Fringe issues accommodation warning to performers

A performer on the streets of Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival
11 Jan 2023

Organisers of the Edinburgh Fringe urge prospective performers to 'scope out' accommodation early amid concerns around availability and cost.

Extend tax relief for theatres and orchestras, says Robertson

Scotland's Culture Secretary Angus Robertson
09 Jan 2023

Scotland’s Culture Secretary says the UK Government’s tax relief for theatres and orchestras must be extended due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Who’s who in cultural policymaking?

Government headshots edited together (L to R top to bottom): Lucy Powell, Michelle Donelan, Angus Robertson, Julian Knight, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
04 Jan 2023

With so much churn in government over recent months, it’s been hard to keep track of who's in charge of the UK's cultural policy. Lillian Race and Ruth Hogarth have assembled a guide to the movers and shakers in the Houses of Parliament and the devolved Assemblies.

Union launches campaign against Creative Scotland cuts

22 Dec 2022

Performing arts and entertainment trade union Equity has launched a campaign against the Scottish Government’s decision to cut funding for arts and culture, labelling the move "economically illiterate".

The Scottish Government plans to cut Creative Scotland’s budget by £7m – a 10% decrease – in 2023/24. 

Creative Scotland has responded by saying it will go into its reserves in order to maintain the current levels of financial support it provides arts and culture organisations in Scotland.

Equity is calling for the cut to be reversed and is asking supporters to write to their local Member of Scottish Parliament to raise the issue in parliament.

“Lets be clear, with inflation into double digits, this isn’t a 10% cut to arts funding. It is much worse than that,” National Officer for Equity Adam Adnyana said.

“These cuts should not be used to justify low pay offers, or the end of stable work for performers and creatives. We call on the Scottish Government to revisit these economically illiterate cuts.
 
“And we also give fair warning to employers that we will not allow you to use this as an excuse to degrade terms, conditions, or pay offers. No tactic will be off the table.”

Creative Scotland uses reserves to maintain arts funding levels

billboard outside the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh
19 Dec 2022

Creative Scotland pledges to support arts and culture organisations at current levels for further year despite 10% cut by Scottish Government.

Arts funding in the devolved nations

08 Dec 2022

Arts Professional has been heavily focused on arts funding in England in recent weeks. But how are arts councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland managing their funding budgets? Patrick Jowett has been finding out. 

Fringe performers ‘likely to return’ to festival

07 Dec 2022

A survey commissioned by the Edinburgh Fringe Society has found 70% of performers at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe are likely to bring a show to the festival again in the future. 

The finding forms part of an evaluation survey into this year’s edition, which received more than 10,000 responses including audiences and performers. For performers, the biggest barrier to future participation appears to be accommodation, with 87% of artists agreeing that affordability of accommodation and living costs will be a barrier to future participation in the Fringe.

Concerns were raised around soaring accomodation costs at the time of this year’s festival, with a coalition of Edinburgh's producing venues calling the issue a threat to the festival’s future.

Despite the concerns, 81% of all survey respondents -  including artists, audience members, arts industry professionals, residents and other participants - said they were likely to come to next year’s festival.

Two thirds of visitors would like to see discounted tickets available at next year’s edition, with 91% agreeing a discount should be available for Edinburgh residents.

The festival says the call for discounted tickets is a result of the cost of living crisis, which it says is “likely to extend into 2023”.

Over 2.2million tickets were issued by the end of this year’s edition, with artists from 63 countries performing more than 3,400 shows across the Scottish capital.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said that in a tumultuous year, “it feels miraculous the Fringe happened at all”.

“Improvements can always be made, and the insights and data gained from our recent listening exercise are already being taken forward”, she added.

“We recognise that there are ongoing challenges, and our team are working hard behind the scenes to continue to advocate for our artists, and to support audiences as they plan for Fringe 2023.”

Championing the four nations

Flags of home nations
01 Dec 2022

Creative & Cultural Skills exists to create a fair and skilled cultural sector and is exceptional in its commitment to working equitably across the four nations of the UK, says long-serving former trustee David Anderson.

Parliamentary committees moot alternatives for arts funding

15 Nov 2022

Reports from cultural committees call for UK and Scottish governments to innovate new ways of funding arts and culture through the cost-of-living crisis.

Fresh delay for Creative Scotland's new funding framework

09 Nov 2022

Creative Scotland has announced a further delay to the introduction of its new Future Funding Framework, which is intended to replace its current funding approach for organisations.

Announcing the decision, it blamed financial challenges facing arts organisations, uncertainty around the funding it will get from the Scottish Government and "the realistic prospect of serious budget reductions" for the delay.

Introduction of the multi-year funding programme will be delayed by up to 12 months, with April 2025 the new date given for it being in place.  

It said that instead, a "refreshed Open Fund for organisations" will launch early 2023.  

Creative Scotland said that, "budgets permitting", funding for the current 120 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) will continue at standstill levels for 2023/24 and 2024/25.

It added that there will be "ongoing flexibility" in the use of existing regular funding, plus "a possible short-term RFO supplementary fund using National Lottery resources (funds permitting)".

This supplementary funding for RFOs will be made available "as soon as is feasible" after the Scottish Government confirms Creative Scotland’s budget for 2023/24.

Scottish Government: supporting arts 'incredibly challenging'

26 Oct 2022

Following a spate of closures in recent weeks, the Scottish Government is in talks about how to help struggling arts and culture organisations but warns limitations on its powers makes it difficult to respond.

Fund aims to tackle mental health stigma through art

25 Oct 2022

Creatives in Glasgow are being invited to apply to a funding programme aimed at using art to tackle stigma around mental health.

The Anti-Stigma Arts Fund, from mental health charity See Me Scotland, offers grants between £500 and £5,000 and accepts applications from individuals, groups or organisations.

First launched in 2021, the programme is currently funding six ongoing projects including films, a comic book and programme of therapeutic arts.

See Me's Project Officer for Communities and Priority Groups Maeve Grindall said the first round of funding “showed us the power of the arts and how creativity can tackle mental health stigma and discrimination”.

“We’re excited to see what projects and ideas might come from our second year of funding and placing a real emphasis on projects which aim to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in the communities where it is most prevalent.”

Applications for the second wave of funding are open until 6 November.

Scottish museums and galleries to get energy support

National Museum of Scotland
17 Oct 2022

Museums and galleries in Scotland can apply for funding to help make buildings more energy efficient to counteract rising costs.

Museums 'scaling down activity' to survive

A steam engine at Leeds Industrial Museum
13 Oct 2022

Survey of museums highlights concerns about fixed-term energy contracts ending and the inability of organisations to absorb high energy costs if they persist for the long term.

Edinburgh Film Festival goes out of business

11 Oct 2022

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has been shut down with immediate effect after the charity that runs it, the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI), announced it had ceased trading and called in administrators.

In a statement CMI said the decision was taken as a result of the "perfect storm" of sharply rising costs, in particular energy costs, alongside reduced trade due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. 

CMI said that even with the recently announced energy price cap for businesses, its energy costs were likely to rise by approximately £200,000 over the next 12 months, and with the price cap only in place for six months, planning beyond March 2023 was "highly uncertain".

"The combination, and scale, of these challenges is unprecedented and means that there was no option but to take immediate action," the statement said.

As a result, Filmhouse Cinema and Café Bar in Edinburgh, Edinburgh International Film Festival and Belmont Filmhouse have all ceased trading immediately with administrators appointed for all entities.

Creative Scotland warns of cutbacks

06 Oct 2022

Creative Scotland has warned that a combination of rising costs, falling income and the impact of Brexit means it is likely to have to cut the funding it provides to arts and culture organisations.

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that the quango, which funds venues, arts organisations, events and festivals, has said that maintaining standstill funding is “increasingly unviable” because of soaring additional costs.

Instead, it said it may have to cut back the number of organisations it provides long-term funding to in the future.

In a submission to Holyrood’s culture committee, which is taking evidence on how the Scottish cultural sector is currently funded, Creative Scotland said: “At the time of writing, there is no certainty as regards the Scottish Government budgets that will be allocated to Creative Scotland. The indications are that significant cuts are likely.

"We anticipate we may have to fund fewer organisations on a multi-year basis, but aim to fund them at a more sustainable level."

Edinburgh Fringe seeks feedback to drive improvements

30 Sep 2022

Organisers of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival have launched a major feedback exercise as part of attempts to address issues with the annual event.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is seeking input from artists, audiences, venues, producers, workers, community groups, arts industry delegates, media and those with access needs in order to make improvements for 2023.

Over the next two weeks the festival will be inviting views on a range of topics, from the recent Fringe experience to accommodation costs, barriers to participation, and the work of the Fringe Society. 

Responses to the collection of surveys will provide data the festival says will help it bring together the right people and partnerships to work towards solutions. 

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “This year’s festival was the first step on the road to recovery and we know the biggest challenge is the next three years. 

"It’s important that we gather evidence and case studies from our Fringe participants so that we can ensure the Society is armed with the facts and best equipped to make the case for where improvements can be made in advance of Fringe 2023. 

"We encourage everyone to take time to complete the survey specific to them and to provide as much information as they can.”

Glasgow faith museum reopens after pandemic

21 Sep 2022

A museum in Glasgow that is one of only a few in the world dedicated solely to religion has reopened for the first time since before the pandemic.

St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, named after Glasgow’s patron saint, closed in March 2020 as lockdown restrictions were introduced, but reopened last week.

The museum, which sits beside the Cathedral and Provand’s Lordship, explores the importance of religion in peoples’ lives across the world and across time.

Phillip Mendelsohn, chair of Interfaith Glasgow said: “St Mungo Museum is such an important resource to the faith communities of Glasgow and the wider community. 

“As a city with many refugees and asylum seekers, sharing the story of the many faiths in the city is important in building community cohesion.  

“The importance of St Mungo extends far beyond the city as it is one of the few museums of comparative religion in the world and is unique in the UK.”

King Charles III and the arts

Charles III with crowd of people in the background
13 Sep 2022

A noted fan of art, theatre and opera, Charles III also has a track record of using the arts to transform lives.

Scottish bursaries for artists and craft makers

05 Sep 2022

Visual artists and craft makers in Scotland can now apply for bursaries to put towards their creative development.

The Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (VACMA) offers fixed bursaries of £500 and £750 to artists at all stages of their career to develop their creative practice.

Funded by Creative Scotland, the scheme is managed locally by VACMA partners, and is available in 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, with £130,000 available in total.

Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland Amanda Catto said the funding will enable artists and makers to test new ideas, develop their skills and generate work.

“We are delighted that we have so many partners working with us to deliver the programme which generates such important, long-lasting benefits to the creative people working in their local area.” 

Applications for a first wave of funding will close 25 October, with the deadline for a second round scheduled for 7 February 2023.

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