Scottish culture budget to rise by £15.8m

Interior of the Scottish Parliment building
20 Dec 2023

The Scottish Government has previously pledged to invest an additional £100m in arts and culture by 2028/29.

Scotland to consider £1 music ticket levy

19 Dec 2023

Cross-party MSPs voice support for adding £1 tax to arena and stadium tours to raise money for struggling grassroots music venues.

Theatre project for young people with care experience launches

12 Dec 2023

A theatrical ensemble for young people with experience with the care system has launched in Scotland.

WAC Pro aims to support professional development within the arts and provide young artists with creative skills. Participants will create 10 new pieces, consisting of five theatre productions and five films, with the support of industry professionals. 

Funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, WAC Pro will offer its members a series of masterclasses, one-to-one guidance, a daily freelance rate and a budget for their productions. 

The project is a collaboration with Citizens Theatre, GMAC Film, Arts in the City and WAC Ensemble, a theatre group for people with experience of being in care. 

WAC Ensemble was formed in 2019, initially for 18-to 26-year-olds, but has evolved to support members who have aged out of the original parameters of the project.

Deni Smith, Arts and Culture Development Worker at Arts in the City, said: “All of us have creativity within us; however, there are often barriers that we face when exploring that part of ourselves – particularly if we are embarking on a career in the creative industries; and, for individuals with care experience, they can be faced additional challenges. 

“WAC Pro has been designed to alleviate some of these barriers through the package of support provided. For the Ensemble members, who each have lived experience of care, the project provides a paid opportunity to dedicate time to their creative ideas.” 

Edinburgh Deaf Festival 'facing funding crisis'

Chief Exec of Deaf Action Philip Gerrard with Edinburgh Deaf Festival Ambassador Nadia Nadarajah at the 2023 festival launch
11 Dec 2023

Organisers say losing the festival would mean fewer opportunities for deaf artists to fulfil their potential.

Glasgow theatre restoration gets further £382k

Statues ready to be lifted into place on the new Citizens Theatre façade in August 2023
04 Dec 2023

Work began on a complete overhaul of Citizens Theatre in 2019 after the original Victorian building was found to have significantly deteriorated.

Theatre and dance projects get £2m to tour Scotland

04 Dec 2023

A total of 14 theatre and dance projects have received funding to tour communities across Scotland.

Among those receiving a share of £2m National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund for Theatre and Dance are Dogstar Theatre Company, based in the Scottish Highlands around Inverness, and Lyth Arts Centre, Scotland’s most northerly mainland arts centre based in Caithness.

Creative Scotland said the funding will enable a wide range of new and award-winning productions, such as modern adaptations of classic works, autobiographical pieces, musicals, physical theatre and spoken word performances, to visit small, mid and large-scale venues across 2024 and 2025. 

Paul Burns, Creative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing recipients of the seventh round of funding to support makers and programmers of some of Scotland’s best theatre and dance. 

"Featuring new and familiar names, this stellar line-up of shows is ready to hit the road and weave their magic with first-time and seasoned audiences in a whole host of settings.”  

AEG submits plans for 'much needed' Edinburgh arena 

23 Nov 2023

The global entertainment and sporting group AEG has submitted plans to Edinburgh Council proposing the construction of an 8,500-capacity entertainment venue to the west of the city.

If successful, work is expected to begin in 2025 for a 2027 opening.

Edinburgh, known for its world-renowned arts and cultural festivals, boasts a range of venues but does not have a large-scale indoor venue. Previous proposals for an 8,000-capacity arena south of Edinburgh were tabled in 2019 but failed to get off the ground.

AEG President Alex Hill said the project would "cement Edinburgh's reputation as a destination for culture".

He said that the “much needed” arena will bring “world-class live music and entertainment to Edinburgh.”

Anger in Elgin as 93% of cultural funds go to one postcode

13 Nov 2023

An Elgin councillor has branded Creative Scotland’s allocation of funds in the county of Moray “astonishing” after it emerged that 93% of grants went to a single postcode.

Of the almost £2.26 million awarded in the region since 2020, nearly £2.1 million went to organisations in the IV36 Forres postcode area, according to the Local Democracy Reporting service.

Sandy Keith, the Labour councillor for Elgin North, said: "It’s absolutely astonishing that there’s not one penny for Elgin, and we’re supposed to be building a cultural quarter here.

"Did nobody notice that most of the money’s going to one postcode?"

A representative on behalf of Dance North Scotland, Findhorn Bay Arts and Universal Hall Promotions said: "Yes, these organisations are based in Findhorn and Forres. However, all three organisations work tirelessly to ensure that the wider Moray community benefits from the arts... [They] offer services that reach across the region and have cultural impacts that reach much further afield."

A spokesperson for Creative Scotland said: "In our continued drive to grow engagement with arts and creativity and to help build more diverse, equitable and sustainable cultural and creative communities for the future, we’re in the process of developing revised processes for distributing our funding to individuals and organisations.

"We’d recommend anyone wishing to apply for funding to get in touch with us and find out what support is available to them."

This article has been updated to include a response from Dance North Scotland, Findhorn Bay Arts and Universal Hall Promotions.

Edinburgh festivals receive more than £600,000

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at Edinburgh International Festival
13 Nov 2023

Festivals in Edinburgh will share more than £600k of funding from the Scottish government through Creative Scotland as community engagement programme winds down.

Museum closes as Art Workers for Palestine stage sit-in

10 Nov 2023

Protesters from Art Workers for Palestine Scotland have staged a sit-in at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow this afternoon (10 November).

The demonstration began shortly after lunchtime as dozens of activists sat in the art gallery with flags and banners.

Police have attended the scene, and visitors are not being admitted during the demonstration.

The protesters are calling upon members of the Scottish parliament to publicly demand an immediate ceasefire in Israel.

In a call out on their Instagram page ahead of the demonstration, which was due to end at 2.30pm, the protesters said: "The majority of arts and cultural institutions have been silent as we witness the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

"We refuse to let the arts, culture and heritage sector to continue as if nothing is happening. No more business as usual in the arts."

Edinburgh's Summerhall launches arts charity

01 Nov 2023

Multi-arts venue Summerhall has announced it is setting up a charity in a bid to become “Edinburgh’s leading arts organisation”.

The company said that the action had been planned “for a long time” but that the charity’s launch was “now urgent and necessary at a time of drastic cuts in the arts and culture sector”. 

The new venture, called Summerhall Arts, will be based within the Summerhall venue but governed independently from the organisation’s existing commercial operations, which will continue to be run by Summerhall Management Ltd. 

Summerhall Arts will offer a year-round theatre programme as well as independent cinema, live music, spoken word and exhibitions. A key focus of the organisation will be providing a platform for new work and emerging talent across multiple arts with commissions and access to free development spaces. 

Housed in a sprawling former Veterinary College, Summerhall already hosts a diverse range of artistic activities and performances, as well as private hire events, and has become a key hub during the Edinburgh Festival. During its 12-year history, it has never received public funding.

According to a report in The Scotsman, the new charity will be seeking support from Creative Scotland in its next major funding round, as well as approaching supporters, philanthropists, trusts and commercial sponsors to fund its work.

Scottish Opera reveals plans for new home

31 Oct 2023

Scottish Opera's plans for its new location on a former industrial estate have been released.

The regeneration project, currently in the consultation stages, will see the Glasgow-based company relocate its head office from the city's Charing Cross area to new premises on Spiers Wharf.

The new premises will sit between the existing Edington Street production studios and the canal towpath. Plans for the mixed-use development will incorporate rehearsal and performance spaces as well as film facilities, office and production space and two student accommodation blocks.

Scottish Opera’s new home will include an education and outreach hub with adaptable performance spaces that can function as a recording studio.

The consultation proposal states that the submitted development plans would “help to secure Scottish Opera’s presence within Glasgow for the next 60-plus years by rationalising and consolidating three of our current scattered five premises under one roof to demonstrate measurable economic, business, and artistic advantage”. 

Scottish Opera will submit its complete planning application in early 2024, with construction expected to begin in early 2025.

Kilmarnock boosts culture with Levelling Up cash

31 Oct 2023

Plans to regenerate cultural assets in Kilmarnock have been revealed using some of the £20m awarded to it from the government's second round of Levelling Up funding earlier this year.

A key grant beneficiary will be the Palace Theatre and Grand Hall, which will undergo extensive refurbishment. The upgraded building will offer improved accessibility, dining areas, space to host a youth theatre company and a new entrance.

Anneke Freel, Chief Officer East Ayrshire Leisure Trust, said: “This is such an exciting project for Kilmarnock and for Ayrshire that will allow us to create a theatre and concert hall that will attract high-profile performers and make performing arts more accessible to local people.”

Funds will also be used to create a “travel corridor” to link the Palace Theatre, Grand Hall and the Dick Institute with a “cultural parkland” incorporating a natural amphitheatre with a seating capacity of up to 150 people. 

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “We are all tremendously excited by this project - this is the stuff dreams are made of! This investment in our cultural offering will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to East Ayrshire.”

Warning of £56m hole in Scottish arts funding

31 Oct 2023

The organisation that distributes money to arts organisations in Scotland on behalf of the government has indicated that it is facing a £56m funding gap.

Creative Scotland, which finances organisations, venues, festivals and events across the country, revealed the shortfall after the deadline for bids to its three-year funding programme passed on 25 October.

The agency said it received applications from 361 cultural organisations with a total ask of £96m per year, compared with its current budget of £40m yearly. 

Initially, 507 organisations registered their intention to apply for the long-term funding, with a predicted ask of £114m annually.

Earlier this year, the Scottish government introduced a reduction to Creative Scotland’s £63m budget of more than 10% for 2023/2024. Before the cut was imposed, Creative Scotland warned that it would not be able to continue to support as many organisations on a multi-year basis as it did previously and that the application process would be “highly competitive.”

The £6.6m budget cut went ahead despite widespread objections, which led the government to abandon the plan in February before reinstating it. Creative Scotland will use some of its financial reserves to cover the shortfall in funding for this year. 

In recent weeks, the SNP has committed to restoring Creative Scotland’s budget next year, though Creative Scotland has said it has "no indication" of its funding pot for 2024/25 and beyond.

Last week, MSPs rejected a bid by Scottish Labour to reverse the funding cuts this year.

Labour challenge to Creative Scotland cuts rejected

26 Oct 2023

A bid by Scottish Labour to reverse the government’s decision to cut art funding by £6.6m has been rejected by MSPs.

The Labour motion calling for a reduction to Creative Scotland's budget to be reinstated with “immediate effect” failed after Culture Secretary Angus Robertson brought an amendment to the motion that passed with 65 votes for Yes and 52 for No.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby tabled a motion at Holyrood yesterday (25 October) that “condemns the Scottish government’s decision to break its promise to the sector not to cut Creative Scotland’s budget by 10%” and "calls, therefore, on the Scottish government to reverse the 10% budget cut to Creative Scotland with immediate effect".

Robertson's amendment removed the original motion's condemnation of the Scottish government and calls to reinstate arts funding this year, stating instead that "in common with other sectors, arts and culture organisations are experiencing significant pressure due to increases in the cost of living as a consequence of Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the actions of the UK government".

It also welcomed Creative Scotland's use of its financial reserves to "ensure that funding for regularly funded organisations has been maintained in 2023/24" and "supports the Scottish government’s plan to double arts and culture funding by £100m over the next five years" adding that "the UK Government should match this stated ambition and at least double its investment in arts and culture over the same period".

Easter opening date for £27m Perth Museum

25 Oct 2023

A new museum in Perth costing £27m has been given an official opening date for 2024.

Perth Museum will open after a multi-million-pound refurbishment of the former city hall over Easter weekend next year.

Partially funded by £10m of UK Government investment through the Tay Cities Deal and by Perth and Kinross Council, the museum will showcase Perth’s place in ancient and modern Scotland as the nation’s first capital.

Its collection will include the Stone of Destiny, used in King Charles's coronation, and a sword belonging to Bonnie Prince Charlie, which returns to Scotland for the first time since being made in Perth in 1739.

Councillor Grant Laing, Leader of Perth and Kinross Council, said: “Perth Museum will be a landmark attraction that brings Scotland’s history to life and is the culmination of our long-term cultural regeneration vision for Perth.

“It will significantly increase visitors from across the UK and internationally. It has created new skills and employment opportunities, and it will ignite our sense of civic pride in our beautiful and historic city.”
 

SNP leader pledges to double Scottish culture budget

Humza Yousaf speaking on stage
18 Oct 2023

The promise from SNP leader Humza Yousaf comes a week after cuts to Creative Scotland's funding went ahead despite the proposals being dropped earlier this year.

Redevelopment of Aberdeen music venue ‘under review’

18 Oct 2023

Plans to redevelop performing arts venue The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen are being placed “under review” over funding concerns.

The £8.3m project received the green light from Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA), the organisation which manages the venue alongside another two of the city’s main arts spaces, last summer.

The development of the 550-capacity venue would see its performance space expanded, as well as new rehearsal and studio spaces. 

Aberdeen Council asked for an update on progress during an annual performance report into its arm’s length organisations last week.

When Councillor Marie Boulton asked if APA was moving ahead with the project, Chief Executive Sharon Burgess said: “It’s not off the table, it’s just under review”.

“The ambitions to develop it are still very much at the forefront of our mind,” Burgess said. “However due to the uncertainty around funding, this has been pushed back ever so slightly.”

During the meeting, Burgess also said there wouldn’t be an “immediate impact” to APA following the Scottish government’s decision to reinstate a £6.6m cut to Creative Scotland but added the whole sector could feel a hit in time.

Glasgow museums says £3m sculpture is missing

17 Oct 2023

A statue thought to be worth £3m is currently “unlocated” in Glasgow’s collections, museum officials have said.

The plaster sculpture, by French sculptor Auguste Rodine, was bought by Glasgow Museum from the artist in 1901.

Glasgow Life, the charity responsible for running the city’s museums, says it was exhibited in Kelvingrove Park in 1941 but is now listed as “unlocated”.

It is one of around 1,750 items currently listed as missing or stolen.

According to a report from The Times, the missing inventory also includes gold coins linked to 16th century monarch Queen Mary I of Scotland.

There has been increased scrutiny on missing artefacts from the reserves of UK museums since the British Museum acknowledged the theft of thousands of items.

Earlier this month, an investigation by the BBC found Museum Wales, the institution managing seven national museum in Wales, is missing almost 2,000 items.

Last week, Museums Association Director Sharon Heal said the recent media coverage of missing items is “misleading and damaging to the reputation of museums”.

“It is unsurprising that, with collections amounting to tens of millions of items that have been collected over many decades, some items might be missing or unaccounted for.”

Scottish artists making a better world

Artists preparing banners for their campaign
17 Oct 2023

Artist activists in Scotland are arming themselves - with squeegees - in a battle to change the hearts and minds of their politicians, as Moira Jeffrey reports.

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