Inverness opens £6m artists' residence

15 Feb 2022

A £6m arts facility in Inverness has opened to its first residents.

Sited in a former Victorian school, construction on The Inverness Creative Academy took four years.

Project developers say the space features affordable accommodation for up to 44 artists and 54 workspaces for creative businesses, social enterprises and charities.

A public space at the venue is expected to be completed later this month.

The project was managed by Wasps, a national provider of creative workspaces across Scotland.

Alleged sex abuse at Scottish music festival

09 Feb 2022

Female artists working on the Celtic Connections festival have claimed they were pressured into having sex in return for bookings.

Five women say they were assaulted or feared losing opportunities to perform if they spoke out.

The festival was awarded a share of the Scottish Government's £2m Festivals Expo Fund on Tuesday (February 8).

A Celtic Connections spokesperson said its Bit Collective is helping individuals who have faced harassment to come forward.

"Our main objective is for everyone to create and enjoy world class culture experiences in a safe and comfortable setting".

Edinburgh commits to £4.7m culture funding

07 Feb 2022

Edinburgh has committed to £4.7m of culture funding for 2022/23, £2m of it for Edinburgh International Festival.

Recognising the difficulties posed by Covid-19, the City of Edinburgh Council has extended its three-year funding agreement to four years. 

The Edinburgh Multicultural Festival, launched three years ago, has been added to the council's list of strategic partners, putting it on a more stable footing. It will receive £43,000. 

The agreement also includes support for the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival (£100,000), Imaginate children's festival (£100,000), Edinburgh International Book Festival (£50,000), and Edinburgh Art Festival (£20,000).

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said cultural organisations responded to the pandemic "with determination and innovation" and reaffirmed the council's commitment to supporting the sector.

 

Scots Culture Secretary slates BBC licence fee freeze

02 Feb 2022

Scotland’s Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has voiced "profound concern" over the UK Government’s decision to freeze the BBC licence fee for the next two years.

In a letter addressed to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Robertson says the decision appears to be an attempt to undermine and threaten public service broadcasting, which the Scottish Government "wholeheartedly supports".

Robertson questioned whether the £285m shortfall the BBC expects to incur over the next six years will affect its investment in Scotland.

He writes: “Funded public service broadcasting has an integral role in our creative economy and we want to see further progress and a greater share of that investment here in Scotland, not regression.”

Three-year inquiry into GSA fire inconclusive

25 Jan 2022

A three-year investigation into a fire at Glasgow School of Art has given no answers.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s final report says the cause of the June 2018 fire remains “undetermined” due to extensive damage and the destruction of evidence.

At the time of the blaze, the Mackintosh building was undergoing a £35m restoration project, having already been damaged in another fire in May 2014.

In a joint statement, the school's Director Penny MacBeth and interim chair Kirsten Bennie expressed frustration the fire's cause was not identified. 

They said the school will learn from the report for future construction projects, including the Mackintosh's reinstatement.

Indoor restrictions to be lifted in Scotland

19 Jan 2022

Scotland will ease its Covid restrictions from Monday (January 24), removing limits on attendance at indoor events.

Nightclubs can reopen from the same date, coinciding with the end of social distancing requirements.

Scotland's Covid certifiaction scheme will be only be mandatory for entry to events of over 1,000 people. 

Organisers must check proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test for whichever is lower of 1,000 people or half an event's attendees. 

The Scottish Government says it stopped short of certifiaction checks at all venues because of the "significant fall" in Covid cases.

Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan said the restrictions, announced before Christmas, had effectively shut down the majority of theatres in Scotland. 

"It will be a huge relief to theatres, artists and audiences that they will soon be able to reopen."

SWG3 to build £1.5m artist studio

17 Jan 2022

Glasgow event space SWG3 is building a £1.5m artist studio on its premises.

The new Yard Works premises will house artists, youth organisations and community groups. It marks the latest stage of a £7.1m development project, aiming to reshape the venue into a "world-class cultural destination".

The project’s first phase of public access works is due to be completed this month.

Founder and Managing Director Andrew Fleming-Brown says the new studio space will help SWG3 to grow its Yard Works programming.

“It will not just benefit the area culturally, but also have wider social and economic impact through the community.”

£8m freelancers' fund to open in Scotland

05 Jan 2022

The cover for cancelled work is part of £65m in support for the arts announced in recent weeks. What's available in the rest of the UK?

Arts park and centre planned for Falkirk

21 Dec 2021

Falkirk is set to receive a “regionally significant” arts centre as part of investment zone funding.

The £80m Falkirk Growth Deal, delivered by the UK and Scottish governments, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals, will develop eleven projects across Falkirk and Grangemouth.

£3m is earmarked for a National Outdoor Art Park.

The development is expected to create up to 2,000 jobs and £1bn worth of future investment.

"The deal will help regenerate town centres, create new cultural attractions and reskill the workforce," Scotland’s Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said.

Scotland awaits £31m in emergency arts funding

16 Dec 2021

The country is yet to receive most of its Culture Recovery Fund allocation from May, the Culture Minister has claimed, as restrictions tighten.

Green light for £75m Edinburgh concert hall

25 Nov 2021

Plans for Edinburgh's first new concert hall in a century have been approved.

Local councillors voted on Wednesday (November 24) in favour of the £75m project to be sited between St Andrew's Square and the St James Quarter.

Due to open in 2026, the venue will host music of all kinds as well as spoken word events and act as the new home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Previous plans were scuppered by a legal challenge from developers of a nearby hotel complex. 

Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government, UK Government, and American philanthropist Carol Grigor are funding the project.

Scotland adds negative tests to passport scheme

24 Nov 2021

Unvaccinated people will be able to attend venues in Scotland after negative test results were added to its certification scheme.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday (November 23) that the system for nightclubs and large unseated cultural events will not be extended to theatres, cinemas and hospitality venues to the relief of industry organisations.

From December 6, people can provide a negative lateral flow test result to enter venues.

"The new rule will also, we hope, encourage the greater use of regular lateral flow testing and it will still meet our aim of reducing the risk of transmission, within higher risk venues," Sturgeon said.

Scotland’s Creative Learning Plan leans into wellbeing

pupils in an arts class
18 Nov 2021

Children’s mental health will be a “very high priority” under a new blueprint for cross-curriculum creativity.

Scotland gives libraries £1.25m lifeline

16 Nov 2021

Twenty-three library projects across Scotland will receive a share of the £1.25m Public Library Covid Relief Fund.

The Scottish Government has awarded funding to local authorities to reopen libraries that closed during the pandemic, start wellbeing cafes and facilitate home library services.

The largest grant of £448,000 will help reopen five Glasgow libraries and increase opening hours across the city.

Scotland's Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said the funding reflects the Government's goal of driving cultural recovery through its communities.

"This fund will see the provision of community-centred projects aimed at, among other things, reducing social isolation, promoting mental wellbeing and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap."

Scotland opens £75k fund for creative caregivers

03 Nov 2021

Creative Scotland has opened applications to its Radical Care Fund, a £75,000 project aiming to improve working conditions for creatives with caregiving responsibilities.

Grants of between £3,000 and £15,000 are available to creative organisations and businesses looking to support these creatives.

Creative Scotland’s Ashley Smith-Hammond says the fund will address challenges including unsocial working hours, fluctuating patterns of work and higher than average levels of freelancing.

“All of these elements combine to create barriers for people working in the arts, screen and creative industries to manage work and care responsibilities. We hope that this fund will help to rethink fair working systems and improve peoples’ work/life balance.” 

Applications close on 26 November, with between five and fifteen projects to be chosen for funding in the week commencing 20 December.

Universities return looted bronzes to Nigeria

01 Nov 2021

Two universities have become the first UK institutions to return Benin bronze artifacts to Nigeria.

Cambridge University returned a bronze cockerel, known as the Okukur, looted by British colonial forces in 1897 and given to the University’s Jesus College in 1905. The decision to return the bronze piece was made in 2019 following student protests.  

"It’s massively significant. It’s a momentous occasion," said Jesus College Master Sonita Alleyne.

Aberdeen University has followed suit, after a panel unanimously decided to return a looted sculpture depicting Oba (King) of Benin to Nigeria on Thursday (October 28).

Oba of Benin Omo N'Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Ewuare II thanked Aberdeen University for the "noble act".

"We hope that other institutions worldwide will see the injustice when they insist on holding on to items which in fact should be a reminder to them of the great injustice that was inflicted on a people so far away and so long ago."

Vaccine passports cause drop in attendance 

28 Oct 2021

DCMS reportedly believes certification would drive live events attendees to pubs and “dire consequences” are predicted if the scheme continues in Scotland.

Scotland to stage cultural events alongside COP26

26 Oct 2021

Details of the cultural events set to mark COP26 across Scotland have been confirmed.

Scotland's five national performing arts companies are all organising events, with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra scheduled to welcome delagates to Glasgow on November 1.

Creative Carbon Scotland has announced seven new Climate Beacons hubs, a collaborative project between local climate change, environmental, arts, heritage and cultural organisations.

Museums and Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and the Climate Heritage Network have joined forces on a website, Culture at COP,  that showcases cultural activities around the conference.

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth says the sector has a major role to play in encouraging debate around environmental issues.

"COP26 in Glasgow is a once in a lifetime event and our cultural organisations have risen to the occasion by programming an impressive line-up of live and online activities."

Printmakers to lead European refugee arts project

26 Oct 2021

A Europe-wide project for refugee artists has opened for applications.

In from the Margins offers artists from refugee and migrant backgrounds residencies at one of five print studios across Europe.

Funded by Creative Europe, the €178,000 project will support 30 artists and culminate in a group exhibition in Edinburgh in spring 2023.

Edinburgh Printmakers will lead the programme, helping artists network, engage with local communities and develop their practice.

“The emphasis of the project is to platform artists, bringing them from the margins to the heart of mainstream cultural programming,” Edinburgh Printmakers CEO Janet Archer said.

Applications are open until November 12, with residencies scheduled to start in January.

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.

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