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Friday, October 18, 2013

Its a National Thing - isn't it?

Creative Scotland announced the first recipients of their Artist Bursary scheme today - this is a great scheme to fund artists directly towards developing their own practice in the way they themselves see as important.
At Commonty Central we didn't recognise too many of the names on the list and started to look to see who they were - a pattern started to emerge....of the Visual Artists on the list: 78% are based in Glasgow and the other 22% are based in Edinburgh.

Location of Visual Arts recipients of Creative Scotland Artist Bursaries
NB the Artist Bursary scheme was open to all artforms - there may well be a fairer distribution of grants around the country in other artforms - but after starting on the theatre folk we were losing the will to live and beginning to feel like stalkers.

This is not just a question of 'correctness' - when they themselves are seeking support from Central Government, Creative Scotland will make the point about how investment in the arts and artists can help the whole economy of an area. By starving the rest of the country of artists with time and support to develop - a valuable resource is being denied to areas and communities. It is brilliant that we have a strong art scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh and a source of national pride - but as Melvin Bragg said the purpose of a Cultural Capital should be 'to irrigate not to drain (resources from everywhere else)'.

Creative Scotland reports that a total of 282 artists applied to the scheme and 42 grants were awarded. Visual Artists made up 21% of the grants awarded - if we apply this proportion over the total applications this would mean approx 60 visual artists applied. It would be interesting to know what the geographic spread of those applications was?

Full details of the awards are here


  1. Last week the new Creative Scotland Reference Body met for the first time. This is another good initiative - a group of people working across the arts, who are helping steer the changes at Creative Scotland.
    Lots of good and varied people are on the Reference Group BUT ...20 out of 24 are based in Central Belt, of the 4 others only 1 is rurally based and precisely ZERO are based South of the Central Belt.
    Is CS reverting to the old SAC?
    The map you would get from placing the people/orgs on this map would be strikingly similar to the 'Distribution of Regularly Funded Organisations' that was used by CS as an illustration of their intention to break from the past and create a genuinely National arts approach.

  2. not good enough - we were promised a new and creative way of thinking with new voices (younger, more diverse and with more geographic spread) but not to be