A new open letter from Sir Sandy Crombie, Chair of Creative Scotland, seems to signal that major organisational changes are afoot at Scotland’s arts funding body.
In his letter, the second in response to a combatitive open letter from Scotland’s artistic community demanding radical changes at the organisation, Sir Sandy outlines the work of two Creative Scotland sub groups, one of which is meeting with people ‘internally and externally to look at operational and structural issues’, while the other is looking into ‘the use of lottery funding to ensure maximum flexibility and stability in the future’. Both groups are due to report by the next Creative Scotland board meeting on 6 December.
The letter goes on to say that the organisation’s commitment to long-term funding ‘could have been more clearly expressed in recent months’ and that ‘The Board has been surprised by the strength of feeling expressed’ by artists.
Sir Sandy also expresses a commitment to simplifying the process of applying to Creative Scotland. He writes: ‘We want to create an environment where applying for support, or dealing with Creative Scotland at any level, is as straightforward and positive an experience as possible, enabling artists, practitioners and cultural organisations to concentrate on their work and for us to concentrate on supporting them.’
On the issue of open debate, he writes: ‘It’s vital that artists and organisations feel able and comfortable to engage with us in debate and dialogue. We meet them regularly, but have clearly not appreciated the level of their concerns.’
Sir Sandy finishes on a conciliatory and responsive note, saying: ‘We have made a start to dealing with the problems you have flagged up. We have devised a robust review programme now well under way. Plans for regular and meaningful consultation are being drawn up. Further announcements will be made in due course about the details of these and other changes and you will hear more from me after the Board meeting on 6th December.’
The full letter can be read on the Creative Scotland website here.