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Film industry must not be neglected in the fall-out from Creative Scotland

THE fact that it has taken two and a half years for Creative Scotland to be judged fatally flawed comes as no surprise, as it was an idea sketched on the proverbial back of a fag packet as a knee-jerk reaction to criticism ("Creative Scotland chief quits after artists' revolt", The Herald, December 4 ).

Seven months after James Boyle delivered his massive Cultural Commission Jack McConnell's Labour-Liberal Democrat administration had not uttered a word. So it was, in desperation to silence the critics, that the then Culture Minister announced that the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen should be merged to become a single entity.

As someone who worked for Scottish Screen, the agency for the support and development of all things screen, I was dismayed. It had taken 25 years of lobbying to achieve the Scottish Film Council (Scottish Screen's predecessor body) with a remit to support the fledging Scottish film industry.

As the industry grew, a more streamlined body was required and Scottish Screen was formed by merging the SFC and three other bodies, covering the locations service, film funding and screen training.

It was a one-stop shop for anything that was needed to support Scotland's screen sector. It worked well, but like most quangos was loved and reviled in equal measure. Then in 2010 came Creative Scotland and all the previous good work was virtually lost. From 43 people working at Scottish Screen to service the screen industry the number working in this area under the new body was reduced to a handful.

When Creative Scotland chairman Sandy Crombie and his board meet later this week to discuss what is to be done to resurrect Creative Scotland, can they please remember the very important part the screen sector plays in Scotland? Just look at the success of our digital industries, our young and established film and television producers and the number of foreign films attracted to shoot here.

At a time when so much communication is through and on screens of all sizes, this is one industry that requires more attention, not less.

Celia Stevenson,

Finnick Glen, Ayr.

AS members of the arts sector in Dumfries and Galloway we wish to add another voice to the national conversation about the arts in Scotland.

Since Creative Scotland was established there has been a fairer geographical distribution of arts funding. We believe that Creative Scotland has successfully balanced competing demands for the development of the arts and creativity across the entire country.

Dumfries and Galloway has long held a reputation for artistic endeavour and achievement and our recent experience of working with Creative Scotland has seen both an increase in confidence in existing work as well as promising new initiatives springing up from the grassroots.

Whilst we accept that there are questions about the delivery of some of Creative Scotland's remit we cannot countenance a return to the bad old days. In the south west we are building new models of working in the arts that involve partnerships with local and national organisations. Creative Scotland has understood and supported these initiatives.

Creative Scotland has backed public, performing, visual and environmental arts, capital projects, festivals, literature and much more. This has helped many artists and makers develop their careers and has done much to further build the reputation and confidence of Dumfries and Galloway as a vibrant cultural centre.

Many of us operating in this region feel that the overall momentum of change is in the right direction and must be maintained.

Dr Jan Hogarth,

Creative director, Wide Open, Gracefield Arts Centre, 28 Edinburgh Road,

Dumfries;

Dame Barbara Kelly,

Chairman, Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust;

Charles Jencks, architectural theorist and land artist,

and 19 others.

Contextual targeting label: 
Arts and Entertainment

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