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Time for new beginning after Andrews fall on their swords

It was an unfortunate coincidence (but probably no more) that the celebration of St Andrew's Day this year was bracketed by the resignations of the coach of the national rugby team and that of the chief executive of Creative Scotland – both Andrews and (hopefully also coincidentally) neither Scots.

To stretch the parallel, you also do not have to look far to find people who will say that both men were let down. Robinson by his players and the long-term effects of the running of the game by the SRU; and Dixon ... ?

In fact the defence of Creative Scotland – continued by a letter in Wednesday's Herald from a long list of those working in the arts in Dumfries and Galloway declaring unequivocal enthusiasm for the support they have had from the new quango – was already well under way before Andrew Dixon fell on his sword. In an essay in the Sunday Herald at the end of November, Celtic Connections artistic director Donald Shaw wrote "the arts body has been soaking up the punches from artists who are unhappy with some of its policies. However, very few of those detractors are from the field of music making."

In last week's interview with Simon Thoumire in Herald Arts, Rob Adams wrote "contrary to the general mood of the arts community in Scotland, Thoumire has nothing but praise for Creative Scotland". I could add to those voices from pop and rock music who are hugely appreciative of the way CS has underwritten the recording and release of albums and supported the new Scottish Album of the Year award.

It is inevitable that an organisation that got some things right and, as Ian Bell pointed out, was handed a huge remit of contradictory responsibilities, would be taken to task for the things it got wrong, but why did the groundswell of opinion against Dixon and his organisation build so swiftly and inexorably?

The first thing to note is that Shaw and Thoumire's experience does not extend to all of those concerned with making what we might call "art" music – chamber ensembles such as the Hebrides and Dunedin Consort or the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, who found themselves in a similar position to theatre companies switched to project funding. It would not be inaccurate to note that Creative Scotland seemed to have more enthusiasm for work that commanded a larger audience, and – even more worryingly – for promoting its own brand rather than work it funded, or "invested in", to use its own jargon.

But perhaps, after its absurd gestation period, that was inevitable, and when areas such as Dumfries and Galloway appreciate their recognition as "Creative Places" that opinion should be heeded by those in Scotland's Central Belt. The sanest voices in the online commenting that followed the announcement of Dixon's departure were those pointing out that hard work should follow what must be a new beginning, not any sort of an end.

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