AAS Response to Scottish Parliament Inquiry on Arts Funding

During April 2019 The Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee sought written submissions on the future of funding for the arts in Scotland. The inquiry considered two overarching issues, what would a sustainable model of funding look like and how should that funding be made available to artists.

They wanted to hear from large arts organisations through to solo practitioners and as a membership organisation with knowledge, skills and expertise in Scottish contemporary crafts, run “by makers for makers”, we invited AAS Members and Supporters to tell us their views so we could submit a response to the inquiry.

Thank you to everyone who took time to contact us with their views and experiences. We brought these together with those from the current board of Applied Arts Scotland into our response to the inquiry and highlighted four specific issues for craft and funding.

Falling between the cracks: Craft making is considered a “creative industry” and an “art form”

The challenge for craft funding from Creative Scotland (and elsewhere) is that craft is considered as both an art form and a creative industry within Scottish Government, falling within the policy remit for the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs as well as the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills. The value of craft within these distinct sectors is unclear, and visibility for practitioners and of funding streams is limited within current policy frameworks

A strategy for development of the craft sector is missing

The craft sector currently lacks any defined strategy for development and support of practitioners. No sector-specific research has been conducted by Creative Scotland into the needs of the craft sector, thus decisions around what does and does not get funded are based more on the ability of makers to articulate an idea in a funding application rather than on any strategic overview.

We believe that a healthy craft sector needs a variety of different organisations working collaboratively to the same goals and, crucially, the same strategic overview.

Funding at the intersection of commercial and artistic practice is needed

The lack of clear separation between these two viewpoints that exist in practice for makers often acts as a barrier to accessing existing funding opportunities, where any suggestion of commercial activity renders a maker ineligible for “artistic” funding, and vice versa. Alternative funding models would allow makers to compete on a level playing field with others in the creative sector,

Making career pathways

Beyond grant funding opportunities, an overhaul of funding for training and education schemes to support future development of the craft sector is required, particularly given the demise of specialist craft disciplines (including glass, ceramics and weaving) within art colleges and schools.

Here is the full response from AAS to the inquiry which includes comments from Members AAS Response to CTEEA_ArtsFunding2019

Photograph by Victoria Clare Bernie

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