Creative Scotland’s project funding is stifling the development of independent artists, according to an internal report released this week by the arts quango.
The Producers’ Hub for Performing Arts report, by independent consultant Lucy Mason, takes a detailed and critical look at the way the producing of theatre and dance projects is affecting individual and independent artists. It suggests a range of five production models for future funding by CS.
According to the report’s key findings: “The current project-based funding system means that many of Scotland’s independent performing artists are prevented from fulfilling their creative potential either because they are distracted by the amount of administration and company management required of them between projects, or because they are unable to secure the long-term services of an experienced producer – or both.”
The report suggests ways in which CS can invest in a core team of producers who could, in turn, invest in their own portfolio of artists. These could replace the current system where a large number of small one-off investments are made for individual producers to work with individual artists on occasional projects.
The report was delivered to CS in March. A CS spokesman told The Stage that it is only being published now, because it was specifically referenced in CS’ Dance Sector Review, published last week.
The spokesman added: “Creative Scotland commission reports for internal purposes. Lucy Mason’s report was originally commissioned as an interim report to inform internal thinking with regards to shaping the organisation’s approach to Sector Reviews.”
Mason’s remit was to “to conduct a feasibility on the creation of an entity – perhaps a body of producers who would work in support of artists who need a small infrastructure.” Her recommendations build on existing models of producer investment in Scotland and England.
The five models range from a managed network of independent producing teams hosted in existing venus, as Catalyst already does at Edinburgh’s Dance Base, to extending the producing role of existing producing companies, such as Catherine Wheels. She also recommends extending existing producers’ placement schemes and creating the post of a managing producer.
The full report is available from the research page of Creative Scotland’s website.