Saturday, 23 October 2010

lies, damn lies, and policy-led research

"…part of the role of finance — once you see it in terms of capitalism — is to discipline and restructure the so-called real economy. It's been fundamental to that, imposing discipline on every factory to be more competitive or finance will go somewhere else, to reallocate capital across several sectors, venture capital, but much more generally. So finance has been fundamental to that.
...you've seen a powerful commodification of things that used to be seen as part the Commons. Part of what government provides has been privatized as sources of accumulation.
The real problem we have is that all this restructuring has gone on and workers have basically been pretty passive victims. They've accepted this. They haven't in any way been acting as a barrier in terms of putting other social goals or social values on the agenda. And that's allowed capitalism to restructure at will." [LINK]
Mission Models Money with Shetland Arts, Creative Scotland and Hi- Arts
Feasibility study into mechanisms for supporting small-scale creative activity in Scotland
BOP Consulting October 2010
"... the evidence of demand [sic] suggests a need to introduce other new forms of financing the arts."

Variant wrote to Gwilym Gibbons (Director, Shetland Arts Development Agency / Creative Scotland, Board member) in August: asking "...that this survey is closed down because it is gathering evidence in line with a well rehearsed political agenda. It is not investigating the broader issues in keeping with the arms length principle and the public interest which that principle is meant to protect." Read the full exchange here:

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

liquidity issues - meeting financial obligations

Scotland’s arts community requires a creative solution
Published on 13 Sep 2010
Creative Scotland’s launch at the beginning of July was accompanied by a warning from its director, Andrew Dixon, that funding choices would have to be made.

Warning of chaos for the arts amid confusion about funding
Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent, 13 Sep 2010
The arts in Scotland are in danger of sliding into “inexcusable chaos” because of confusion over the role and responsibilities of the new national funding body Creative Scotland, it has been claimed.

consuming the corpse

The final curtain?
Kenneth Roy
What is this organisation about?
Incensed by the rejection of his application for financial support for a new project, a well-known figure in the Scottish arts and media wrote to the chief executive of Creative Scotland, the successor to the Scottish Arts Council, and said that he intended to apply again – on a 'near-weekly basis' if necessary. He received the following email in reply:
'I am sorry that you didn't find my answer convincing but perhaps you misunderstand that we will not be a funding body in the old sense of the Arts Council but a strategic body. There will no no point in making multiple applications to us as we will be working more strategically with others agencies.'

A rump of numpties
Two views of Creative Scotland
Alison Prince

Last of the big spenders
Kenneth Roy
After last Thursday's piece about the new quango which intends to introduce the laws of the market to the funding of the arts and literature, Scotland on Sunday called to share some startling news about Creative Scotland's logo, described here as 'wretched'.

"...These days, she warns, nobody should assume they will get a grant just because they had a grant before. 'Any arts body should have a board guiding it to think about contingencies. The severity of cuts might mean the demise of some organisations and that would be very sad. There again, others might be in a better position to trim their programmes and still keep going, even expand creatively'.”
“I’m not one of the bad ones, so why should I deny that I’m a banker?”
Susan Rice is an enthusiastic patron of the arts.
FACE TO FACE: Susan Rice interviewed by Anne Simpson, 15 Aug 2010

Should Creative Scotland be in the business of creating profit from culture?
September 21, 2010 by Pat Kane
"However much Creative Scotland wants to develop its role as a rights-sharing venture capitalist – and there may be some small scope for exploration there, either actively or as a broker – they must still recognise their ultimate function: as the organisation that allows creative imaginations to lift free from the usual pressure of consumer or investor expectations."

a familial disorder

Now why would anyone want to copy this organisational model...?

Private Eye No. 1270, 3 sept-16 Sept 2010
QUANGOS
Nesta eggs for a rainy day
ARTS group wondering how to cope with drastic cuts will be gazing enviously at one quango that prospers largely because nobody understands what it does.
The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (Nesta), a "non-departmental government body" on business secretary Vince Cable's patch, was set up in 1998 with a £250m lottery endowment and now receives a further £15m a year. It invests in various groovy ventures and runs its own "innovation" programmes with catchy names such as "starter for 6", "reboot Britain", "the human factor" and "creative credits".
A striking amount of the money, however, ends up with organisations closely connected with Nesta's well-paid staff and trustees. The quango's accounts, recently published, show that last year it promised £210,000 to the University of Wales for "innovation scholarships". The university's vice-chancellor and head of its "institute of innovation" happens to be Nesta trustee Marc Clement.
Luckiest of all was Adrian Beecroft, a director and investor in a small IT company called Gnodal, which received £1m from Nesta to go with the £250,000 it gave him last year (see Eye 1243). That of all Britain's IT firms his should be chosen for Nesta's biggest grant is of course unrelated to his position on the Nesta advisory committee, and unconnected to the fact that he was chief investment officer for Sir Ronald Cohen's Apax Partners venture capital outfit while Nesta's chief executive, Jonathan Kestenbaum, was Cohen's chief of staff. Cohen's social enterprise private equity firm, Bridges Ventures, has also benefited from Nesta money.
Nesta does receive some of its cash straight from taxpayers, generally for "innovation" projects undertaken for government departments. The Department of Health paid Nesta £745,000, of which £568,000 was passed to the Young Foundation for its work on a "regional innovation fund advisory service" (What that? Ed.), shortly before Kestenbaum's niece Adiva took up a job at the foundation. Nesta insists he was not involved in her appointment.
Life's not too bad at the top of Nesta. While public sector fat cats elsewhere thought better of trousering big bonuses, Kestenbaum took £25,000 on top of his £171,000 salary and £20,000 pension contribution. The organisation's questionable efficiency is not bolstered by the revelation that it employs 16 "publications, events and communications" staff for the limited output of its other 68 staff.
Nesta's best hope of surviving the big quango cull is its connections. Since earlier this year it has been generously hosting, rent-free, staff from Philip "Red Tory" Blond's think-tank Res Publica, launched last November in the company of David Cameron. This might be a questionable political use of a government body, but Nesta needs to suck up to all the Tories it can.

Carrot Workers Collective

"...Our sense is that there is a growing constituency of cultural workers, artists and educators who are angry but also uncertain about where to go from here, and who want to produce collective actions rather than more detached analysis and exhibitions that fuel a cultural economy with which we profoundly disagree."

The Carrot Workers Collective.

A cathedral to Mammon

Scottish Screen chief departs as Creative Scotland posts filled
Exclusive: Phil Miller, 10 Jun 2010

We will not please everyone, warns new arts chair
Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent, 12 Jun 2010
"Sir Sandy Crombie, an independent director of the Royal Bank of Scotland and former chief executive of Standard Life, is to be chairman."

Interview: Sir Sandy Crombie - Chairman of Creative Scotland
Published Date: 13 June 2010, By Tim Cornwell

Arts body launches at last ... as funding cuts loom
Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent, 2 Jul 2010

Creative Scotland early squeeze warning
Published Date: 21 June 2010, By CLAIRE GARDNER

Stage set for severe cutbacks to the arts
EXCLUSIVE: Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent, 23 Jul 2010
Scotland’s leading performing arts organisations have been asked to prepare for severe cuts to their funding.

Don't look on us simply as a grants body, warn Creative Scotland chiefs
Published Date: 23 July 2010, By BRIAN FERGUSON
Creative Scotland's figureheads warned they are set to pursue radical new funding policies as part of a drive to boost the cultural sector in the face of fierce public spending cuts.

Galleries may be forced to start charging as cuts loom
EXCLUSIVE: Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent, 24 Jul 2010

Exporting arts is key, says chief of Creative Scotland
Exclusive: Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent, 14 May 2010
Creative Scotland will concentrate on places rather than sectors and forge alliances with countries such as America and India, its new chief executive has revealed.
He said he has now banned the word funding at Creative Scotland and is instead using the word invest, which will be used in four conceptual areas: Ideas, Talent, Place and Scotland.

The new philistines
Thursday, 12 August 2010

isolated appeals for a state of exception ?


"Over a hundred leading artists including David Hockney, Anthony Caro, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton, Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin have joined the campaign to fight against the proposed 25% cuts in [Westminster] government funding of the arts.
The campaign is being launched today Friday 10 September 2010 with the release of a new video animation by artist David Shrigley highlighting the effect of the funding cuts. Each week the work of a different artist, created in response to the campaign, will be released. Jeremy Deller and Mark Wallinger will follow David Shrigley."

The UK coalition government agreed to postpone Holyrood's portion of £6bn cuts to public spending until after the 2011 Scottish election. Below is Arts Council England's gambit to "minimise" and "manage" 25-30% cuts. Scotland-based arts organisations have eight months forewarning... In Scotland, we could do with reconciling campaigns against public sector cuts overall, including an attempt to hold Creative Scotland to account, not least as Creative Scotland is readying a cut in provision as evidenced by Andrew Dixon's thinly veiled threat to foundation grant institutions: "It is sensible to carry out a review of the foundation grants given to all 52 major arts companies and bodies which come under the Creative Scotland umbrella and the increased partnership".

Arts Council England newsletter
August 2010
Making the case
It's clear to everyone that we are living in challenging times and that the arts are no exception - we all have a difficult journey ahead. The Arts Council has received a letter from Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture Media and Sport, asking us to model reductions of 25-30% over four years to our funding programme. We are arguing to minimise these cuts, and we will argue that any cut needs to be managed intelligently, and in a way that protects the achievements of the past 15 years.
Many of you have talked to us about your enthusiasm for speaking with one voice, using the same key messages and themes to make sure we are heard. To help you with this we have prepared a toolkit http://listmail.artsfb.org.uk/t/529048/165801/19128/0/>, to enable you to make the case as strongly as possible.
The Arts Council is developing Achieving great art for everyone, our long-term policy which will set out clearly what we want to achieve over the next 10 years. It's important that in this time of short-term cuts we keep our eye on the bigger picture, so whatever cuts we have to make, art can still thrive over the next 10 years.
Peter Knott, Director
> Make your case using our advocacy toolkit

..........................................

Have your say
The House of Commons Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee has announced an inquiry into The Funding of Arts and Heritage. The committee intend to investigate a number of areas including:
The impact of recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local government
How arts organisations can work more closely together to reduce duplication of effort and make economies of scale
What level of public subsidy for the arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport will appear in front of the Select Committee on 14 September. It is also anticipated that Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England will be asked to give evidence, along with other representatives from the arts sector. It is thought that the Select Committee's final report will be published in November.
The Select Committee are interested in responses from those within the sector, which must be received by Thursday 2 September.
> Click here to contribute

every crisis a consultant's opportunity

"Leading Scottish arts consultant Anne Bonnar called upon Scottish bodies to get more involved. 'Where is the backing of the industry bodies?' she asked. 'That is the problem. We don’t have a collective cultural forum or leadership'.”
Perhaps an opportune moment to remind the prime consultant in the formation of Creative Scotland, 'ideas have consequences':
"I’m here to discuss what happens in the messy real world when Milton Friedman’s ideas are put into practice, what happens to freedom, what happens to democracy, what happens to the size of government, what happens to the social structure, what happens to the relationship between politicians and big corporate players, because I think we do see patterns." http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/6/naomi_klein
And on the alleged panacea of Cultural Leadership - the charismatic leader of management theory - see 'Artist as Executive, Executive as Artist' by Kirsten Forkert, Variant 35, Summer 2009:
"These initiatives formalise connections between management discourses and the arts, through a variety of professional development programmes set up to train arts management, and in some cases artists, in leadership skills. It is notable that all these initiatives propose professionalisation and skills training as a response to a perceived organisational crisis." http://www.variant.org.uk/35texts/CultLeader.html
UK campaign to protect the arts saddened by poor Scottish response
Edd McCracken, Arts Correspondent, 3 Oct 2010, Sunday Herald
The head of the main UK campaign to protect the arts from the worst of the upcoming spending cuts has described as “sad” the fact that Scottish organisations have declined to take part.
One leading arts consultant described the apparent Scottish ambivalence over the I Value The Arts campaign as “a problem that reveals a lack of cultural leadership” north of the border.
When it was launched last month, I Value The Arts became the main lobbying body for arts organisations, backed by UK-wide bodies such as the Association of British Orchestras, Equity, Theatres Trust, and the Musicians Union.
Scottish individuals have signed up in their thousands. Edinburgh has the highest sign-up out of any local authority, while overall Scotland has contributed the third most signatures.
Scottish artists have also got involved, including Glasgow’s David Shrigley, who produced an animated film about the value of culture for Save The Arts, an artist-led campaign running in tandem with I Value The Arts. More than 100 leading artists have pledged their support, including Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.
But according to the National Campaign for the Arts, which co-ordinates I Value The Arts, Scottish arts bodies have been much less forthcoming.
“In terms of initial partners we didn’t have any Scottish organisations, which was rather sad for us,” said John Munro, campaign manager. “On the ground in Scotland the message is getting across better than it is in the rest of the UK, but what tends to happen in Scotland is there is a ‘can-do’ attitude amongst individual arts organisations. That’s great but it tends to hurt the general principle of doing things joined up.
“We are trying to convince everyone we can act together. That is why we would like more organisations in Scotland to get on board.”
Leading Scottish arts consultant Anne Bonnar called upon Scottish bodies to get more involved.
“Where is the backing of the industry bodies?” she asked. “That is the problem. We don’t have a collective cultural forum or leadership.”
The I Value The Arts campaign was established ahead of this month’s comprehensive spending review at Westminster, which is expected to implement cuts of 25% or more in funding to cultural bodies.
Culture, however, is a devolved matter for Scotland. The Scottish Government has said it will defer cuts for a year, until after next year’s Holyrood elections.
But I Value The Arts remained a “call to action” for Scotland, according to Bonnar. She added: “There is no reason why we can’t have common cause with the campaigns happening at the moment. We should support them.”
When approached for the reasons why they have not joined the I Value The Arts campaign, many Scottish organisations said they were organising themselves for a Scotland-specific campaign.
Jon Morgan, director of the Federation of Scottish Theatre, said: “We don’t want to put lots of time and resources into this particular campaign because we need to have a more articulate campaign that is relevant in Scotland. It’s not that we’re unsupportive, we just want to direct our attentions to the specific situation in Scotland.”
The Scottish Artists Union said the only reason it was not involved was one of timing. The SAU has been in the process of electing new leadership in the past weeks.
Craft Scotland, which represents 1700 artists, said it was supporting I Value The Arts. Chief executive Emma Walker said: “It is obviously very important. We’ve been signing up to every petition going, but understand we need to do more than that.”

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Artists' Loan Questionnaire

From: Variant Magazine variantmag@btinternet.com>

Date: 6 August 2010 13:04:53 GMT+01:00

To: Gwilym Gibbons gwilym.gibbons@shetlandarts.org>

Cc: contact@missionmodelsmoney.org.uk, stewart.wallis@neweconomics.org, info@sau.org.uk, Helen.Bennett@creativescotland.com, clive.gillman@dca.org.uk, jon.morgan@scottishtheatre.org, robert@hi-arts.co.uk, davidcook@waspsstudios.org.uk, ben@vaga.co.uk, Wendy.Wilkinson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk, Dave.Smith@scottish.parliament.uk [cut]

Subject: Re: Artists' Loan Questionnaire


Dear Gwilym


Thank you for your prompt reply and thanks too for the additional information about your research exercise on loans to artists. However, our concerns at Variant still stand. The key issues we see are the gathering of policy-based evidence and therefore, the questionable quality of your research project and the compromise of the arm’s length principle.


Clearly there are tremendous pressures to find ways to support artistic and cultural activities as we face government cut backs in public sector finance. Sadly, officials often assume that the public interest is synonymous with the mores of the government and bureaucratic agendas which, in this instance, seem to be all about more money lending. However, the public interest is not served by gathering 'policy-based evidence' in line with political thinking – something which has become notorious in policy studies in the UK. Such studies have shown the same construction process going on in everything from justifying military invasions to magnifying the socio-economic benefits of the arts.


We at Variant do not see any justification for singling out artists for special loan arrangements. More significantly, your commissioning partners, Mission Models Money (MMM), appear to have a diversity of in-house expertise yet the researchers you appointed have failed to explore alternatives such as investment in credit unions or how complimentary currencies are used by businesses elsewhere in the world. The researchers appear to have unquestioningly adopted the narrow national comparisons offered in your tender pack which, it must be said, appears unduly biased towards what is done in the United States. Consequently there are major oversights which suggest either a lack of seriousness in the research, a lack of resources for it, or both.


There is also no basis for suggesting that loans will not be a wedge into existing grant funding. A more pessimistic view is justified. The use of Lottery funds points to the real possibility that targeted credit systems would operate as the thin end of a wedge into grants. So this "suspicion" mentioned on the last page of your tender pack is not unsubstantiated.


As far as we can see, the research you have commissioned about financing artists in Scotland is not striving for objectivity and therefore it is not being conducted in the public interest. Needless to say this is a serious issue in public research financed by tax payers.


Shetland Arts' criteria for shortlisting potential research groups rightly included the following point: "[2] The robustness of the methodology - Has the individual/team added to/developed/challenged the brief in a way that demonstrates an appropriate degree of rigour?" We see no evidence that BOP has met this criterion in a survey which they describe as "the main body of the research".


Let us be clear about our own motives for challenging this research exercise. Variant voiced opposition to the formation of Creative Scotland on the grounds that its terms of reference, and particularly its adoption of an entrepreneurial ethos, was an erosion of the arm’s length principle. Creative Scotland has been formed under what many of our writers and readers believe is a faulty economic rationale coming from government and being imposed on the cultural sector. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the arm’s length principle is up for grabs as well.


Successive ministers have pledged support for the arm’s length principle and to the best of our knowledge no elected politician has openly refuted it. If Creative Scotland is to be informed by entrepreneurial imperatives so be it, these will now have to be dealt with transparently if the new organisation is to serve the broad public interest. In terms of conducting rigorous research about alternative funding for artists this would entail a detailed assessment of the deferral and adoption of risk though additional micro-credit systems.


Indeed we see from your tender pack that risk was discussed at length in a meeting with your partners from MMM. But there is no sign of this problem being addressed in any depth by your researchers. Evidence from other countries already suggests that micro-credit systems are not always benign, they can be highly exploitative, and they may well become more so. Although you say the sums of money involved in complimentary financing are small -- despite the survey propounding loans of £20,000+ -- accumulated they would be a significant addition to the already heavy burden of individual debt.


The alternatives to furthering a culture and economy based in usury are simply not examined in the research you commissioned from BOP. Yet they say that responses to their surveymonkey questionnaire will be "the main body of the research" and "will help form a strong body of evidence concerning the finance and support needs of Scottish artists and creative practitioners."


We do not know what methodology supports this sampling exercise but the research questionnaire itself seems poorly thought out and hastily put together. It appears to be little more than research into a new market for credit. This does not address many of the key issues that have been touched on by you and others involved in commissioning the research. It is therefore far from transparent. Nor do we understand why Shetland Arts - as a funded body - is playing a lead role in commissioning national research for which one would expect the SAC/Creative Scotland to take direct responsibility.


We therefore ask that this survey is closed down because it is gathering evidence in line with a well rehearsed political agenda. It is not investigating the broader issues in keeping with the arms length principle and the public interest which that principle is meant to protect.


Sincerely,

Leigh French, Owen Logan


Variant

...in-depth coverage in the context of

broader social, political & cultural issues.


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++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Begin forwarded message:

From: Gwilym Gibbons gwilym.gibbons@shetlandarts.org>

Date: 2 August 2010 16:28:10 GMT+01:00

To: Variant Magazine variantmag@btinternet.com>

Subject: Re: Artists' Loan Questionnaire


Dear Leigh


Thank you for your email and bringing to my attention your concerns and views. There is, in my view, nothing that intriguing behind my involvement in commissioning a study on small loan finance for artist/ and or makers. The origins of Shetland Arts exploring this idea was in response to a expressed need by several artists who just wanted a small amount of money to fund enhancement of their work. Framing of work was one example in which an artist wanted control of their final piece and to add value to the sale price of that work. Much of the discussion at that stage has been around finance of around £500 to add value to work that could be repaid after that work had been sold at an enhanced price.


I have attached the Tender Pack for the study which includes the initiating document I wrote in May 2009 that informed the development of this piece of work and the attraction of funds to pay for the research. I would like to stress that this piece of work was initiated by Shetland Arts and is in part supported by the Scottish Arts Council but pre dates Creative Scotland or my interests as a Board Member of this new organisation. It was simply a response to an expressed local need. I felt that the need may have relevance further afield which triggered the further exploration of the idea.


I understand that the 21st Century Financing Project was delayed but is now in delivery stage. The Steering Group for Creative Financing is working closely with the team working on 21st Century Financing Project and indeed the team working on Capital Mattershttp://www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk/programme/capital-matters/ .


The Creative Financing Study has been collecting pros and cons from a variety of stakeholders in the sector and your views will be added to those of others who have attended consultations and responses to the questionnaire. I recognise some of the concerns you raise and indeed have discussed them at length internally at the early stages of initiating this project. At no point has this piece of work proposed that loans should be offered in place of grants.


The Board of Creative Scotland meets for the first time in mid August I can not therefore comment on the position of the Board on the issues you raise. However, your comments are noted and with others will be fed into the report which will be made available to all those interested including Creative Scotland when it is complete.


I trust this allays some of your fears and thank you again for your comments.


Regards


Gwilym


Gwilym Gibbons

Director

Shetland Arts Development Agency


Toll Clock Centre, Lerwick, Shetland. ZE1 0DE

www.shetlandarts.org


Direct telephone: 01595 743731

Mobile: 07824 335502

Reception: 01595 743843


image.jpg



http://twitter.com/shetlandarts

http://flickr.com/shetlandarts


PDF : Creative Financing Tender Pack - April 2010


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From: Variant Magazine variantmag@btinternet.com>

Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 13:27:16 +0100

To: Gwilym Gwilym gwilym.gibbons@shetlandarts.org>

Subject: Fwd: Artists' Loan Questionnaire


Dear Gwilym


I am intrigued that you as Director of Shetland Arts and also a Board Member of Creative Scotland should commission a Scotland-wide survey "looking at the feasibility and potential benefits of providing loan style financing to artists, creative practitioners and small creative organisations".


Can I ask when you, as a part of the public sector, will also be commissioning a balance to this market positivism by examining the potential damage of "loan style financing"?


Moreover, can I ask where the assessment is to prove the viability of "loan style financing", which would include a comprehensive risk and impact assessment that one would expect prior to any attempts at justifying demand? I would hope that you would agree that post-2008 we should all be aware that fostering a culture of carelessness with regard to markets is a failure of responsible regulation and oversight we can ill afford again.


The SAC / government collaboration dropped its tender for '21st Century financing for the arts and creative industries in Scotland Study'. I am not aware of any other publicly-commissioned academic research in Scotland into Creative Industries loans or IPR exploitation or independent research on financing that takes into account the depth and effect of the economic crisis in Scotland. If this absence of a crucial evidence base is the case, which it appears to be, then Creative Scotland / Scottish government have no new or existing contextual, evidence-based research to facilitate the introduction of loans, but appear, circuitously, to be seeking to do so regardless of the risks to the sector(s) which they to date have failed to properly investigate.


If Creative Scotland / Scottish government do not even have such fundamental information on which to base the decisions it has already taken -- see Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill: 29 Grants and loans (4) "Creative Scotland may make grants and loans to such persons as it considers appropriate for the purpose of, in connection with, or where it appears conducive to, the exercise of its functions", which the abandoned proposed study would lead us to believe is the case -- is it not negligent to continue to propose such impositions as loans?


It is again worth drawing attention to what recently happened in Catalonia, where the imposition of loans in place of public grants for arts organisations failed dramatically even in pre-crash conditions. The hard evidence of the failure of such neoliberal economic instrumentalisation of culture already exists internationally, and the Scottish Government (and the sector) would do well to examine it. A Creative Scotland profit-orientated approach to culture / information management belongs to a pre-financial crisis set of cultural / developmental policies. We all need to contextualise Creative Scotland with regard to the deeper policy issues such as the paradoxical responses to the financial crisis; a crisis which has discredited the 'Anglo-American' model of finance-led capitalism, yet the Scottish Government continue to pursue the main planks of that neoliberal agenda, including labour market 'reforms' and financialisation as is exemplified in what we know to be one focus of Creative Scotland.


To be clear: loans and IPR exploitation do not constitute a positive spending injection into the real economy, they contribute to finance restructuring leading to a concentration of wealth and centralisation of banking power -- this should come as no surprise to anyone when Creative Scotland was / is controversially being structured by bankers and financiers. Loans serve to increase public debt overnight (see the disaster following the introduction of artists' loans in Catalonia for details) and are part of a spiralling debt crisis, part of an approach that is at the core of the global economic crisis. And for those of us who believe in defending a public sector, fundamentally, the introduction of loans is to extract user fees for public services.


To reconfirm our objections to Creative Scotland proposals from 18 months ago:

- The proposed exploitation of Intellectual Property Rights and the introduction of loans coupled with an effective cut in 'arms length' grant aid, will all act to reinforce artists' poverty. The case of Catalonia shows that increasing artists' debts has been disastrous for all concerned.

- We feel strongly that this bureaucratic process has not concerned itself with representing artists' needs, nor does it address UNESCO declarations on culture and freedom.

- We have no confidence in the process of the formation of Creative Scotland, or the confused and inappropriate proposals that have arisen. We are simply not convinced that the proposals will promote the development of and entitlement to culture in Scotland.


I look forward to your response.


Yours sincerely,

Leigh French

co-editor, Variant


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Subject: Fwd: Artists' Loan Questionnaire


We are currently supporting a comprehensive study looking at the feasibility and potential benefits of providing loan style financing to artists, creative practitioners and small creative organisations across Scotland. The study was commissioned by Shetland Arts and Mission Models Money who are interested in how loan financing might complement existing means of financing the creative industries such as grants and burseries.


As one of our valued members, we would be very grateful if you could follow the below link and complete an on-line survey, the responses to which will form the main body of the research:


http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/loans_for_artists_survey


The survey should only take no more than 15 minutes to complete and doing so will help form a strong body of evidence concerning the finance and support needs of Scottish artists and creative practitioners.


By way of thanks, BOP Consulting (the consultancy contracted to deliver the research) are offering respondents the chance to win one of two £20 Amazon vouchers.


Please note that all responses to the survey will be stored securely and kept completely anonymous.

TOM ROGERS

Consultant

BOP Consulting

20 Margaret Street

London, W1W 8RS

DL: 020 7307 3099

M: 07973 412 047


www.bop.co.uk