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Paying artists fairly is listed in Creative Scotland’s new Arts Strategy among a range of measures to raise the profile of artists and the arts in Scotland.

Man painting

Photo credit: byronv2 via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

A new Arts Strategy setting out priorities and policy directions for the work of Creative Scotland is calling for greater commitment to paying artists fairly for their work to enable them to sustain their careers.

The report points out that around 80% of artists in Scotland earn less than £10,000 a year from their artistic work, and two-thirds earn less than £5,000. To improve the sustainability of a career as an artist, Creative Scotland will be exploring ways of improving artists’ pay, living and working conditions, including “making sure that all organisations and projects that receive public funding demonstrate best practice with regard to fair pay.” Its next Regular Funding round, due to be implemented in 2018, will be “orientated to reflect commitments in this strategy”, and an impact analysis will gather feedback on its Open Project Funding for individual artists and producers.

New approaches

Also under the new strategy, the role of arts buildings is to be re-considered. Creative Scotland aims to address concerns about pressures on Local Authority budgets and the costs of maintaining listed buildings. The report notes that alternative models could “support buildings to adapt and to play a greater role in local life, draw on additional funding and income whilst cementing them at the heart of their communities without diluting their core purpose.” This is seen as an approach that could also bring new audiences and participants to the arts and help to “de-mystify arts buildings.”

Among other actions announced in the Strategy are:

  • developing support for international showcasing and working
  • increasing collaboration between professional, amateur and voluntary sectors
  • analysing the practices of Boards and exploring options “to ensure fit-for purpose governance”
  • raising the profile of the value of artists working with the arts sector to build resilience and sustainability

A living document

This is the third of three sector strategies to be produced by Creative Scotland and complements previously published strategies for Screen and the Creative Industries. It develops the ambitions set out in Creative Scotland’s 10 Year Plan, and commits to “refreshing Creative Scotland’s overall approach to funding, development, advocacy and influence.” 

Leonie Bell, Director of Arts and Engagement, described the Strategy as setting out “…how we will work with the cultural sector in Scotland to put art and artists at the heart of society in Scotland.” She said: “This is a living document designed to stimulate debate and challenge and we will use this strategy to help us become more progressive in how we, as a nation support artists and the arts.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said: “I welcome the publication of Creative Scotland’s Arts Strategy with its strong identification of the strengths and opportunities for arts in Scotland but with a sense of realism of the challenges facing individual artists and what can and should be done to support them.”

Liz Hill