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Venu Dhupa resigns from Creative Scotland

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Creative Scotland’s senior director of creative development, Venu Dhupa, who was behind the arts quango’s controversial restructuring, is to leave her post in February.

Dhupa is the second senior member of the under-fire organisation to resign. Chief executive Andrew Dixon resigned earlier in the month, ahead of a strongly worded statement from the CS board, announcing deep-seated changes to its ways of working.

Dhupa has given no reason for her departure. Kenneth Fowler, director of communications and external relations told The Stage: “She has decided to step down and we just have to respect that. The broader context is as per the board’s statement and all of that still stands – we are absolutely committed to driving those changes through in 2013.”

Fowler added that Dhupa will be with the organisation until the end of February, handing over responsibility to the rest of the team. The other two directors of creative development, Iain Munro and Caroline Parkinson, remain in post and many people on portfolio level already work on the areas that she has been working on.

Externally, Dhupa was seen by many of CS’s most vocal critics as central to its problems. She was the most senior of the three creative directors and architect of the restructuring which led to the move of some 50 companies, many of them theatre organisations, from two-year funding to project funding.

Although discontent at the changes was simmering from their announcement in May, it came to a head in October, with the publication of an open letter from 100 people from across the arts in Scotland, organised by playwright David Greig.

Dhupa was formerly director of arts at the British Council, a post she resigned from after less than a year, having recommended an overhaul of the council’s cultural units, which included the disbandment of specialist departments such as drama, dance, film and literature.

Announcing her departure, Dhupa said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Creative Scotland. We have facilitated some amazing art and creative work in the last two and a half years, not least made the biggest residency programme in Europe with several international partners. It’s the talent that makes all this possible that should be the focus going forward.

“Seeing social and cultural diversity as an opportunity and having the courage to look outwards will be an important element for Scotland’s success.”

Sandy Crombie, chair of Creative Scotland, thanked Dhupa for her contribution to the organisation, saying: “Her work in the area of international engagement has moved us on significantly, with many new partnerships established for the benefit of Scotland.”

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