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Arts quango under attack over all-male awards panel

An awards ceremony planned by Scotland's crisis-hit national art funding body has been attacked for its failure to include any female judges.

Author Janice Galloway led criticism of Creative Scotland's all-male judging panel for its black tie awards ceremony, which is to take place at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow on December 13.

Galloway, who will be abroad and unable to attend despite being short-listed for one of the prizes, said the all-male panel was an "unusual oversight". Other artists criticised the decision on Twitter.

The Creative Scotland Gala Awards Ceremony has already been attacked over the selling of corporate tickets at £100-a-head. The new row comes at the end of what was supposed to be a celebratory year for the arts body. Instead, it has been lambasted by hundreds of artists in a public letter, is undertaking two internal reviews, and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has repeatedly called for it to improve and reform.

Earlier this year, Galloway said "something is wrong at the heart of Creative Scotland" after being asked to re-write her acceptance text on winning the £30,000 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award for her acclaimed memoir All Made Up.

Last night, she said she had been given little information about the award she has been shortlisted for.

She said: "It is usual protocol to inform people what they've been listed for, why and by whom. It is usual protocol to give a deal of information about the awards and what they represent. I know nothing about them or how the judges were selected. It seems an unusual oversight if there are no women on the panel."

Katrina Brown, director of the Common Guild gallery in Glasgow, and a former judge of the Turner Prize, said: "I think it is really surprising and highly disappointing that they do not have a balanced panel of people. There's a lot of talented women in all the arts in Scotland who they could have asked."

Hannah McGill, former director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival noted on Twitter: "Juries have to be diverse [and] you damn well don't give up trying until they are."

Playwright Linda McLean said: "Who put this team together? Seriously, do we need a campaign for women in the arts, again?"

It is understood the body had found it difficult to find judges for the awards, given the criticism it has received in recent months.

A Creative Scotland spokeswoman said: "A broad range of arts, culture and media professionals were invited to form part of the judging panel.

"Invites were extended to those with specialist areas of knowledge across the cultural and media sector.

"Creative Scotland is committed to putting equality at the heart of its activity."

She added: "Female judges were selected but were unable to take part."

The spokeswoman added that all artists shortlisted for awards will be given three free tickets for the ceremony and can purchase more with a 20% reduction.

The judging panel comprises: Iain Munro, director of creative development at Creative Scotland, Andrew Lockyer, executive producer of The Culture Show and The Review Show for the BBC, Sanjeev Kohli, the writer, actor and comedian, poet Tom Pow, Aaron Shorr, of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Allan Rennie, editor of the Daily Record and Paul English, the newspaper's arts and entertainment writer.

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