-limited projects; and a small number of targeted programmes focused on delivering strategic goals with partners.
The £90m regular funding programme, which covers April 2015 to March 2018, opened to applications last month. The minimum amount available through regular funding will be £150,000 per organisation over three years.
Simply does it
Under previous complex arrangements, “foundation organisations” received three-year funding and “project forming programme” bodies received up to two years’. There were also several “annual clients”. In addition, there were 22 funding programmes to which organisations and individuals could apply.
The coherence and effectiveness of Creative Scotland’s five key ambitions will be largely determined by the effectiveness of its new funding structure, says Law. 
“It would have been helpful to have had details of how all of Creative Scotland’s new funding programmes will align with the 10-year plan,” she adds.  
Ben Harman, director of Stills Gallery, an Edinburgh-based photography centre, says: “I am excited by what has been announced. The 10-year plan is well articulated, informed and useful.” 
But the document fails to mention the referendum on Scottish independence. “Ten years is a long time to plan for the future, particularly with a referendum imminent,” Law says.
Creative Scotland’s five key aims 
  • Excellence and experimentation across the arts, screen and creative industries is recognised and valued.
  • Everyone can access and enjoy artistic and creative experiences.
  • Places and quality of life are transformed through imagination, ambition and an understanding of the potential of creativity.
  • Ideas are brought to life by a diverse, skilled and connected leadership and workforce.
  • Scotland is a distinctive and creative nation that is connected to the world.

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