Creative Scotland accused of treating artists ‘like benefit scroungers’ as crisis summit held
SCOTLAND’S artists are made to feel like “benefit scroungers” by the Scottish Government’s arts quango, and have been battered by a “tsunami” of mistrust, anger, fear and hurt since it was set up, it was claimed today.
• Creative Scotland accused of forcing artists to ‘constantly justify themselves’
• Arts quango also accused of failing to support the arts at crisis meeting attended by over 100 artists
A gathering of more than 100 artists at the Tramway Theatre in Glasgow heard demands for a public inquiry into how
Creative Scotland is run.
Leading figures in the growing rebellion said they were fed up with years of endless communication and wanted to be left alone to get on with their work without having to justify themselves constantly.
Author Janice Galloway, playwright David Greig and singer Karine Polwart were among those to make emotional speeches at the event.
Although there were calls for more intervention from culture secretary Fiona Hyslop – currently on business in India – they stopped short of calling for her or those at the top of
Creative Scotland to be sacked.
Ms Galloway, the Scottish Book of the Year winner, said: “Creative Scotland needs to decide if it is there to support art or not. We don’t want a helping hand, we want a shift in where the power lies and a change in the language so that Creative Scotland speaks the language of artists. We want to do it for
“There is a small power elite making decisions at the
moment. We are made to feel that we don’t understand and feel undermined. We feel we are like old-fashioned benefit scroungers.”
Ms Polwart, one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians, told the summit: “We are lone mavericks but we cluster in communities. Today represents a long-overdue politicisation of the arts community in Scotland. We are rebelling against a deeper political and
Visual artist Jacqueline Donachie said: “Trust and
confidence in Creative Scotland is gone.”
More than 100 leading artists signed a protest letter about the running of Creative Scotland in early October, while another
300 have since put their names to an online petition.
Kenneth Fowler, the quango’s director of communications, admitted there was widespread internal concern about how the body was being run. Playwright Greig, creator of stage hits like Monster in the Hall and Midsummer, has also revealed plans to send thousands of copies of an “artists’ manifesto” to Ms Hyslop, in the form of a postcard of Don Paterson’s poem We, the Scottish People.
Ironically, it was written in 2005 for the ill-fated report of Holyrood’s Cultural Commission, which eventually led to the merger of the Scottish Arts Council with Scottish Screen two years ago.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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