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Saturday, December 1, 2012

A(nother) big week for the arts in Scotland

WARNING – if you are sick to the back teeth of hearing about Creative Scotland an a’ that… look away now.....

The Arty Twitteratti are licking their lips in anticipation of another fest of intrigue and drama from Waverley Gate, as this week sees the long-awaited CS board meeting to hear the results of the two reports they commissioned into the criticisms levelled at our national arts body and thereafter decide what to do next. What will they do – or not do?

What is great for us in the SouthWest is that there is every chance that this week might also see the debate shift slightly away from the onslaught of negativity that many have become tired of....

This Tuesday sees a very timely (see SW see zeitgeist – right?) public lecture and discussion by Venu Dhupa – Venu is the Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland, she has become a fairly frequent visitor to D+G and is knowledgeable and insightful about arts policy relevant to our situation here - Venu's topic is 'Art and the Environment' ….see here for full details about this public event presented as part of The Crichton Conversations series and sponsored by Crichton Carbon Centre.

There is also a possibility that the region might feature as part of the public debate about arts policy that is being conducted in the online and print media. Jan Hogarth of Wide-Open has consulted a group from our professional creative community and written a statement for the press that puts a different side to the ‘artists campaign’ that is so high-profile at the moment. This puts the positive case for Creative Scotland’s geographic policy....a policy that we have experienced in our region as a much more level playing field in terms of arts investment and a climate that is allowing the arts in D+G to thrive:

‘Dumfries and Galloway has never been as vibrant as it is just now, with new exciting partnerships, support to creative organisations, artists projects and innovative collaborations with art and the environment. We are concerned to ensure this exciting work continues and is not damaged by any rumblings centrally.’ (from press statement produced by Wide-Open)

Folk supporting this initiative include: D+G Art Festival, Spring Fling, Big Burns Supper, Oceanallover, The Stove, Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges, Dalziel and Scullion.

We trust that this different and more constructive perspective will be recognised by the large media organisations and become part of the larger debate. If you would like a copy of the full document please email and we’ll send you one.

The Commonty became embroiled in the heated national arts debate this week as arts journalists questioned the ‘Guess what…’ post from last week….saying this was an opinion that they had not heard expressed ‘anywhere else’. Given that, it will be even more interesting to see the response to the group statement.

Keep watching folks – and don’t be feart to speak your mind – if this is truly to become a national arts conversation it must have a space for all voices to be heard without fear.

Joseph Beuys - Free International University

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