The Future of the Arts in Scotland

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who is Convener of the Cross Party Group on Culture & Media, has tabled a motion drawing attention to the criticisms of current plans for the arts in Scotland made in a letter signed by 440 people.

Commenting on the motion, Cathy said:

“The problem is not Creative Scotland as originally conceived, but the way in which the plans have been developed by the current Scottish Government, with important aspects being diminished or dropped. For example, as the letter notes, the current proposals ignore cultural entitlements, and setting up Creative Scotland clearly needs additional expenditure, but funding is being squeezed. Ultimately this will be at the expense of our arts and culture.

“We are being asked to believe that the cut-down cut-price version will be an improvement, but the 440 people who have signed this letter have looked carefully and dislike what they see. I don’t think it’s too late to sort the problems, but we can only do so if the Scottish Government stops ignoring them, takes on board the criticisms, addresses the funding issues and works to build an arts organisation that is more in tune with artistic communities, recognises cultural entitlements and expands public access and involvement in our arts and culture.”

Text of motion:

S3M-03166 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): The Future of the Arts in Scotland – That the Parliament notes the letter circulated on 5 January 2008, with 440 signatories, expressing apprehension about the formation of Creative Scotland and the effects on artists’ welfare and practice, including the view that the situation regarding Creative Scotland has now reached crisis point; notes that the letter highlights a perceived lack of concern for artists’ needs and UNESCO declarations on culture and freedom, a lack of meaningful consultation with the arts communities during the transition process, an inadequacy of funding and an impact on artistic independence of proposals that include an exploitation of intellectual property rights and an introduction of loans coupled with a cut in grant aid; recognises that this is the latest in a series of criticisms of the Creative Scotland proposals and believes that this lack of confidence in the formation of Creative Scotland is shared by many others; considers that the proposals for Creative Scotland have failed to convince many people that they offer any significant improvement on the current provision of support for artists and the development of, and entitlement to, culture in Scotland and moreover that many consider that they will have a negative impact on our arts and culture, and believes that the Scottish Government should take on board these criticisms and not proceed further without reviewing its plans, consulting widely and seeking consensus on a positive and constructive way forward for the funding and development of arts and culture in Scotland.

Letter to MSPs

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