Creative Scotland shortlists harshest critics for contentious awards

Janice Galloway is amongst Creative Scotland's critics.  Picture: Robert Perry
Janice Galloway is amongst Creative Scotland's critics. Picture: Robert Perry
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SOME of Creative Scotland’s harshest critics have been nominated for honours in the agency’s contentious awards scheme.

Playwright David Greig and author Janice Galloway, two of the most outspoken figures in the campaign against the way the government agency is being run, are on the shortlist for next month’s £110 per ticket awards ceremony in Glasgow.

Other critics, who put their names to a damning letter from 100 leading artists describing Creative Scotland as “damaged at the heart”, have also been shortlisted, including visual artists Karla Black and David Shrigley.

View the list of nominations in full

The shortlist was finally made public yesterday following a row that erupted last week after it emerged that an all-male panel of judges had made the selections. The panel was chosen by Creative Scotland and its media partner for the event, a tabloid newspaper.

Greig is mentioned twice in the nominations, for his involvement with multi-art form project Whatever Gets You Through The Night, which is in the running for the theatre award, and his play The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, which has helped win the National Theatre of Scotland a nomination in the “arts ambassador” category.

However Greig told Scotland on Sunday that he would not be attending the awards. “I would love to come,” he said, “but I can’t get a babysitter.”

Galloway said that she had been given little information about her nomination, in the literature category.

“It is usual protocol to inform people what they’ve been listed for, why and by whom. It is usual protocol to give a deal of information about the awards and what they represent. I know nothing about them or how the judges were selected. It seems an unusual oversight if there are no women on the panel.”

Another nominated artist did not know he had been shortlisted until contacted by Scotland on Sunday.

However, Gaelic poet Angus Peter Campbell, who also signed the controversial letter, said he was “delighted” to have been nominated. “I have no displeasure towards Creative Scotland,” he said. “I just think some of their structures and practices need to be creatively humanised.”

He said he would attend the ceremony “if I can get my kilt ironed in time”.

Another nominee criticised the awards, calling them “botched and hamfisted”. The nominee, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m not sure why Creative Scotland thought a black tie dinner with £110 tickets would go down well with Scotland’s artists.

“There are weird categories that seem to be about being part of the tourist industry and what the best image of Scotland portrayed has been, not to mention the idiocy of the all male panel. They just shot themselves in the foot


Matt Baker, a visual artist who appeared at the Scottish Parliament to warn MSPs of the “wanton destruction” of Scotland’s arts infrastructure under current strategies, is also nominated. So too is Patrick Doyle, composer of the soundtracks for Disney-Pixar film Brave, The Angels’ Share, and sound and light spectacular Enchanted Forest. Paul Brannigan has been nominated in the best new talent category.

Celtic Connections’ artistic director Donald Shaw, writer Ewan Morrison, indie favourites Frightened Rabbit, singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni, and “Gaelic supergroup” Manran are also among the high-profile contenders for awards.

On Friday Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, below left, was forced to apologise after admitting it had been a mistake for the awards not to have women on the prize jury – but he blamed the late withdrawal of several female contenders.

He said the awards, which will be handed out at a ceremony at Kelvingrove Art Gallery Museum in Glasgow, were aimed at “spotlighting and celebrating cultural success stories across a broad range of art forms.”

He added: “2012 has been the Year of Creative Scotland – a 12-month showcase of the country’s many culture strengths – the awards are an opportunity to share the stories and experiences behind the work.”

Officials at the body, which has a budget of more than £83 million, insisted three women did agreed to take part in the judging process but later pulled out.

“They claimed that “more than a dozen” potential female judges were initially approached.

Creative Scotland has insisted the judging panel – which includes poet Tom Pow, comedian Sanjeev Kohli and Iain Munro, a senior director at Creative Scotland – will remain in place for the final round of negotiations to pick the winners.