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Creative Scotland reverses funding decisions following outcry

Janet Archer, formerly chief executive of Creative Scotland Janet Archer, formerly chief executive of Creative Scotland
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Creative Scotland has reinstated five companies to its network of regularly funded organisations, following an emergency meeting of its board last week.

It has also decided to return theatre company Stellar Quines’ budget to standstill levels, after it was initially dealt a 22% cut in the current funding round.

Children’s theatre companies Catherine Wheels and Visible Fictions, disabled-led companies Lung Ha and Birds of Paradise, and the Dunedin Consort which were stripped of regularly funded status in January, will now get guaranteed three-year funding.

All will get stand-still funding at 2015-18 levels. Creative Scotland is allocating £2.6 million additional funds to regular funding in 2018-21 in order to accommodate the changes.

The removal of RFO status from the children’s and disabled led companies caused an outcry in Scotland and let to the resignation of Ruth Wishart and Maggie Kinloch from the CS board.

Broadcaster Wishart, who had been on the board since Creative Scotland was set up in 2010, announced the decision in her blog on February 1, criticising the process that resulted in the recent cuts.

In a statement announcing the reinstatements, Creative Scotland said: “The additional funds are focused on excellence and experimentation; theatre for children and young people; and companies led by and working with disabled people.”

Besides anger at the cuts to theatre companies working in the children’s and disabled sector, there has been growing disquiet at the processes by which Creative Scotland allocates funds.

Creative Scotland has said it will now “undertake a review of current funding models and processes” so that it can improve its funding decisions in the future.

However, the Creative Scotland board has renewed its commitment to the roll-out of a touring fund, which was originally supposed to support all the companies removed from RFO status.

According to the statement, details of the fund will be developed in collaboration with the touring sector. CS aims to open the fund for applications later this year, and to set a budget for it from April 2019 onwards.

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