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.'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
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>, 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."
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."
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.”