A hundred people from across the arts in Scotland, including playwright David Greig and composer Peter Maxwell Davies, have launched a stinging attack on the “ongoing crisis” at Creative Scotland.
In an open letter to the arts funding body’s chairman, Sir Sandy Crombie, the artists condemn its management style. They also refute statements made by chief executive Andrew Dixon to a Scottish parliamentary committee.
Other signatories to the letter include playwright Peter Arnott, actor Tam Dean Burn and director Matthew Lenton.
The letter says: “Routinely, we see ill-conceived decision-making; unclear language, lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture.
“We observe an organisation with a confused and intrusive management style married to a corporate ethos that seems designed to set artist against artist and company against company in the search for resources.”
Saying that the arts scene is one of Scotland’s proudest assets, the letter asserts that resources are best managed in an atmosphere of trust between those who make art and those who fund it. It describes the level of trust as low and receding daily.
The letter comes as the latest in a series of attacks on Creative Scotland, precipitated by the transfer of over 40 organisations, the majority in the theatre sector, from flexible funding to project funding.
This is the most high-profile public announcement yet and makes quite specific demands on the board of Creative Scotland, including that it ends “the use of business-speak and obfuscating jargon in official communication” and funding decisions are taken by “people with art-form expertise”.
Responding to the letter, a spokesman for Creative Scotland said the body recognises “the social value of arts and culture as well as the economic value”
He said: “Funding decisions and recommendations are still taken by people with art-form expertise who work, in some cases, across portfolios. We are committed to working collaboratively with the arts and culture sector, we are listening very closely to what that sector is telling us and are taking positive action as a result.”