Former arts quango chief Janet Archer lands new festivals job

Janet Archer will spearhead Edinburgh Universitys liaison with the citys festivals. Picture: Neil Hanna
Janet Archer will spearhead Edinburgh Universitys liaison with the citys festivals. Picture: Neil Hanna

A former arts quango chief who quit after a rebellion from arts organisations and boardroom resignations over funding cuts has landed a plum new job to try to forge better links between Edinburgh University and the city’s major festivals.

Janet Archer’s newly-created role of director of festival, cultural and city events, which comes with a £60,000 salary, has emerged before she has been replaced as chief executive of Creative Scotland.

Ms Archer will be tasked with taking the relationship between the university, its staff and students, and the festivals to “the next level.”

Her job, which she takes up this month, will include ensuring that more university buildings and facilities are deployed during the city’s main events.

Ms Archer announced her departure from Creative Scotland in July, five years after her appointment, folowing months of controversy over the handling of £100 million worth of grants.

The quango was forced to reverse cuts to five companies following the intervention of culture secretary Fiona Hyslop and the resignation of two board members, Ruth Wishart and Maggie Kinloch.

However funding cuts which remained in place were blamed for the demise of several companies which lost out last January.

An inquiry by Holyrood’s culture committee, which published its findings a month before Ms Archer resigned, found the quango’s handling of some applications had fallen “well below” the standard expected of a public body.

Ms Archer’s deputy, Iain Munro, was appointed interim chief executive in the wake of her departure, but the post, which comes with a salary up to £115,000 has never been re-advertised as the quango is still conducting reviews into the aftermath of the funding controversy.

In its advert for the new festivals post, the university said it was looking for a candidate with “good strategic skills combined with strong people, resource and operational management experience, will be excellent at building relationships across the university and the city, and will be commercially astute”.

The advert said: “The university seeks candidates with a high level of knowledge and experience in the cultural and creative industries sector, particularly in the organisation of high-profile festivals, events and related activities.”

Ms Archer said: “I’m very much looking forward to contributing to the important role the university plays as a truly global institution, rooted in Scotland’s capital city.

“I’m tremendously excited about the opportunities this new role offers. I can’t wait to start working with colleagues at the university, the city, and the wider cultural sector to realise them.”

Hugh Edmiston, vice-principal of business development and director of corporate services at the university, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Janet Archer to the university.

“This new role will build on our already excellent relationships with Edinburgh’s cultural community, and forge new ways to help our staff and students make the most of the city’s creative energy.”

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: “An open process for the recruitment of a permanent chief executive will take place this year. In the meantime, Iain Munro is acting chief executive.”