A new programme of bursaries and awards for individual arts practitioners is part of a new “action plan for change”, published by Scotland’s under-fire arts quango, Creative Scotland.
The plan sets out a timetable and the practical steps which the body will take for the delivery on the eight commitments made by the CS board last December. Many of the changes are based around the need to increase interaction between the agency and the arts organisations it funds, but the agency admits concerns about the cost of delivery.
Kenneth Fowler, director of communications and external relations, told The Stage: “One of the things we want to do is restore the human face of this organisation. There is a genuine desire within the organisation to be seen as a partner, and as a peer of those that we are here to support.”
Commenting on whether CS has the resources to carry the plan through, Fowler added: “Part of this change process will inevitably be a revaluation of how we go about things and what we need to do that. We are looking at levels of expertise and staff – part of that will be looking at capacity.”
In terms of funding for its clients, the plan begins to flesh out the details of future funding models. The ‘projects forming programmes’ process is to be completed this month to ensure short term stability. Funding programmes will be redesigned over this year, with their launch promised for April 2014.
These will include multi-year funding arrangements for some organisations, removing the need to submit fresh applications annually. There will also be project funding, for specific time-limited work, and funding to individuals and partnerships.
Jonathan Mills, artistic director of the Edinburgh International Festival, commented on the ongoing changes, ahead of the launch of the EIF 2013 next week, warning that the body must not be swayed by a reformers’ narrative.
He told the Stage: “If that agency [CS] is not given the space to define itself in a sensible and mature way, it certainly will impact on this festival and on the whole of the arts scene in Scotland.
“I think it is very important to make sure that the domestic small-scale little incremental steps that are so important to any agency do not get overshadowed by a broader – and perhaps in some ways superficially more attractive – reformers’ narrative.
“The best thing that anyone can ask is for a greater attention on detail and a greater understanding on how one will resource and reform the sector”.
Creative Scotland’s action plan for change is available to download here