Diversity on Boards

Creative Scotland has advertised for board member(s) and a discussion has been taking place on FaceBook about whether or not board members should be paid and how they should be selected.  Several suggestions have been made about how to reform the process.  Here are some thoughts:

What is the problem to which we are seeking a solution? Is it that the board of Creative Scotland (CS) is not diverse enough (helps if you are male, over 50, live in Edinburgh, work in the finance sector, and are a keen attender at arts events during the festival but never actually worked in an arts organisation)? Is it that the barrier to greater engagement by artists and others from the sector is due to lack of remuneration or is it lack of confidence or even lack of experience?

My own view is that the rules/process for appointing board members are already in place to ensure diversity. It’s just that they are not being applied particularly rigorously. Since Nolan (Lord not the sisters), public appointments DO have to go through a process- call it a job application, a tender or even response to a potential commission. It’s all about saying who you are and what you can bring. The problem is that the way in which the rules are applied appears not to be very rigorous. And my suspicion is that in part this comes down to leadership – political leadership even. When it comes to Govt appointments—like the Chair of CS- too often in my view the civil servants encourage the ‘safe option’. On the other hand an overtly political appointment is to be deplored too. Bet there were lots of retiring Tory MPs getting appointed to paid quango chair positions in the last few months. As ever we have a chance for it to be better here. Before our FM went off to win hearts and minds in rUK, she made a very important point about diversity on boards (and I think it is in the SNP manifesto). So maybe some hope as CS follows the political lead.

However this debate started with the advert for board members – not the Chair and but these are also public appointments managed by the civil service.   Is it really the case that artists are not putting themselves forward because they would not be paid? Assuming all reasonable expenses are met – including child care- is attending 6 meetings a year a real issue for practising artists in terms of time? If it is, then yes let’s ask CS to consider setting a ‘loss of earnings’ amount and/or meet actual loss of earnings if they can be demonstrated. Can’t imagine that would break the bank. And in my experience folk who are earning will claim out of pocket expenses but not cheat – and those ‘too-rich-to- work’ will not claim because they see it as part of their civic duty.

Of course being a board member of CS should go beyond this and you should attend events/shows/exhibition locally but again most who work in the arts do this anyway (I assume either comps offered or tickets reimbursed).

The other option is to look and see what other organisation pay their board members but here we are getting in some cases into the several hundred £s a day attendance and to be honest I for one would prefer to see the money go into making work. This is OUR sector and to an extent we should take responsibility for it and work within its limits and capacity. Like academics who do not get any more money for peer reviewing articles or attending long meetings to decide who will get the research money, there is an element of doing it for the good of the sector and the standard of the work (don’t get me wrong, I know academics are paid a salary but this work is over and above teaching, research and admin- and believe me they moan about those areas but rarely about peer-review work).

Is it the case that artists are not applying to be board members? Do they think it is not for the likes of us? Given the current advert is specifically about members with finance experience, I suspect they are right to think that. But more broadly, do they feel they are not sufficiently skilled? Is that down to how the adverts are framed or is is more to do with not wanting to sit through boring meetings? Or, heaven forfend, have they witnessed boards of arts organisations demonstrate a complete lack of diligence and skill, and want to be no part of a board as a result?

So I suppose I am saying if we want more diverse membership on CS board, there needs to be a clear message saying ‘artists welcome’; a reasonable loss of earnings amount offered for freelancers; out of pocket expenses reimbursed. We should encourage this engagement as part of a broader desire to see good decisions and good work. Over an above this, we need to really start taking seriously the role of boards cross all arts organisations. I have seen some shockers – and some good ones- but mainly the former. Good well-functioning boards are good ‘feeding grounds’ for larger bodies like CS- and also good for the sector.


Flagging national flagship: the role of the politician

On the face of it, there is little connection between the Théâtre National de Nice and Scottish Opera but while their raison d’etre and repertoire may diverge (as the French might say), there are interesting parallels in current stooshies which are affecting both.

First, Scottish Opera which has been plunged into crisis by the swift departure of its Musical Director Emmanuel Joel-Hornak after only 58 days.  It is supposed this came about when Joel-Hornak discovered he did not enjoy the artistic freedom he assumed was due to a musical director of an opera company and found himself restricted by a powerful general manager.  I say ‘supposed’ because there has been a refusal from Joel-Hornak and Scottish Opera to make any comment beyond the announcement. Considering the level of public money that is given to the company every year, this silence has raised eyebrows.

Whatever the problem, what is not in doubt is that both the board of Scottish Opera and crucially the Scottish Government has responsibility to sort this out.  As an organisation directly funded by the Government the Cabinet Secretary has to take this one on herself.  This is not, as a Scottish Government spokesperson claimed,  ‘operational matters for Scottish Opera.’ The cancellation through illness of an appearance of a soloist is an operational matter.  The resignation of the musical director because of artistic differences, is an artistic crisis.

So where does the link come with the Théâtre National de Nice?  The French Ministry of Culture recently agreed a new set of regulations for those running national institutions (of which this theatre is one).  In essence, no one is permitted to do more than three terms of office as artistic leader of these institutions.  Interesting idea that presumably has been introduced to ensure regular refreshing of the artistic approach and has the effect of allowing younger, different leadership.  Whatever the motivation, the fact is that Daniel Benoin at Nice has been in charge for four terms (twelve years) and it is time to move on.  However he has a powerful ally in the Mayor of Nice who has been involved in a stand off (describe in the French press as ‘arm-wrestling’) with the Ministry of Culture insisting that Benoin continue and rejecting any suggestion that a new director be appointed.

This resulted in a letter being sent from Aurelie Filippetti, Minster of Culture that stated her case in no uncertain terms.  For those who read French, I re-produce in the original.  It’s a corker:

Dans l’éventualité où vous confirmeriez votre souhait de ne pas respecter les règles propres aux centres dramatiques nationaux, je vous informe que je serai amenée à étudier concrètement la possibilité de retirer le label de Centre Dramatique National au Théâtre National de Nice, et, de procéder au désengagement financier de l’État.

In essence:  follow the rules or I will strip from you the title of a national centre and I will cut your state money.

So what’s the parallel with Scottish Opera?  It is this:  the Scottish Government, and specifically the Cabinet Secretary has the power and the responsibility to intervene.  For the most part, direct state funding of the national companies, galleries and museums brings with it positive headlines and a warm glow to Ministers.  This is the other side – the crisis when political leadership is necessary.  There is no shortage of advice around (and some very good historical material: Scottish Opera has been the subject of consultancies and reports every few years over the last few decades) but whatever is decided, there has to be some evidence that the Government, working with the board, is getting to grips with the problems that currently beset the company.

And a final word on Nice.  The new artistic director, due to take over 1 January 2014, is the French-born British actor and director, Irina Brook, who, incidentally fulfils another of Filipetti’s commitments – to increase the number of women in charge of French cultural institutions.



WARNING: Research can be bad for your health

I want to draw your attention to a new piece of research commissioned by the Scottish government which offers definitive evidence for the first time that cultural engagement is having a positive impact on the nation’s health and life satisfaction.  Janet Archer, CEO, Creative Scotland, in an address to FST/ITC Reception, 20 August 2013, Edinburgh.

I was there, unhealthily sipping my wine, when I heard Janet Archer mention this new piece research in her speech and immediately my interest was piqued.   When I was Director Centre for Cultural Policy Research (CCPR), at the University of Glasgow, we were commissioned by the (then) Scottish Executive to find the evidence of the link between arts and sports participation and quality of life and well-being.  From this we were asked to develop indicators which could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a culture or sport intervention. Susan Galloway at CCPR reviewed the extensive literature on well-being and quality of life and we worked with Professor David Bell, an economist from Stirling University who examined the economic literature on subjective well-being.

Quality of Life and Well-being: Measuring the Benefits of Culture and Sport: Literature Review and Think-piece was published by the Scottish Executive in 2006.   In this we concluded:

‘The central issue for cultural social impact research remains the lack of both empirical evidence, and the lack of a theoretical basis with which to support the claims about the impact of cultural participation.’ (p.42)

In summary, we found that there is no evidence of a link between participation in the arts and sport and quality of life and well-being.  This does not mean that there is not one, but there is no evidence.  Moreover there are challenges in researching this area –mainly around issues of definition. What exactly is quality of life and well-being?  We concluded:

‘What this review tells us, however, is that, in the wider policy literature relating to quality of life and well-being, there is no clear definition of terms and that, the absence of such, leads to a lack of clarity in the policy focus. This, in turn, leads to a ‘back to front’ approach to enhancing quality of life and well-being in communities and for individuals: what can be measured is measured, and what is measured drives the policy. The development of new ways of measuring tends to focus on the quantitative with qualitative measures focusing on satisfaction surveys. Anything even attempting a comprehensive approach to measuring the impact on quality of life can lead to unwieldy data sets. ‘(p. 145)

This is a chunky piece of research and my summary does not do it full justice but essentially it flagged up for researchers and policy makers questions which need to be addressed when looking at the relationship between arts and sport and quality of life and well-being.  So when I heard about this new research I was intrigued to find out how they had tackled the problem of definition, methodological questions around qualitative and quantitative approaches, the issue of large datasets and what evidence was being presented.

This new piece of research, published by the Scottish Government, Healthy Attendance? The Impact of Cultural Engagement and Sports Participation on Health and Satisfaction with Life in Scotland uses the Scottish Household Survey as its data source.  Since 2009 this survey has contained questions on cultural and sports participation and on life satisfaction and self-assessed health.  The researchers analysed data from both of these to reach the conclusion that,  ‘those who participate in culture and sport or attend cultural places or events are more likely to report that their health is good and they are satisfied with their life than those who do not participate.’ (p. 5)

In our research in 2006 we said something similar:

‘In as much as culture and sport is seen to have a role in enhancing quality of life […] it appears consistently […] as one of the indicators and descriptors used in domains encompassing subjective well-being, expressed as satisfaction with life as a whole, and social inclusion/social well-being/social relationships.’  (p.137)

So in the area of ‘subjective well-being’ we too found a link. We go on:

‘This is perhaps not unexpected as it is often assumed that participation in culture and sport has a positive impact on aspects of quality of life as it relates to social inclusion. The academic literature suggests, at best, an association rather than a causal link between these. ‘(my italics) (p. 155)  And finally we are more blunt, ‘While the evidence suggests an association between cultural and sports participation and an improved quality of life, there is no evidence of a causal relationship between the two.’ (p. 155)

But then neither does this latest research claim cultural participation or attendance is the cause of good health.  Specifically they state: ‘Being cross-sectional, this study cannot determine causal relationships.’ (p. 17).  Throughout the researchers are careful to point to an association between participation and attendance in culture and sport- not that one leads to another.

What does this mean?

First, this is not the ‘definitive evidence’ policy-makers claim. We might look for associations between other activity and health benefits – for example being part of a religious group, being a volunteer in a hospital or working with refugees, having an allotment – and a myriad of other activities which are part of our social capital. Making a claim for a casual link between the health of our nation and engagement in culture is, frankly, spin.  Echoing this point, Tiffany Jenkins in the Scotsman pointed out that some art might have the opposite effect and ‘culture was not the solution to our health problems’.

And surely we have moved beyond this attempt to account for cultural spend because of non-cultural outcomes?  After all what was the Talbot Rice Gallery speech by Fiona Hyslop all about if it wasn’t underlining the importance of the arts and heritage to ‘our heart, our soul, our essence’?

But the real lesson from this research is to be found there in the Introduction:

‘Sports participation and cultural engagement levels are highest in the highest household income groups in Scotland and decline to be lowest in the lowest household income groups. Similarly, adult participation in cultural and sporting activities varies by area deprivation, with participation increasing as area deprivation decreases.’ (p. 7)

What that tells us is that not only does high deprivation bring with it poor health (which we already know from epidemiological studies in Scotland), but it also brings a reduced participation in arts and sport.  Surely this is all the evidence we need to know that more work has to be done to bridge the gap between those who have all and those who have none?  Let’s move away from making exaggerated claims for the benefit of cultural participation and attendance and focus on what really matters – creating greater access to all for all.






A Modest Proposal: a new structure for the arts in Scotland

It is with some trepidation that I publish this proposal about the future of the arts in Scotland.  I was one of those who applied for the post of CEO of Creative Scotland and was not interviewed.  This blog, therefore, could be read as the response of a bitter and spurned candidate.  It is not, but I understand why it might be considered such and there is little I can do about that.

Throughout the last 15 years of observing the development of the arts and creative industries in the run up to and post devolution, I have had a growing sense of a systemic problem in the way government develops and delivers policy in the cultural sphere.  While on the one hand the arts are flourishing and our international reputation grows, on the other we have been suffering ‘planning blight’ in the policy.   From a cultural commission spawning huge unworkable recommendations, through structural changes which took longer than they should, to ‘stooshies’ about how decisions are made to what appears to be a botched recruitment process with distinguished names being mentioned but no final announcement, we have witnessed, or so it appears, a series of failures in governance and management. In the course of preparing my application for the post I began to wonder if there were not something more fundamentally wrong with how things were structured- although, I admit, that did not stop me throwing my hat in the ring. Now I am free to examine these concerns more openly.

My thesis is that the arm’s length policy by which government funds the arts via non-departmental public body no longer serves us well, and has not since 1999, and it is time to look at the creation of a Ministry of Culture and funding the arts directly from government.

A useful starting point is work by Susan Galloway and an article by her and Huw Jones, The Scottish dimension of British arts government: a historical perspective[1] in which they examine through the archives the relationship between the arts and government pre-devolution.  One of their conclusions is that that as Scotland became more autonomous as a nation at the same time the arts policy function became more politicised.   In the 1970s and 1980s the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) automatically received 12% of UK arts funding via the Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB), and then spent it in ways it chose even if that did diverge from ACGB policy.  SAC was ‘at double arm’s length’ from government.   In 1992 the responsibility was moved from Westminster to Edinburgh and the Scottish Office which brought arts policy closer to Scottish politicians.  Then, of course, along came devolution which was, it was argued, a means by which decisions taken previously at distance from government were placed in the heart of a democratic process.   Yet despite these changes, and the subsequent merger of SAC and Scottish Screen into Creative Scotland, there has been no fundamental challenge to the notion that politics and the democratic process has no part to play in cultural policy and we persist with the fiction that somehow the arts are too important to be part of that process.

The ‘arms- length’ principle for the arts was established in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War and was in part in reaction to the twin threats of fascism and communism and the fear of a state run arts world doing only state-approved art. Its intention was no more and no less than to prevent politicians interfering in decisions about what should or should not be funded.  The principle has its roots further back in the establishment of the BBC and our University system.  It is a very British compromise with all the brilliance and muddle that implies. And indeed it has worked:  I can think of no evidence to suggest that there has been one exhibition or performance which has been approved or banned because of central government interference. However what is clear is that spending public money means being accountable for it.  The government of whatever persuasion has its own priorities and will direct money in that way.  This is called democracy but sometimes this has been interpreted as ‘political interference’.  So let’s do away with the muddle and establish some clean lines between the artist, the arts organisation, the creative project and the political process which votes the money.

After all what have we got to fear?  Freedom of expression is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.  This is the structure which works across most of Europe including Germany where the federal cultural budget has just been increased while government spending overall is being tightened. In none of the countries which fund the arts directly– with left or right wing governments –is there any suggestion that individual artistic decisions are influenced by party politics.  The biggest threat to the arts comes from the economic crisis – and some might argue, the failure of global capitalism.

And what would it mean in Scotland?  As we have all witnessed in other areas, Government decisions are open to scrutiny: we have a robust committee system in the Scottish Parliament with the checks and balances needed to prevent undemocratic political actions and we also have more media outlets than you can shake a stick at.

But the most persuasive argument is that it already happens.  Government directly funds our national performing arts companies, museums and art galleries.  As far as I can tell, the orchestras are not being instructed to perform Hamish MacCunn in every programme nor is National Theatre of Scotland doing all its plays in Doric. In fact we can see a flowering of many of our national institutions – one only has visit the Scottish Portrait Gallery or National Museum of Scotland to see that. What’s more it is time our national companies were pulled more closely to the rest of the cultural world in Scotland. We are too small a country to have such a division in the way things are managed.

What about cost? Well of course we would have to write off the money and time already spent on setting up Creative Scotland but it’s minuscule in comparison to the billions written off in badly thought through government procurement projects.  Mistakes happen. Let’s move on.   There are potential savings too. The Government would require additional expertise internally drawn from existing Creative Scotland staff but staffing in of central functions could be merged with existing corporate departments.  The use of ad hoc external expertise would address some of the recent demands of the arts community to be involved more in consultation on funding decisions and the process whereby some of the funding is already devolved to small specialist organisations could be extended—especially the funding of individual artists.  Few would weep at the disposal of Waverley Gate – and probably the Glasgow office — with the new Ministry accommodated within the existing estate.  There is, of course a lot of devil in any detail and this proposal is intended as a point of departure for debate not as a blueprint.

In 2002 I co-authored a report to Scottish Executive about the Scottish Arts Council, as part of the quinquennial review of the organisation.  Re-reading the conclusions, I can see hints of concern about the structures which operated:  “There is confusion about the role and remit of SAC that affects all aspects of its work. To clarify this the arm’s length principle needs to be re-visited and relationship made clearer between the Executive, SAC, the cultural community and the partners and agencies which interact with SAC. ‘Ministerial interference’ needs to be transformed into ‘Ministerial leadership’.”

Now is the time to see evidence of that Ministerial leadership and a maturing of the relationship between the arts and government.




[1] Susan Galloway and Huw David Jones, (2010) The Scottish dimension of British arts government: a historical perspective, Cultural Trends, 19, Issue 1&2. 


Creative Scotland and the creative industries

The debate around the future of Creative Scotland includes calls for a re-visiting of the role of the arts funding body as laid down when it was first established.  In essence what is being called for is the removal of responsibility for supporting what is called ‘creative industries’.  I disagree, and here is why. 

Jenna is a dancer.  She is a member of Spilt Milk, a company formed by two of her fellow dance graduates.  They produce work which takes a witty, intelligent and sometimes ironic look at social dance.  They have performed in festivals across England and were showcased at the Linbury Studio, the Royal Opera House.  Like all emerging artists, they spend time making applications for public funds – especially from the Arts Council.  And like all emerging artists, they don’t earn much from this work.  So to support herself, Jenna teaches dance at University level.  She has also runs a business which is her passion: weekend dance classes for children and their parents. Jenna wants to do a PhD in inter-generational dance and these classes provide her with the material which will inform her research as well as being a creative outlet and, crucially, an income source.

I met the entrepreneurial Jenna when she came to work with me in the Midlands as we developed a centre to support recent arts graduates establish their own businesses.  We received economic development cash to retain creative graduates in the area, support the development of sustainable businesses, and, through this, create jobs.  We worked with graphic artists, photographers, film-makers, dancers, theatre artists, musicians and web designers Our job was to give them access to advice, mentoring, specialist training, technology and hot desk spaces to allow them to launch their businesses. Or that’s what we said when speaking to people in economic development.  When talking to the Arts Council we spoke about helping artists to create work through providing studio and office space and expert support and guidance from established artists and academics working in their field—as well as providing short courses on things like marketing and finance.  Both these statements meant the same thing.  Jenna and I are bilingual in the language of economic development and art, and for us there was, and is, no tension.

More importantly there was little conflict for the artists with whom we worked and they were happy to accept advice on how to work in a variety of settings if it meant they could make work.  Applying to the Arts Council to do a collaborative project or develop a full-blown show or exhibition, or selling the work to specialist markets— both allowed them to do what they wanted to do.  The desire to make money was secondary in all cases to making work (although some of the web-based companies had half an eye on being the next big thing in social media). However everyone needs to make a living and our role was to help our graduates sustain their practice through accessing commercial and public sector opportunities. Which is precisely what Jenna is doing through her dance classes.

We worked with tiny businesses and fledgling companies so I watched with interest the proposals to establish Creative Scotland out of Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council and make a closer and more explicit link at national level, between work which is supported via arts public funds and work which can be sustained through engaging with the market —sometimes given support from economic development agencies.  However for a variety of reasons the debate in Scotland became sterile and there was a growing mistrust from the artist.   Arts funding equalled good; economic development equalled bad and, worst still commercial equalled selling out.  There was no bilingualism, just babel.

This discontent grew into the rejection of whole the idea of ‘creative industries’. Many a tree has died in critiquing the concept of creative industries- and I too tire of the overblown rhetoric around the concept of creative industries being the saviour of our economy.  But it is foolish to deny the link between of film, broadcasting, publishing, recording, design, games architecture and the rest of the arts sector and build some kind of cordon sanitaire.  Equally it is depressing to promote the notion that if a theatre show makes money in a commercial sense it must be without merit and exploitative of the artist and the art.

Some who reject what they call the ‘ideology’ behind the establishment of Creative Scotland and the term creative industries have their own deeply held ideological position which they will hold fast until we reach the sunny uplands of a new Marxist world.  I however, can’t wait that long.

Another position taken by some is that Creative Scotland should focus on art and the artist, and let another agencies in economic development do the rest.  However, as I have tried to suggest above, it is not always so clear-cut and tidy.  I also think this is a timid position. Surely we want to see leadership from the arts community when it comes to seeing public investment in creative businesses?

The real failure in our approach to the creative industries in Scotland is not that Creative Scotland has funded a cookery programme — that’s bad judgement and rightly pilloried.  No the real failure is that, in common with other industrial and commercial sectors in Scotland, we are brilliant at creating and inventing and terrible at making any money from it.  Thus, we have in our midst, paying taxes and being part of our society, the most successful living writer in the world (J.K. Rowling) but Scotland makes next to nothing out of the ‘exploitation’ of her talent in publishing and film making.  And before anyone tells me that we are too wee to make any impact on the global film industry which is US dominated, I say, Wellington, New Zealand.  And oh if only we could use our fabulous talent in writing, acting, music, design, and technical skills and produce just one TV drama to match that which is coming out of Denmark at the moment!

Not all of this is down to what Creative Scotland supports from its budget — economic development bodies have a role too — but the leadership must come from the arts body, surely.  And in turn its legitimacy will come from the expertise and skills it gains from working with artists whose creative output it supports.   It starts with the art whether we call it a project, business or an industry.

Postscript Spilt Milk is keen to tour to Scotland and especially the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Follow the link to get hold of them if you can help!


This blog has attracted a few comments on Facebook and Twitter.  I quote them here with my response.

From Robert Dawson Scott on Facebook, two points:

1.    I’m really glad someone has at least come and out argued this case. Like you, Christine, my initial thoughts on the idea of Creative Scotland were not negative; the very fact that government was treating the creative sector as something worth investing in, rather than just a drain on money that could have been spent on schools/hospitals/la la la, seemed to be a positive step. Where it began to unravel, I think, or at least where one of the threads began to work loose, was when it became clear that CS wasn’t going to get any of the resources that, say, Scottish Enterprise, can access to invest in industries. Whether that was the Enterprise network leaning on government to protect their comfy berths for clapped out business men or not we may never know but I shouldn’t wonder. It left CS a bit broken backed from the start; and also made the mash-up of art and commerce more uncomfortable than it needed to be.

Good point – maybe this needs to be re-visited at the very least to make the relationship between Creative Scotland and the enterprise agencies (let’s not forget Highlands and Islands Enterprise) more effective.  There is what is called the Creative Industries Partnership of which Creative Scotland is a member along with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Development International, and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities  (or if you prefer CS, SE HIE, SDS, SDI, COSLA – aka a bad hand at Scrabble). Maybe some clarity is required.

2.    On a smaller point, and you should know better than repeating this, CS has not invested in a cookery programme. It invested in the pitch to get a network programme to Scotland. The cash will be repaid since the pitch was won and the result is about 28 jobs in the TV industry at no cost to anybody (except the licence fee payer). Even cookery programmes need camera people, editors, blah blah. Oddly enough, for all the opprobrium this has attracted, it was actually an example of CS doing something that it was supposed to do. Of course I am an employee of STV so I would say that; but also I am an employee of STV so I do actually know the detail.

I stand corrected and agree I made a cheap dig.  However I do not think this is what CS is supposed to do.  I do not think that its remit should include supporting the core work of a PLC.  I do not think supporting jobs CS’s primary role (although it is always excellent when it does). This perhaps just illustrates how muddled the thinking has been in this area—and I don’t blame STV for trying.

From @johnnygailey on Twitter several tweets and two main points.  I have re-produced the tweets as they appeared but because of the restrictions of Twitter, the points are made in abbreviated form.  I have re-stated what I believe to be the essence of what is being said but happy to correct if I have got it wrong.

1.  it’s not the same thing: one you fund coz it can’t find form in the market, the other you find coz it can, and you expect return

The point is that the creative industries and the arts are not the same thing because you expect a financial return on the former.  I agree with this.  State funding for the arts is indeed about supporting the creation of work which cannot be sustained via the market.  This in itself does not deny the link between the artist/idea and a viable business.  CS has a role in supporting artists directly but it also can, should and does work in other ways to allow the work to be produced and distributed in a way which will make a return.  Whether CS shares in this return depends on what it is.  For example, film funding can be given as ‘an investment’ so the public purse is recompensed if the movie is a hit. But normally the view is that public money is sued to assist the artist – and the work—to reach a wider market and this will in turn help to support future work.  Whether this works as well as it should is a moot point and one I am raising.

2.  The ideology is not to dump ctve ind remit..the ideo is whethr arts should spec. be tied to the Single Overarching Purpose of Govt:”2 focus govt & public services on create a more successful country,with opp fr all of Sctld to flourish,thru increasg sustnble econ growth”

Economic growth is not the only way to ensure a country ‘ flourishes’

Just because there is economic growth, doesn’t mean ALL Scotland is flourishing.

I suggested that the problem with CS is not one of ideology but how the relationship between creative industries and art is managed and developed.  @johnnygailey’s challenge is that the ideological problem is not as I have described but the fact that CS is expected to follow Government policy and in particular the focus on public services being aligned with economic growth. Absolutely fair point. I agree that I have misinterpreted some of what has been said about the underpinning ideology of CS’s remit.

I agree that economic growth is not the only way in which a country flourishes.  I also agree that not all benefit from economic growth. Further, to link the  development of the arts solely to an economic return flies in the face of everything artist stand for – and indeed what we all understand as the role of state funding for the arts.  So far I agree wholeheartedly.

However I think we need to recognise the realpolitik.  The funding is public funding.  Government is responsible for setting the budget and determining how that funding is spent. The current Scottish Government was elected to do just that.  It is not surprising that it expects its public bodies to develop their plans in line with its objectives.  This should not be confused with government interfering with individual funding decisions in terms of what is or is not funded. It is about CS’s plans and priorities.

This is nothing new.  All governments have sought to determine how their money is spent whether directly by them or via another agency.  In reality this works as a continuous dialogue between government and the agency.  I sat around the board room table of the Scottish Arts Council during the last Conservative government in the early 1990s and witnessed the Council managing its relationship with a sometimes hostile—and sometimes not—political reality.  As was said in 1999, the good thing about devolution is that it brings the arts and government closer together and the bad thing about devolution is that it brings arts and government closer together.  For an utterly brilliant and fascinating exploration of all this check out a project led by Susan Galloway at the University of Glasgow, The Scottish Arts Council 1967-2007: arts governance and national identity. A historical analysis of cultural policymaking.

This is neither good nor bad but, like the weather, we have to live with it and how we handle it is part of the democratic process.

From @southfilmfest:  I wonder if JK took HP to Canongate? & no film studio i Scotland, calls for one ignored by Scottish Screen for years.

No idea about whether or not there was an opportunity for Canongate to publish Harry Potter.  It is a remarkable business and has made a great contribution to the cultural as well s economic scene.  I am not an expert int his area but I belive it becomes very hard for small publishers here or elsewhere in the UK to hang on to successful writers as they cannot compete with ‘the big boys’ on advances.

On the issue of film studio, the issue is partly capital investment to create such a facility– which could  attract lottery funding–but also the viability of such a facility.  I realise there is a bit of chicken and egg here but I understand that what is needed is a big commitment from major film and TV companies to make the business plan stand up.