MSP Joan McAlpine has told the Creative Scotland boss that the south of Scotland has been treated unfairly in its latest funding announcement.
The SNP MSP spoke with Creative Scotland Chief Executive Janet Archer after it became clear that less than 1% of the total regularly funded organisations budget was coming south of the central belt.
Creative Scotland is an agency independent of government – its decisions over regularly funded organisations have caused controversy recently – with a backlash over cuts to disability and children’s arts organisations in the central belt.
Ms McAlpine says that the issue of how Creative Scotland spends money across the country also needs addressed.
Only three organisations in the south of Scotland were granted regular funding – currently very few southern Scottish arts organisations are able to meet the criteria required for this – a situation Ms McAlpine argues, can only change with increased development support.
While the Stove received a 100% uplift in its funding, this was from a base of being the lowest funded organisation in Scotland and the award represents only around 55% of the level applied for.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“On the face of it, the Stove’s funding is a success story – receiving a 100% uplift – the largest of any organisation across the country.
“However, given its success they really should have been granted what they asked for.
“Critically, the Stove is a development organisation with a proven track record of capacity building in Dumfries and Galloway – they have nurtured the growth of 4 new arts organisations, are supporting the careers of many new creatives and are building effective partnerships with non-arts agencies across the region.
“In fact, Dumfries is so successful that Creative Scotland often use it as a “showcase” of where the arts are working really well with local communities and The Stove have a national award for their socially-engaged practice. Only last November, Creative Scotland co-produced a 2-day Scottish Place Network event with the Stove in Dumfries.
“The wider context is that less than 1 % of the total regularly funded organisation funding pot was allocated in the south of Scotland. This really needs to be addressed.”
As soon as Ms McAlpine became of aware of the situation she was on the phone to Creative Scotland boss Janet Archer, who has offered to meet to discuss the funding strategy going forward.
Ms McAlpine said:
“I know these are very difficult decisions – if you give money to new projects, or even more money to existing projects – it means you have to take money from old ones.
“However, by their own priorities, Creative Scotland commit to supporting ‘people from all parts of the country to have a deep and meaningful engagement with arts and creativity’ – to achieve this they need to strategically shift money to the south of Scotland and fully support the examples of good practice that exist in the region.
“I am very pleased Janet Archer has agreed to meet with me and I’ll be doing so at the earliest opportunity.”
RFO funding percentages: North of Central Belt received 26.8%, Glasgow and Edinburgh 72.3% and south of Central Belt 0.9%