Your reports Find reports It's a long way to Waverley Gate - how do we talk to Creative Scotland? It's a long way to Waverley Gate - how do we talk to Creative Scotland? Jennie Macfie, 8 September 2012 Under SAC we used to have a lead officer we, as individual promoters, could talk to, ask questions and guidance of - at any time during office hours. If in Edinburgh we could drop by Manor Place and buy her a coffee. Under CS, we're given strictly limited times of telephone access. It feels like we've been shut out. There's a perceived barrier to communication, a feel of the ivory tower. Managed funds meant that projects which didn't quite fit could still be funded. It's probably because CS is still bedding in as an organisation with a real weakness on the admin side, but there's still a feeling it's working towards something better in the long term organisationally. Femi from CS said 1) It's in a state of organisational transition, still 2) They're in the process of rationalising dozens of funding streams into something simpler 3)CS has a different mission statement and aims from SAC - the portfolios are being reduced to 7. There are two main open funds - Quality Arts Projects and Personal Developement, the latter undersubscribed and can be used for project development by an individual artist. CS is moving towards being a messenger of government... Some criticism of FST for being too adversarial towards CS by some, not all, people present. Tags: Creative Scotland, institutions, funding bodies, communication, creative scotland Comments: 3 Jen McGregor, 12 September 2012 Thanks for this Jennie! I'm in Edinburgh, so the physical/geographic barrier is removed. Waverley Gate is ten minutes from my company's rehearsal space. But there's still a massive barrier to communication - specifically, the fact that CS doesn't give the appearance of understanding the arts and artists. I was at their recent ‘open meeting’ about the Theatre Sector Review and it was a really frustrating experience. I wrote it up here: http://jenmcgregor.com/2012/09/04/disheartened-dejected-reflections-on-a-reflection-meeting/ Jen McGregor, 12 September 2012 Thanks for this Jennie! I'm in Edinburgh, so the physical/geographic barrier is removed. Waverley Gate is ten minutes from my company's rehearsal space. But there's still a massive barrier to communication - specifically, the fact that CS doesn't give the appearance of understanding the arts and artists. I was at their recent ‘open meeting’ about the Theatre Sector Review and it was a really frustrating experience. I wrote it up here: http://jenmcgregor.com/2012/09/04/disheartened-dejected-reflections-on-a-reflection-meeting/ Jennie Macfie, 12 September 2012 I saw several comments on Twitter about the Review meeting - which I'd have loved to have gone to, had there been one outside Edinburgh and Glasgow, or sufficient notice to rearrange a very busy summer calendar. It was interesting to read your blog, Jen. I'm actually glad I wasn't there as I object to giving up unpaid time (which, of course, includes 7 hours total travel time to and from the Central Belt) in order to tick a “consultation” box. Theatre has suffered from not being championed by a portfolio manager in the initial, transitional environment of Creative Scotland. It is disappointing that the very well-written and well-thought out corporate plan is taking so long to translate into reality. It is disappointing, also, that the organisation's response to criticism has been so defensive. The theatre sector's criticism has been described in my hearing by CS staff as ‘whingeing and moaning’. This is classically bureaucratic defensiveness which sadly misses the point. To illustrate this - our Highland community depends greatly on tourism; high school pupils are all put through hospitality training. One of the first things they learn is that 94% of customers do not complain - so you must listen to the 6%. Their freely given feedback is vitally important feedback by means of which your business can be improved. The people involved in theatre in Scotland possess, collectively, reputations (national and international), expertise and experience which far outweighs that of the administrati entrusted with dispensing funds to them. Whether you call it funding or investment, Creative Scotland exists in order to channel public money to artists and to ensure the public gets artefacts and experiences in exchange. Its customers are in the first case creative practitioners and in the second, the public. When a significant part of Creative Scotland's customers, i.e. the theatre sector, is sufficiently dissatisfied to complain about the service it is getting, Creative Scotland should listen to that feedback and take it seriously. And if they really wanted to improve their service, they'd invite each sector in for an Open Space meeting lasting at least a day and ideally more. If we work together, we can make CS the best organisation of its kind in the world.