New five-year strategies for Crafts and Music in Scotland have been published by the Scottish Arts Council (SAC), and a draft strategy for the Visual Arts has also been launched for consultation, proposing priorities in Scotland over the next five years.
Under the new Crafts Strategy SAC is to continue to use its £430,000 crafts budget for exhibitions, projects and the support of individual practitioners through training, residencies and start-up grants, but in addition, priority will be given to activity which raises the profile of crafts, particularly within the education system. Money is to be allocated to ensure that every schoolchild has the experience of making craftwork, and that a network of galleries across Scotland is equipped to exhibit crafts.Work will also be done to develop low-cost workshops and to create further opportunities for branding, promoting and selling Scottish crafts; and a Scottish crafts website and database is to be created. An interest-free credit scheme will be launched to encourage the purchase of crafts. Applied Arts Scotland, the membership organisation which champions Scottish Crafts and which has in the past been critical of SAC?s Crafts Department, has signalled strong support for the new strategy.?The Department?s approach reflects a heightened awareness of the needs of the industry, and a commitment to targeting its activities towards creating a more coherent approach to development.?

Under its Music Strategy, SAC is to strengthen previously under-funded areas of music such as traditional music, jazz, rock and contemporary classical music, but commitment to sustaining the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will continue. Nod Knowles, Head of Music at SAC said ?Our goal is to create a level playing field for music and support the full diversity of musical life in contemporary Scotland?. Specific objectives for the next five years include the establishment of a core of promoters and producers to strengthen Scotland?s touring infrastructure, and a network of development workers and agencies to improve audience access and opportunities for music-making.

SAC?s draft Visual Arts Strategy, shortly to go out to public consultation across Scotland, includes proposals to develop international opportunities, partly in partnership with the British Council, and specifically through an exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2003, which will then be brought back to Scotland.A two-year programme is planned in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society to encourage collecting by individuals, galleries and corporate institutions, and there is to be support for studios and workshops for artists.Work to develop audiences for the visual arts is to include a review of gallery opening hours and promotional practices, and an audit of artists living and working in Scotland is to take place to inform future policy and funding decisions.