Scotland starts enforcing vaccine passports

19 Oct 2021

Venues that fail to comply face a maximum £10,000 fine but policing falls to overextended local authorities and underserved security.

Scottish National Gallery revamp faces further delays

14 Oct 2021

Managers of the Scottish National Gallery’s refurbishment have asked the Scottish Government for a bailout after further delays to the project.

Originally a £22m project, it began in 2018 – three years later than anticipated – and will not be finished before the end of 2022.

The National Galleries, attributing the delays to the pandemic and "unexpected defects" in the 19th Century building, have declined to say how much more public funding is required.

Head of Planning and Performance Elaine Anderson said Covid-19 had a "massive impact" on Scotland’s cultural sector, with many organisations facing an uncertain future.

"Without support and investment, the sector will decline in quality and reach and key opportunities will be missed."

City of Culture 2025 a 'springboard' regardless of longlist

11 Oct 2021

The challenge now for some of the latecomers will be completing years' worth of planning in weeks.

International partnerships fund 'not a replacement Creative Europe'

06 Oct 2021

The pilot responds to the UK's withdrawal from Creative Europe and prioritises European partners but is "not in the same ball park" as the EU scheme.

Yousaf causes confusion over Scottish vaccine passports

05 Oct 2021

Vaccine passports for large events in Scotland are off to a rocky start after the country's Health Secretary urged people to ignore them.

Hamza Yousaf told door staff to allow entry without certification the first weekend the system became mandatory.

Venues will not face penalties for non-enforcement until October 18 after a "grace period" was introduced at the last minute.

Thousands experienced glitches with the app, prompting an apology from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

"The problem was not with the app itself but with the NHS systems that it links to," she said.

UK Government pledges to address Glasgow culture funding crisis

04 Oct 2021

The UK Government has said it will help Glasgow address its culture funding crisis.

The city’s cultural operator Glasgow Life has warned it cannot reopen more than 90 of its 171 venues if it does not secure funding above the £100m pledged by Glasgow Council over the next for years.

The charitable trust announced plans to cut 500 jobs earlier this year.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said he is "keenly aware" of the difficulties Glasgow Life faces.

"The cultural importance of Glasgow's museums cannot be overstated. I am determined to do everything I can to support efforts to secure the future of our wonderful collections."

Glasgow Life Chairman David McDonald welcomed Stewart's comments and hoped they spark a meeting between Scotland Office and the Scottish Government to "protect cultural growth in Glasgow".

Aberdeen commits to digital music teaching

04 Oct 2021

Aberdeen City Council has approved plans to provide online instrumental lessons for pupils.

It first introduced digital music lessons during the pandemic, when Aberdeen City Music Service began uploading instructor videos for pupils to access between classes.

The provider says students have made "good progress" during digital lessons, prompting council officers to consult with pupils, parents and instructors to determine the scope of the offer.

The initiative will support an expected increase in the number of pupils taking lessons as Scotland becomes the first UK nation to mandate free instrumental music tuition.

"Our council has been pioneering in its use of digital technology - and there is a great opportunity to harness its power in delivering content to support those who engage with the music service," Councillor M Taqueer Malik commented.

Legal challenge to vaccine passports in Scotland fails

01 Oct 2021

The policy has taken effect but tech issues are rife, guidance is lacking and venues say there hasn't been a "meaningful consultation".

Immersive exhibition merges art with science at COP26

29 Sep 2021

An immersive art installation opening this weekend will mark the UN's Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow.

Polar Zero, a collaboration between the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), British Antarctic Survey, engineering consultants Arup and the Royal College of Art, includes a glass sculpture encasing Antarctic Air from 1765 and an Antarctic ice core drilled out of a glacier.

The centrepieces are significant because they provide scientific evidence of the earth's temperature before the industrial revolution - a turning point in global warming - and the state of the atmosphere now.

AHRC Executive Chair Professor Christopher Smith said Polar Zero "epitomises the power of the arts and arts s research to tackle pressing contemporary issues such as climate change".

“It translates crucial but complex scientific research in a way that will resonate deeply and emotionally with diverse audiences to inspire lasting change."

Polar Zero opens at Glasgow Science Centre on October 2.

Scotland hires freelancers as arts tutors

27 Sep 2021

Up to 50 freelancers will be employed as arts tutors in some of Scotland's most remote and culturally distinctive communities.

Creatives and artists who have lost work due to Covid-19 or Brexit can apply to work with primary schools in the Scottish Islands of Na h-Eileanan Siar, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire.

Gaelic arts body Fèisean nan Gàidheal will deliver the programme whilst the University of the Highlands gives tutors support and accreditation. The tutors in turn will support the development of assistant tutors to continue delivering arts education.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal CEO Arthur Cormack said training will increase freelancers' "resilience" and better equip thme to work in schools in the future.

The programme is funded by the National Transition Training Fund and through the Scottish Government's Islands Programme.

Falkirk Council to vote on arts centre location

13 Sep 2021

Falkirk Council is set to vote on a site for its new arts centre and council headquarters.

The £45m arts centre, which has been given the go-ahead despite rising costs, will include a theatre, library and studio spaces alongside the council offices.

But the council is yet to agree on where it will be built. Council officers and the SNP want the arts centre and offices to be built together, whereas Labour have suggested splitting the projects across two sites.

Falkirk Business Improvement District Manager Elaine Grant says it is "critical" both the headquarters and arts centre are in built in the heart of the town.

"It will have a significant impact not just on local business but [also] through further investment."

The council will reconvene on September 24 to discuss further.

Scotland says yes to vaccine passports, U-turns on mask rule

10 Sep 2021

The Scottish Parliament has voted to make vaccine passports mandatory at nightclubs, concerts and other large events.

The nation's model is expected to provide the blueprint for an English certification system.

Negative testing will not be accepted in lieu of a vaccine passport, prompting criticism from some Scottish politicians and health officials who say the passport alone won't prove whether people are passing the virus on, but will adversely affect businesses.

However, Scotland has removed a rule that performers within one metre of each other must wear face masks or use protective screens.

First reported in ArtsProfessional, the restriction provoked alarm among theatres and Creative Scotland.

The Scottish Government changed the rule "in response to concerns about the performing arts sector’s ability to resume work".

New guidance says the exemption will only apply when there is a partition or distance of at least one metre between performers and the audience.

"Because of the continuing risk of transmitting the virus indoors, these exemptions from wearing face coverings without one-metre distancing or partitioning should be the exception rather than the norm."

Nations press ahead with vaccine passports for events

02 Sep 2021

More concrete plans to require certification at large events come as research indicates the policy could put people off getting vaccinated.

Academy Music Group acquires Edinburgh venue

01 Sep 2021

Academy Music Group (AMG) has acquired the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

The 3,000 capacity venue, set to become the 20th owned and operated by AMG across the UK, will be renamed 02 Academy Edinburgh from today (September 1).

AMG Chief Operating Officer Graham Walters says the venue fits with the company's ethos of investing in heritage buildings.

"It has a number of diverse secondary spaces, flexible formats and configurations that we’ll be looking at over the coming months to complement programming and events in the main auditorium."

Gareth Griffiths, Head of Sponsorship for 02, said the acquisition "demonstrates O2 and Academy Music Group’s commitment to enhancing the live industry in Scotland".

Cross party MPs go in to bat for Glasgow

01 Sep 2021

Scotland’s Labour and Conservative parties are calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to agree a new funding deal for Glasgow’s culture and leisure services.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar raised a motion in Holyrood calling for further support for Glasgow Life, which runs culture and leisure on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

The charitable organisation warned it cannot reopen more than 90 of its 171 venues if it does not receive more than the £100m guaranteed by the council over the next four years. 

Glasgow Life lost £38m during the lockdown, leading to plans to cut 500 jobs.

Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP Annie Wells voiced her support for the motion.

“It should be a source of shame for the SNP Government that so many vital facilities and venues in Glasgow are under threat.”

Scottish Government pushes for EU visa-free touring

31 Aug 2021

Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has urged the UK Government to negotiate visa-free travel for the creative industry by the end of the year.

In a letter addressed to Oliver Dowden, Robertson calls for cooperation between the two Governments to “minimise barriers to recovery”.

He adds that touring visas and work permits are creating “insurmountable obstacles” for artists.

“Ultimately this could jeopardise the ability of some to continue working in the sector altogether”.

The letter follows a UK Government announcement that 19 EU countries have agreed to short term visa-free tours, an update condemned by music industry leaders as “nothing new”.

National Theatre of Scotland opens digital education portal

26 Aug 2021

The National Theatre of Scotland has launched an online education portal.

It launches with a full version of Hannah Lavery's Lament for Sheku Bayoh, filmed at the Lyceum Theatre, alongside educational resources.

The theatre has made access free to schools to spark "an anti-racism conversation in response to the production".

Further productions staged at the theatre will be added, including forthcoming productions of The Enemy and Enough of Him.

Head of Creative Engagement Paul Fitzpatrick says the portal will "facilitate access to the arts, learning and discussion" across Scotland.

EXCLUSIVE: 'Disastrous' one metre rule for performers in Scotland

24 Aug 2021

New guidance for shows in Scotland will be practically impossible to enact and a financial blow to the recently reopened industry.

City of Culture 2025 contest attracts explosion of interest

28 Jul 2021

Adding a seventh city to the longlist of bidders who will receive funding would allow more places to "complete their journey," an expert on the competition says.

Scotland scraps music tuition fees in schools

A piano in a school hall
05 Jul 2021

The Scottish Government has become the first in the UK to commit to free instrument tuition. A similar policy in England “seems a long way off”.


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