Discussion Notes for “Creative Scotland: Are the right people making the decisions? How are the decisions being made?”

Notes taken by Wendy Law. If you were also at this discussion, please feel free to send in any notes you made or add them to the comments.

Q         Re: Creative Scotland – Are the right people making the decisions?  

Do they have the specialist expertise needed to ensure funding supports talent development and quality work?


A – There appears to be no external specialist art form expertise brought in to the process (see below)


Q         How are the decisions being made?

What is the process?  And is that process made clear to the public


A CS person was on hand to answer some of the questions.

When asked, not one member in the open space group knew how decisions were made as this information was not in the public domain.


The decision making process is not publicised on the CS website (publicly accountable?).  The website is to be updated.  The publication of grant figures has recently been made available but without reference to the art form they come under – a member of the group cited only 4 out of 158 grants had gone to dance.


Artists and others have picked up anecdotally about how some decisions are made.


We were told:


A          Applications are looked at by CS Development Officers, Recommendations go to CS `Portfolio’ Managers and are then sent to the Director of Creative Development for signing off.


A          The use of specialist advisers sometimes (capacity allowing??)

(Q        Who are the specialist advisers? what are their credentials? what is the process of recruitment and turn around?)


Q         Where are ARTISTS in Creative Scotland’s decision making process ?


Artists don’t appear to be anywhere in the decision making process


In addition to the above, another question was raised:


Q         Who decides and develops the priorities (and policies) for the Funding Schemes?




Comments made:
The specific issues:

The decision making process on funding is not publicly transparent   

The decision making process does not appear to include external expertise (those experts who deliver on the ground)

The decision making process does not include artists

The decision making process is not art form specific but `Scheme’ specific

The decision making process does not seem to include rigorous debate

The decision making process seems geared to a one size fits all approach – when the arts require a nuanced and bespoke understanding and application.

The funding schemes are confusing – Artists self exclude because they do not understand the schemes and find it difficult to access guidance and people in CS.

Artists do not have the information they need when they need it

Organisations and artists concerned those making the decisions may well never have seen the work or have an understanding of the context geographic/artistic/social etc in which it sits.

Artists can do more by self organising (as in Open Space) and connecting with networks to be a stronger voice.


The wider issues:

The lack of prioritisation of the developmental role of Creative Scotland – the need for funding support along the way, ie: the stages in the trajectory of the artist’s career or in growing an innovative and risk taking organisations.


All serious issues that affect artists and need to be addressed.  The solutions are straight forward, however, are they in accord with the ethos and motivation of CS as an organisation?


Discussion attended by (if your name has been omitted or listed incorrectly please comment):

Jo King

Judith Doherty

Harry Wilks(sp)

Gillian Morrison

Hazel Darwin-Edwards

Brian Ferguson (Scotsman)

David Kettle

Holly Patrick

Isabella Jarrett

Morna Young

Emanuel McKee

Wendy Law

Robbie Synge

Hazel du Bourdiu

Scott Kyle

Morvern Cunningham

Kraig Walker

Iain Munro (CS)

Lynda Graham

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2 thoughts on “Discussion Notes for “Creative Scotland: Are the right people making the decisions? How are the decisions being made?”

  1. Jans Claxton and Tamsyn Russell were also present at this dissucssion.

    A correction to this comment <> After clarifiaction was sought regarding this comment it was revealed that 4 out of 158 Quality Arts Production grants were awarded. It was not stated how many dance applications were made in this stream.

  2. I nede to edit my comment ! teh comment I am addressing ihas bene cut out?
    4 out of 158 Quality Arts Production grants were awarded.to dance.

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