I READ your article (“Enter stage left: Artists to form pressure group after cash row” & Herald View, The Herald, March 5) with considerable interest.

I recently returned from attending two consecutive events in Aberdeen run by Creative Scotland (CS) and Aberdeen City Council at the launch of the Spectra Festival of Light.

On the journey home I was reflecting with friends and colleagues on what I felt had been stimulating and enjoyable but, at the same, time curious about the two days.

On the positive side, I was fascinated and encouraged by the energy, creativity, and pride of the contributions across all reaches of the creative spectrum.

I noticed also that the word sector was much in evidence. It was also clear that some fundamental issues existed for the sector. The strange thing was that they were not being explored or discussed.

These ranged from aspects of practice to positioning of the sector, funding, collaboration, peer support and much more. On the journey home I quizzed colleagues from the sector on their take on things. It became clear to me, perhaps given my interest in the importance of sector-building, that the expected features of a sectoral culture did not seem to be in place.

There seemed to be no regional or national professional structures or cross-practice networks.

There did not seem to be effective continuous professional development mechanisms that supported or nurtured practitioners.

There was lacking an informal national forum to encourage sharing of good practice (although I understand CS staff do promote this as best they can).

There appear to be no aligned employer or employee organisations, as in other mainstream sectors.

Some of this perhaps, in part, explained the focus of attention being on the lead funding agency, rather than on the professionals within the sector themselves.

Perhaps there exists a need to better organise, contemporise and vocalise the bottom-up views of the sector and put in place structures that make possible all of the above.

I am unsure whether this is what the National Art Forum, being developed through a Facebook group, is proposing.

My worry with your coverage to date is that the above structural fundamentals (and gaps) have become ensnared in a dialogue about funding decisions and the government-led agencies.

Perhaps we need to separate these issues for a moment and look initially and internally at some sector-building.

This is a fascinating sector that has always been important both for its intrinsic value and, increasingly, its vital contribution to the whole placemaking debate and what our towns, cities and communities of the future will look like.

Let’s break it down a bit and not, at this critical stage, have a funding-led debate.

Tony Fitzpatrick,

Burnhead Schoolhouse,