Cultural Playing Field

Creative Scotland Networks, Partners and Agencies Conference by Robin Simpson
December 1, 2011, 5:39 pm
Filed under: meetings | Tags: , , ,

On Monday I was at Creative Scotland in Edinburgh to attend the Networks, Partners and Agencies Conference. Creative Scotland Chief Executive, Andrew Dixon, talked about the financial outlook for Creative Scotland:

  • a cut in Government funding (though nowhere near so much as the cut to Arts Council England)
  • a rise in Lottery funding (additional £10M over 3 years: post-Olympics and with the change in Lottery shares)
  • significant new money from other sources (Paul Hamlyn, Cultural Olympiad, joint Lottery work for 2014, NESTA, EU funding etc)


Overall Creative Scotland’s budget is looking comparatively healthy but the drop in Government funding means that they will have to reduce the amount they give in traditional core funding and move some organisations to a ‘portfolio project’ approach to take advantage of the increase in Lottery funding. Beyond March 2013 Creative Scotland will provide four types of funding:

  • Foundation organisations
  • Annual investments (guaranteed 12 months ahead)
  • Portfolio project companies (who will bid for specific project funding from Lottery funds)
  • Strategic commissions (pieces of work any organisation in the above three categories can bid to deliver)


In the next couple of weeks Creative Scotland will start a process of reviewing all the organisations it currently funds to decide where they will best fit in the funding types after March 2013. Sectoral reviews are also now underway and will inform funding decisions post March 2013.


In the first plenary session I asked Andrew Dixon how Creative Scotland would ensure it involves those bits of the cultural sector that it doesn’t directly fund. Andrew replied:

“We think network agencies are pretty important in knitting things together in Scotland (though I’m not sure we need all of them). Some represent broader constituencies that we can’t possibly talk to ourselves. Voluntary Arts represents thousands of groups across Scotland. I spoke at the Voluntary Arts Scotland conference last week and had one of the most creative brainstorms I’ve had since I came to Scotland: I’ve shared a note on it with my senior management team.”


We also heard about the plans for The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 and what arts organisations can do to help:

  • Promote the Year of Creative Scotland branding  (use it on your website and everything you produce)
  • Feed events into the Visit Scotland events engine
  • Apply for investment through the Year of Creative Scotland programmes
  • Support Creative Scotland’s major new participation campaign, “Connecting people with creativity”


It was an interesting day and it was encouraging to hear Creative Scotland’s clear vision for the next few years.

Robin Simpson.

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