Scottish artists plan mass meetings over Creative Scotland concerns

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Two mass meetings of Scottish artists have been organised in response to what are perceived as ongoing problems with Creative Scotland.

The separate meetings, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, follow continued and sustained criticism of the Scottish arts funding body, both in the press and in the Scottish parliament. Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop  has recently sent two letters to CS, urging it to be more  responsive to the needs of the sector.

Of particular concern is the move of more than 40 organisations, the majority in the theatre sector, from flexible funding to project funding.

Now CS is to lend its own meeting room to an event organised by Edinburgh-based theatre director Jan McGregor on October 26, while producer Roanne Dods is inviting up to 100 participants to a meeting at the Glasgow Tramway on October 31.

McGregor told The Stage that the Edinburgh event had been inspired by Improbable's recent Devoted and Disgruntled roadshow in Edinburgh. She said the event would be an opportunity for artists to express their concerns to Creative Scotland in a neutral environment.

"I see this as a conversation between artists that we are permitting to happen within earshot of Creative Scotland. If they choose to listen, so much the better. If they choose not to listen we have taken the conversation to each other.

"Artists are talking about a a sense of feeling disunited, of feeling isolated, of the loneliness of the profession. I am every bit as interested in combating that as helping Creative Scotland fix the issues that they have been having of late," she said.

The Glasgow meeting on October 31 will take a 'World Cafe' approach, according to Dods. She told The Stage that speakers from different art forms, including two involved in theatre, will give responses on the theme of what is wanted for art and artists over the next ten years in Scotland and what is needed to support it.

She said: "There are all sorts of sectors involved who have different responses to the issues and have different economies and ecologies. I am not just inviting people who are directly involved with Creative Scotland, I am inviting people who have a connection to the future of art in Scotland."

Tickets for both events will be available through the Event Brite ticketing website.