As members of the arts sector in Dumfries and Galloway we wish to add another voice to the national conversation taking place about the arts in Scotland. Since Creative Scotland was established there has been a fairer geographical distribution of arts funding. We believe Creative Scotland has successfully balanced competing demands for the development of the arts and creativity across the entire country.
Dumfries and Galloway has long held a reputation for artistic endeavour and achievement and our recent experience of working with Creative Scotland has seen an increase in confidence in existing work as well as promising new initiatives springing up from the grassroots. While we accept there are questions to be resolved over the delivery of some of its remit, we expect due recognition of the successes of the organisation in committing to a nationwide vision for creativity and cannot countenance a return to the bad, old days. In the south-west we are building new models of working in the arts that involve diverse partnerships with local and national organisations – partnerships that promise to deliver real impact for our way of life, taking account of both global environmental issues and the specific realities of life in rural Scotland. Creative Scotland has understood and supported these initiatives as it has often been led by the region’s creative community.
Taking account of this strategic direction, Creative Scotland has backed public, performing, visual and environmental arts, capital projects, festivals, literature and much more.
This has helped many artists and makers develop their careers and has done much to further build the reputation and confidence of Dumfries and Galloway as a vibrant cultural centre. We understand that many have wrestled with the changes that Creative Scotland has made and we believe that the discussion about the role of the arts in contemporary society is precious and vital.
However, many of us in this region feel that the overall momentum of change is in the right direction and must be maintained.
Dr Jan Hogarth
Creative director, Wide Open
Dame Barbara Kelly Chairman, Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
Architectural theorist and land artist
Chairman, Gretna Landmark Trust
Project development director, Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
Chairman Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival
Spring Fling Art and Craft Open Studios Event
Director, Ginkgo Projects
Director, Emerge Agency
Wigtownshire Arts Hub
Will Levi Marshall
Public artist and arts consultant
The resignation of Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland (your report, 4 December), marks another sorry milestone in the life of this quango.
Hopefully, progress can now be made in making this body “fit for purpose” to promote Scotland’s arts and culture in an effective way.
However, what happened to First Minister Alex Salmond’s pledge some five years ago to have a “bonfire of the quangos”?
Is it right that an unaccountable body should have control of a budget in excess of £83 million of taxpayers’ money?
I do not believe that it is a satisfactory situation that allows the culture secretary to keep in the background and not be held to account.