Thursday, 4 December 2008

Timeline for the Formation of Creative Scotland


’s National Cultural Strategy published as Creating our Future – Minding our Past, which gives primacy to the development of Scotland’s creative industries, defined as follows:

The creative industries are the activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have the potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. They comprise Architecture, Advertising, Arts and Cultural Industries, Design (including Fashion, Design and Crafts) Film, Interactive Leisure Software (computer games, consumer packaged software), Music, New Media, Publishing, Radio and Television.


August: The first of four meetings of the Joint Implementation Group, set up to implement the National Cultural Strategy. Attended by James Boyle his capacity as Chair of the Scottish Arts Council. Others invited to participate could be described as institutional/bureaucratic figures representing national museums and galleries, the Scottish Executive Education Department and CoSLA (the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) but no artists.


January: This Joint Implementation Group meeting, and the next three, chaired by Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mike Watson, who is ‘keen that there should be a meeting with representatives of the creative industries to ensure that the Executive and its agencies’ strategies were operating effectively in support of them.’ The Minister determines to seek the views of representatives of the creative industries, to be reported back at the next meeting.

May: Mike Watson meets with representatives from the creative industries and commissions an action plan.


January: The final meeting of the Joint Implementation Group is asked to consider a paper (02/20) on the Creative Industries forum: ‘In particular, comments were invited on the proposition for an agency “Creative Scotland”, combing [sic] a number of responsibilities currently residing with a number of different agencies.’ The paper to which this refers includes the following:

The idea of a new body ‘Creative Scotland’ arose from a number of sources during the review of Scottish Screen, and has been discussed again during the process undertaken by the Creative Industries Forum. There is recurring interest in exploring the idea of combining the relevant development roles of the three key agencies into one such body which could work across the agency boundaries and across the public/private sector divide.

September: The Scottish Arts Council publishes An Audit of Visual Arts in Scotland – based on research by Bonnar Keenlyside, a cultural consultancy run by Anne Bonnar and Hilary Keenlyside – which shows that 82% of visual artists in Scotland earn less than £10,000 p.a. from their practice and 28% to be earning nothing whatsoever, effectively working as volunteers.

November: Jack McConnell makes ‘the development of our creative drive the next major enterprise for our society’ in his St. Andrew’s Day speech.


April: Frank McAveety, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, publishes his Cultural Policy Statement, announcing a one-year Cultural Commission as part of ‘a generational opportunity – to look seriously and maturely at our culture and decide the framework for its support in the future.’ An explicit focus is on ‘how to use public spend to lever growth in the cultural and creative industries.’ To date, no information has been made available about the precise brief of the Cultural Commission in relation to the new organisation, Creative Scotland, which predated it.

The budget put at the Commission’s disposal is £487,000 (culled from National Galleries of Scotland running costs, Scottish Museums Council account and from a Cultural Organisations account). Of this, £63,000 appears in the budget line for Chairman, as part of a £229,057.9 budget for staffing alongside a budget of £257,642.10 for administration (including £15,000 for travel and £23,690 for accommodation).

On 21 April, James Boyle, is invited to resign his post as Chair of the Scottish Arts Council to head the Commission. In none of the papers subsequently released by the Scottish Government can any information be found about how Boyle’s appointment came about, what the rationale for it was or what advice the Minister received before or after Boyle was appointed. Boyle’s appointment is referred to elsewhere by name as early as 5 April 2004 and, according to his Cultural Commission Work Plan April 2004-May 2005, begins work immediately.

May: One month after Frank McAveety’s letter of invitation and six weeks after he is first mentioned as Chair of the Cultural Commission, James Boyle officially resigns as Chair of the Scottish Arts Council.

June: Frank McAveety accepts James Boyle’s recommendations for Commissioners – including Brian Lang (Principal and Vice Chancellor, St. Andrews University), Shonaig McPherson (Senior Partner, McGrigors), Craig Armstrong (composer), Gordon Jeyes (Director of Children’s Services, Stirling Council), Ian Ritchie (businessman), George Black (Chief Executive Glasgow City Council), Colin Marr (Director Eden Court Theatre, Inverness) and Lucy Mason (Chief Executive of Dance Base) – seemingly without question. Craig Armstrong, the sole creative practitioner invited onto the Commission, resigns on
14 June 2004 because ‘the commission does not contain practising artists in sufficient proportion from varied artistic and cultural backgrounds. With respect to the other commissioners this lack of representation undermines the legitimacy of the commission at a time when the Arts in Scotland are already in difficulty.’

September: The Cultural Commission contracts Bonnar Keenlyside – to undertake a review of the input of the voluntary sector to culture in Scotland. This research has a strong institutional and local authority bias but lacks members of voluntary organisations or individual artists, with only 4% of respondents to 4,500 surveys being categorised as visual arts organisations.


June: In the 540-page final report published by the Cultural Commission, proposing the creation of Creative Scotland, the following are identified as key concerns for the visual arts sector:

  • Teaching visual literacy in schools
  • The importance of higher education
  • Support for visual arts businesses
  • Supporting galleries
  • National acquisitions policy and strategy

Expanding on the third category, the Commissioners propose to expose artists to the ravages of the market: ‘
Individual artists are one-person businesses. They need to have all the start up skills and backing open to other small businesses in the creative arts sector. […]The fundamental challenge is to sell more visual art.’

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the emphasis on institutions and the creative industries
in the final report, of the 124 recommendations made only a handful address the needs of individual creative practitioners directly:

By 2007:

21) Support for creative Individuals become a discrete part of a single agency.

51) That a national awards scheme for creative individuals should be introduced.

By 2010:

103) That a national council for the creative individual be created and an inspiring name adopted.

Beyond 2010:

123) A scheme of fiscal support for creators and for creative individuals (interpretive artists) should be developed and promoted to the UK government by the Scottish Executive.


January: In a response to the recommendations of the Cultural Commission, the Scottish Government describes a new cultural development agency, Creative Scotland, with a remit for supporting creative individuals. The Government agrees to the proposal to create a new award for artists (recommendation 51) and asks the Scottish Arts Council to take this forward, a strategy which is re-iterated in response to recommendation 103. In considering the final recommendation pertinent to individual artists, Chris Dodds of the Scottish Executive Education Department counters, somewhat ambiguously, that ‘fiscal support is reserved to the UK Government. The Executive welcomes such approaches to assist and promote the creative sector.’

On 20 January 2006, Creative Scotland is registered as a company at Companies House.

December: The Scottish Government publishes the Draft Culture (Scotland) Bill which details the framework and priorities of Creative Scotland along creative industries lines.


April: Glasgow City Council Cultural and Leisure Services becomes Culture and Sport Glasgow, a company with charitable status, headed by Bridget McConnell.

May: Scottish Labour loses to the Scottish National Party; Alex Salmond replaces Jack McConnell as First Minister.

September: Anne Bonnar appointed Transition Director for Creative Scotland.


March: Creative Scotland
Bill introduced.

June: Creative Scotland Bill falls in the Scottish Parliament.

September: Linda Fabiani, Culture Minister (SNP) announces that there will be no further delay to establishing Creative Scotland which will begin life as a company limited by guarantee.

No comments: