Creative Scotland’s Ben Thomson and Janet Archer at a meeting with the Scottish Parliament last week over the art funding body’s controversial grant-giving process for the 2018–2021 cycle.

Creative Scotland Faces Questioning from Scottish Parliament Over Recent Funding Cuts

In the wake of the backlash following Creative Scotland’s recent decision to rescind funding to twenty cultural institutions and give support to nineteen new ones for its 2018–21 grants cycle, the public development body has announced that it will take a “root and branch review” of its funding process, writes Hannah McGivern of the Art Newspaper. Among the arts organizations that were rejected by Creative Scotland for support are Glasgow’s Transmission, an artist-run space founded in 1983, which sought about $290,000; Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, which sought about $414,000; and NVA, a group looking to make a crumbling Brutalist church near the village of Cardross into a global arts venue, which sought about $622,000. Several other regularly funded organizations, including Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery, received “standstill” grants, whose amounts had been reduced since the last funding cycle in 2015–18.

Janet Archer, Creative Scotland’s chief executive, and Ben Thomson, the former interim chair of Creative Scotland’s board, took questions from Scottish Parliament last week, as the parliament’s various members were bombarded with an “unprecedented” number of worrisome queries from the country’s arts sector in the aftermath of the 2018–21 grants cycle announcement. Parliament members told Archer and Thomson that Creative Scotland’s decision-making process was careless and that its credibility was now “severely damaged,” especially after it decided to stop funding theater companies that worked with children and disabled artists. Two of its board members resigned after the fiasco.

Archer said that Creative Scotland is having “daily” meetings with organizations that lost funding in order to explain why, while making sure they receive “transition funding of between six and twelve months.” “We are committed to a root and branch review of how we fund. We will do this in full collaboration with the people and organizations we support,” said Archer.