Creative Scotland bosses attacked over culture decisions

SCOTLAND’S arts bosses have been accused of imposing decisions about culture on the country’s artists and of acting like ”bureaucrats” at a Holyrood committee today.

• Creative Scotland accused of ‘parachuting’ arts projects onto different communities with decisions made by ‘five people in a room in Edinburgh’

• Claims that rural areas are lacking representation and that arts bosses are acting like ‘bureaucrats’

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• CEO of Creative Scotland Andrew Dixon defends decisions, saying he is ‘absolutely committed to transparency’

Creative Scotland’s chief executive Andrew Dixon faced claims that the agency was “parachuting” arts projects onto different communities with decisions made by “five people in a room in Edinburgh”.

Matt Baker, who runs arts projects in Dumfries and Galloway, made the claim during a discussion on Creative Scotland at Holyrood’s education and culture committee. He said: “The perception has been that there are five people in a room in Edinburgh making decisions about the country.

“In some of the rural areas we’re really lacking that representation, we’re really lacking a route into that situation to understand what portfolio managers are, how we can contact them.”

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine attacked Creative Scotland’s funding shake-up that has seen “flexible funding” or guaranteed grants replaced with yearly or project based investment.

She said: “Bureaucrats are managing the agendas of some of the most accomplished artists. By funding one project at the expense of another they are making an artistic judgement.”

However, Mr Dixon, who also spoke at Holyrood today, said that the body tried to make sure that it can reach all parts of the country.

He said: “I’m absolutely committed to transparency. Everybody on my team knows that’s what I’ve done in the past and that’s what I want to deliver in Creative Scotland.”