A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

CS Open Project Awards for Literature: Sept 2018

£919,218 of National Lottery Funding has been awarded to 44 recipients through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund.

Awards of between £1,000 and £100,000 were made in September 2018, supporting individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following who received funding in September 2018 for Literature:

Funding will enable Glasgow-based author Oliver Langmead to undertake a writer’s residency at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne.

Floris Books’ 2019 publication programme will include the Kelpies imprint of Scottish books for children from ages 1 to 16.

For funding information across the cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

October 31, 2018

CS Open Project Funding for Literature: Aug 2018

£837,000 of National Lottery Funding has been awarded through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund to 47 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations receiving funding in August 2018 for Literature:

Open Book have received funding towards the Open Book Community Project – a large-scale shared reading programme. Open Book will work with existing and new partners to create new year-round programmes designed to improve access to literature and develop a sense of community through shared reading and creative writing.

Publishers Polygon have received funding to expand their poetry programme. The programme will include the publication classic, modern and contemporary poetry anthologies of Scotland. The programme will also include the publication and promotion of new writers and to bring lost classics back into print.

Publisher 404 Ink received funding towards their 2018-19 publishing schedule to enable them to continue to publish exciting and vital voices in Scotland, including Chris McQueer and Nadine Aisha Jassat, create new opportunities for a network of local freelancers, and grow the company to a sustainable level to better guarantee continued success.

NessBookFest 2018 (4-7 October) will use their funding to support this year’s programme, which includes showcasing the home-grown talent of Inverness alongside well-established writers from further afield.

Ness Book Fest said: “We’re very excited to be holding our third NessBookFest in Inverness next week (4-7 Oct). Support from our funders has enabled an even bigger and better free programme than before. We’re delighted to be showcasing local emerging talent alongside writers such as Ali Smith and Stuart MacBride. We also have a great schools and family programme, as well as poetry, history, workshops, literary walking and cycling tours and much more.”

For funding information across the cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

October 1, 2018

CS Open Project Funding for Literature: July 2018

£792,000 of National Lottery Funding was awarded last month through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund; supporting 36 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in July 2018 for Literature:

Writer Elaine Gallagher has received funding to develop a new solo performance piece, Speak for Ourselves, chronicling and celebrating Scotland’s trans and non-binary community.

Scotland’s Transatlantic Poetry Journal Dark Horse Magazine and Northwords Now, which showcases writing from across the north of Scotland have received funding to support their next editions.

Independent comic creator and author Kathryn Briggs received funding to exhibit her work at MCM Manchester Comic Con! Briggs has been shortlisted for Best Graphic Novel and Best Up and Coming Talent at the Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance Awards – both for Magpie.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

August 31, 2018

CS Open Project Funding for Literature: June 2018

Nearly £1million of National Lottery Funding has been awarded through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding in June 2018.

£903,556 of National Lottery Funding has been awarded through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding to 42 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in June 2018 for Literature:

The Saltire Society received funding towards the 2018 Saltire Literary Awards. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Scottish First Book of the Year. The Award has seen winners such as Ali Smith, AL Kennedy, Michel Faber and Louise Welsh going on to be central players in the Scottish international literary landscape.

Award-winning poet/performer Jenny Lindsay of Flint & Pitch receives funding towards This Script – a new stage show, poetry collection and spoken word project. This Script tackles sex, gender, feminism and the online culture wars with Lindsay’s trademark humour, openness and lyrical dexterity.

Annual crime writing festival Bute Noir in Rothesay received funding toward their 2018 programme (3-5 Aug). This year’s programme includes acclaimed authors Chris Brookmyre, Helen FitzGerald and Graeme Macrae Burnet.

Portobello Book Festival received funding towards Postcards from Portobello – a publication marking their 10th anniversary. The collection contains original writing from approximately 25 authors with a strong connection to Portobello.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

July 31, 2018

CS Open Project Funding for Literature: May 2018

£1.2million of National Lottery Funding has been awarded through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding in May 2018.

54 recipients received between £1,457 and £90,000, supporting individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in May 2018 for Literature:

Bloody Scotland, the Caledonian Crime Writing Festival (21-23 September 2018) has received funding towards its programme. The annual festival furthers the development of Scottish crime writing by bringing together leading Scottish and international writers, showcasing debut voices, encouraging new writing and introducing the best of the genre to audiences and readers.

Glasgow-based publisher Vagabond Voices has received funding towards its 2018-19 publishing programme. This will include a series of books over a wide range of activities, to help authors of innovative and non-genre works to start or re-establish their literary careers.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

June 29, 2018

New Scots Scriever appointed

Dr Michael Dempster has been named as the successful Scots Scriever and begins his two-year residency at the National Library of Scotland on 27 June 2018.

Dr Michael Dempster. From NLS website.

Growing up speaking Scots at home, Dr Dempster has made the Scots language a prominent feature of his academic and artistic work. He has written librettos and graphic novels in Scots, explored the use of Scots with sufferers of dementia within the NHS, and worked with schools and community groups to tackle stigma and prejudice surrounding the Scots language.

A prominent linguist, Dempster undertook a Psychology PhD at Glasgow University, researching the processing of rhythmical signals critical to language and music. Dempster has coached film industry professionals in use of the language, produced award-winning podcasts, written comedy sketches performed across the Edinburgh Fringe and TV pilots for the BBC and Comedy Unit and delivered the first ever TED talk in Scots.

Upcoming works include a Scots-Emoji dictionary and ‘Mind yer Language’ — a comprehensive guide to Scots.

He said: ‘A’m that delichtit tae get appyntit Scots Scriever. Whit an honour!

‘Oor Scots language, an wir Scots speakin communitie, is that important tae baith wirsels an tae the warld thit fir me tae hae this opportunitie tae expand ma wirk wi the support o the National Library of Scotland, Creative Scotland an the Scottish Buik Trust is a dream come true.

‘A’v that monie writin projects A’m luikkin forret tae gettin oot there an A luik forret tae reachin oot tae Scots speakers tae help them engage wi their ain language an the Scots collections we hae fae aw ower the kintra. Scrievin Scots? Hou no gie it a wee shot yersel?”

National Librarian Dr John Scally said:

‘Michael Dempster clearly has a passion for the Scots language. He has a strong artistic track record across a range of mediums, an academic background in linguistics, and he already promotes the language in everything he does. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with in this residency.’

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said:

‘We are delighted to be able to appoint a new Scots Scriever during what is an exciting time for Scots. With more than 1.5 million people identifying as Scots speakers via the most recent census, with the upcoming UN Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019 and with development work in Scots gaining traction around the country, we are confident the Scriever will play an active and prominent role in this upcoming period of development.

‘The appointment of Michael Dempster to the role I believe will give us the best possible chance of taking advantage of these unique circumstances. He has a vision for Scots which stretches across different parts of society, is contemporary and dynamic and is rooted in his own artistic and academic practice.

‘We look forward enormously to working with Michael, with the National Library and with our partners in Scots development around the country in this exciting new phase of the scriever project.’

Scottish Book Trust Director of Programme Amina Shah said:

‘Michael’s knowledge of the collections at the National Library, coupled with his academic background and sheer passion for Scots, make him an exciting choice for this residency. He is committed to Scots as a living language and promotes its use and benefits, not only in literature but in all aspects of public life. G’aun yerself, Michael.’

Background

Dr Michael Dempster’s appointment will run from July 2018–2020, which spans the UN Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019.

A joint initiative between the National Library and Creative Scotland, the Scriever role is designed to produce original creative work in Scots, its variants and dialects, across any art-form, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country and amongst all parts of the population.

Creative Scotland published its first Scots Language Policy in June 2015, in which the role of Scots Scriever was identified. The policy underlined the organisation’s commitment to supporting the language through its own work and the work that it funds across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Hamish MacDonald was appointed as the inaugural Scots Scriever in August 2015 and completed his residency at the National Library of Scotland in September 2017. MacDonald developed the ‘Wee Windaes’ website which captures the breadth and variety of Scots, in all its variants and dialects, from its beginnings to the present day.

Reproduced from the NLS media release.

June 28, 2018

PS/EIBF: Scottish Books International Manager

Books, writing, publishing and festivals

Publishing Scotland (PS) in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) is seeking an exceptional Manager who can drive forward an innovative programme, developing the international ambition and impact of the books and literature sector in Scotland. The new role will be for a fixed-term contract of eighteen months with the potential to extend.

The successful applicant will be an excellent and persuasive communicator with significant experience of strategic development and partnership working. The Manager will join passionate and dynamic teams across the literature and books sector, committed to bringing the best of literature, writing, publishing and events to an international audience.

This role will include scoping and developing a strategic plan for international activity, identifying and developing opportunities for increased visibility, co-ordinating marketing work from the sector, identifying and implementing potential income sources, preparing funding applications, and building relationships with key partners here and overseas.

Job Title: Scottish Books International Manager

Reports to: Publishing Scotland CEO and steering group

Fee: £21,000 per annum (equivalent to £35,000 per annum, pro-rata to 3 days per week)

Working hours: 24 hours per week

Terms: Freelance 18 months’ fixed-term contract, with potential to extend

Location: Central Edinburgh at the offices of PS

Main purpose of role: Developing, co-ordinating and communicating a new joint service on behalf of the books and literature sector

 

Background

Following a Review of the Literature and Publishing sector undertaken by consultants on behalf of Creative Scotland, which recommended that “Creative Scotland and leading literature institutions and publishers convene a summit for laying the groundwork for a strategic and co-ordinated international presence”, a number of bodies in the sector, working closely with Literature Alliance Scotland, have decided to set up a post dedicated to the international promotion of books, writers, festivals and organisations. PS and EIBF have brought together a steering group, who will advise and oversee the service.

About the organisations

Publishing Scotland is the network, trade and development body for the book publishing sector in Scotland. Formed in 1974, it is a membership body with over 100 members, in two categories, publisher and network. It aims to support publishers and the wider sector on a national and international level.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, a non-profit making organisation, is a distinctive international showcase celebrating the written word, literature and ideas. It brings around 950 leading and emerging international, British and Scottish authors and thinkers together each August to inspire each other and audiences in an extensive programme of over 900 public events for people of all ages.

 

Key duties and responsibilities

Work with partners on the development and delivery of a co-ordinated, international presence for Scottish writing, publishing, festivals and organisations, and more specifically –

  1. Develop a strategy for the Scottish book sector’s international profile, working closely with senior management of both host organisations and the steering group
  2. Research and develop new income streams and identify overseas partners opportunities
  3. Work with a range of partners, organisations and bodies in Scotland and overseas to enhance the current work being done in the sector
  4. Event delivery, including attendance and participation at national and international events
  5. Communicate, using a variety of methods, to raise the international profile of the sector
  6. Work closely with the teams of PS and EIBF to help ensure successful delivery of an overall programme
  7. Maintain records and produce reports indicating work in progress, planned work and reporting on the financial status of projects

Person specification

Successful candidates will possess the following:

  1. Considerable experience of strategic planning and development
  2. Demonstrable knowledge and passion for the literature or arts sector, including the Scottish literature and publishing scene
  3. Experience developing and maximizing international partnerships
  4. Significant experience of managing relationships with diverse stakeholders
  5. Experience of developing and delivering marketing activity
  6. Event management experience
  7. Experience of project/programme evaluation and reporting to stakeholders

 

Additional qualities will include:
  1. Influencing and negotiation skills
  2. Clear, confident and persuasive oral communication skills, including public presentation, and the ability to adapt to the needs of different audiences
  3. Clear, concise and persuasive written communication skills, able to adapt to needs of different stakeholders
  4. Commercial acumen
  5. Strong organizational skills

 

Terms and conditions

The post will have access to a desk at the central Edinburgh office of Publishing Scotland and the possibility of hot desking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival offices during the autumn and winter months. The role is offered as a freelance contract and the post holder will be fully responsible for their own tax including any National Insurance contributions.

Publishing Scotland and Edinburgh International Book Festival are committed to being as accessible as possible to customers, participants and staff. If you have any specific access requirements or concerns, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Edinburgh International Book Festival and Publishing Scotland are equal opportunities employers and Edinburgh International Book Festival is an Investor in People.

This job description is also available as a PDF document to download.

 

How to apply

Please send a copy of your CV and an application letter outlining your suitability for the post to marion.sinclair@publishingscotland.org. You may include any other information to support your application.

 

Closing date for applications: Thursday 12th July 2018

Interviews: Monday 30th July 2018

This post is supported by funding from Creative Scotland. 

June 26, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: April 2018

Last month £650,000 of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 35 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in March 2018 for Literature:

Artist collective Recollective have received funding to create a publication charting untold stories of Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom. The Barrowland: Music, Memory, History (working title) will feature photography, creative writing, graphic art and multimedia brought together in collaboration with the venue, the east end community that surrounds it, gig-goers, dancers and musicians.

Poet Victoria McNulty has received funding to embark on a five-date pilot tour of solo theatre show Confessionals to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Belfast and London. Combining contemporary spoken word and traditional theatre Confessionals is a coming of age character piece featuring music from Abi Normal; produced by Sonnet Youth (Kevin Gilday and Cat Hepburn) in partnership with the Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

May 31, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: March 2018

Last month £1.2million of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 44 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. Over £1.1million of these awards has been awarded through National Lottery Funding, with awards ranging from £1,094 to £150,000.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in March 2018 for Literature:

The Borders Book Festival (14-17 June), and Booked! (8-19 May), West Dunbartonshire’s annual celebration of the written and spoken word, have received funding towards their 2018 programmes.

Edinburgh-based Charco Press have received funding to deliver the first part of its 2018 publishing programme consisting of three books by contemporary award-winning Latin American authors who have never before been published in English.

Cartoonist and artist Kate Charlesworth has received funding to support the development of a new graphic novel.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

May 1, 2018

LAS submission to Culture Committee

Following the Call for Views from the Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations, we submitted the following written response at the end of March 2018.

The Committee is due to share all written responses on the website from Wednesday 18 April 2018.

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is the collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages. We are a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. As Scotland’s largest network for literature and languages, with more than 30 member organisations, we bring together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

Last week we surveyed our membership anonymously for their views on Creative Scotland funding. We asked them to share the survey among their own networks and obtained 34 responses, which have informed this submission.

Respondents are writers, poets and people who work in publishing, festivals, teaching, charities and organisations involved with the literature, publishing and languages sector. They are based across Scotland, from the Outer Hebrides to Aberdeen and from Shetland to Wigtown.

Of the 121 organisations in the 2018-21 Regular Funding Network, nine represent the literature, languages and publishing sector. They were awarded just over £7m of the total RFO budget of £101.6m.

 

The extent to which Regular Funding supports the arts and creative organisations throughout Scotland

More than half of respondents (53%) consider Regular Funding to support the arts and creative organisations throughout Scotland ‘a great deal’, or ‘a lot’ (19%) while 22% say ‘a moderate amount’ and 6% ‘a little’.

The impact of awards for Regular Funding on other funding streams

This was a comment-only question. Key comments include:

  • With shrinking budgets and more money for RFOs, other funds such as Open Project Funding will become even more competitive with longer waiting times thereby inhibiting support for innovative work from individual artists and smaller organisations, especially those outwith the central belt.
  • Regular Funding offers stability and can open access to other match- or part-funding resources. However, ittakes up a large share of the total arts budget and can lead to unsuccessful bid organisations turning to Open Project Funding, involving more time spent on form-filling and rendering it even more oversubscribed.
  • Open Project Funding needs to be redesigned to accommodate the wide variety of applicants, from large organisations to individual writers and artists.
  • With so much focus placed on Regular Funding, the possibility of other funding sources being sustainable for an organisation’s future can often be ignored.
  • The exclusion of RFOs from applying for Open Project Funding could be perceived as an inhibitor of spontaneity over the three-year funding deal. Any deviation from the three-year programme of work would need to be in agreement with the organisation’s lead officer at CS and would mean that something else on the programme would need to give to allow a new initiative a chance.  

Other relevant issues

6% of respondents said there were errors and 3% said there were speculations in their RFO assessment. Another respondent stated that in addition to errors there were also assumptions and contradictions in their RFO assessment. 6% said there were no errors, assumptions or speculations in their RFO assessment. 65% of respondents didn’t apply for RFO.

47% of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement ‘I am concerned that the recent RFO process introduced major strategic change at a late stage in the process without consultation.’

Link strategies to funding decisions

97% agree or strongly agree that there should be a clear link between Creative Scotland’s strategies and its funding decisions (assuming the strategies are sound).

Key comments:

  • Clear, well-communicated strategies are a must for organisations distributing public money. This also ensures equitable treatment of those applying for funds and makes it clear why applications were not successful.
  • However, there should be caution around strategies becoming agendas, and essentially reducing those strategies to a box-ticking exercise as part of the application process.
  • A policy of positive discrimination was suggested in order to contribute to the revitalisation of Scotland’s languages among all art forms and to adequately represent diversity.

 Funding flexibility

70% of respondents agree or strongly agree that there needs to be more flexibility in Creative Scotland’s funding routes and timescales to meet different needs within the sector.

Key comments:

  • Review all existing funding routes and strategic development routes, funding purposes, application processes (one form does not fit all), and the language used to make them more artist- and organisation-friendly, less competitive, and to encourage a more stable sector that is able to plan ahead (even if organisations are not RFOs).
  • Flexibility should be supported by transparency and accessibility.
  • A positive comment about the OpenProject Fund application was that it was exceptional in the timescales and with the help and advice offered during the application process.
  • Suggestions were put forward for a rolling programme for Regular Funding rather than once every three years. This would help with CS cash-flow and relieve the intense pressure in assessing applications, affording more time to better understand organisations being assessed, to fact-check and source evidence thereby reducing assumptions and errors. 

Decision-making and peer review

64% strongly agree or agree that decision-making should include appropriate peer review.

Key comments:

  • Peer review would empower artists by enabling the years of experience within the sector to reflect and influence its future.
  • Respondents questioned how to define ‘appropriate’ peer review and cautioned of the additional cost peer review is likely to entail and the potentially onerous impact on funding, timescales as well as the challenge of finding unbiased peers representing Scotland-wide, not just the central belt.
  • Alternative suggestions are for consultation with artists in setting criteria for funding and for strong formal and informal opportunities for feedback on decisions, or a panel of appropriate (non-CS) peer reviewers.
  • Other comments noted the strong backgrounds of CS officers in their art forms and highlighted the need for CS to rebuild trust and confidence so their expertise is respected and they can stand by decisions, which are rigorous and evidence-based.

Future priorities

Members were asked what Creative Scotland’s top priorities should be for the future as a comment-only question. The range of views have been prioritised below by volume.

  • Review all funding streams with input from artists and those working in the sector
  • Advocate for the importance of Scotland’s cultural sector by demonstrating its value
  • Be transparent in funding, decision-making and communications
  • Increase equitable access to culture
  • Equity in funding organisations and individual artists, and work Scotland-wide not just Central Belt.

 

April 17, 2018

Event – FUTURE PROOF: How does the author fit into today’s publishing landscape?

Authors: join Creative Scotland and a host of publishing professionals for an afternoon of panels, talks and discussions, designed to inform and provoke debate around the opportunities and challenges currently facing writers at all stages of their career – including alternative routes to publication and the potential offered through new distribution models and digital channels.

  • Update yourself on both the traditional and new models of book distribution
  • Learn more about self-publishing models
  • Understand the viability of e-book publishing

Featured speakers will include Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland, Davinder Bedi of Booksource, Laura Jones of 404 Ink, self-published author Margaret Skea and Peter Urpeth of Emergents.

DATE: Monday 12 March 2018

TIME: 12.45-4.30pm

VENUE: Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA

FREE but ticketed: Book via Eventbrite

 

Afternoon Agenda

12:45 – Welcome, registration & coffee

13:00 – PANEL: Something Old, Something New: Approaches to Book Distribution

With Marion Sinclair (Publishing Scotland), Davinder Bedi (Booksource), Laura Jones (404 Ink)

14:30 – Comfort Break

15:00 – TALKS:

  • The Road Less Travelled with Peter Urpeth, Emergents
  • Hybrid/Self-publishing and E-books, Margaret Skea, author

Q&A

16:30 – Event close

February 23, 2018

Creative Scotland opening remarks to Culture Committee (22 February 2018)

Below are the opening remarks from Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland at today’s evidence session to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee: “Sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland”

Watch the recording of the session here.

Good morning everyone and thank you to the Committee for inviting us to give evidence this morning.

We’re here to talk about sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland.

Creative Scotland’s most significant means by which we provide this is via three-year Regular Funding. Our first round spanned 2015-18 and our guidance for the second round 2018-21 was published in November 2016. The process and guidance for Regular Funding was tested with sector representatives who worked with us to test them prior to us going live.

I want to start by saying I’m profoundly sorry that the delivery of this process has been such a negative one for many. We can’t let that happen again. My role as Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, is to take ultimate responsibility for everything that Creative Scotland does. I am currently in dialogue with everyone involved at every level in the process and I will make sure we learn from this moment and resolve all outstanding issues fairly and openly.

I’d like to offer some context in which I hope the committee will find helpful.

Regular Funding is an open application process, this time we had 184 applications and have funded 121. Overall we have committed to spending £33.9m on Regular Funding, £1m more a year than previously. Due to a £6.6m uplift from the Scottish Government for which we are very grateful, Regular Funding is no longer reliant on the National Lottery. We previously utilised £6m of National Lottery funding to regularly fund organisations.

Many of you are aware that between September and December last year, like other public bodies, we were scenario planning against some very difficult budget predictions.

In the end the budget settlement was much better than we expected. It’s important however to recognise that the 21% uplift we communicated, is made up of £10m for screen, set against hard economic targets, and £6.6m to replace the lost Lottery income for the arts as I’ve already outlined. That means our RFO budget effectively remains at standstill.

Despite this we have been able to support 121 excellent organisations, across Scotland and across art-forms for the next three years. At one point last Autumn we thought we might have only been able to fund half this amount.

The network includes 19 organisations new to Regular Funding, such as the Alchemy Film Festival in Hawick; Bodysurf Scotlandin Moray; Starcatchers, Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years organisation; Lyra, based in Craigmillar, in Edinburgh Toonspeak which provides free, high quality drama and theatre activities for young people aged 11-25 living in Glasgow; Theatre Gu Leor, the acclaimed Gaelic Theatre Company; and Tinderbox Collectivebased at North Edinburgh Arts.

Making funding decisions is never easy, nowhere more so than in Scotland where creative talent and ambition far outweighs the funding we have available, particularly in the context of increasing reliance on Creative Scotland funding, as alternative sources of support come under increasing pressure. I fully understand that even on standstill funding some organisations are really struggling. As stated in our arts strategy, we are committed to working with all organisations to support them to build resilience for the future.

Overall the applications we received totalled 33% more than our available budget. That created a real challenge for us particularly when organisations asked for an average of a 25% increase.

We have tried to help by supporting all organisations coming out of Regular Funding through providing transition funding of between six and 12 months at the same level they are currently funded at.

We are also in the process of meeting organisations to explain our decisions, and where they have been unsuccessful, discuss alternative routes to funding and how we might be able to support them in the future.

Regular Funding is one of our routes to funding, sitting alongside Open Project and Targeted Funding which includes Screen.  Over the coming three years, we expect to distribute circa £83m of Government and National Lottery funds a year across these three funding routes.

One immediate thing I want to tackle is to make project funding more straight forward to access especially for artists, individuals, and artists led organisations. We’re planning to announce how we will do this very soon.

I completely recognise that the Regular Funding process has been more challenging this time round than it needed to be – for both those applying and for our staff.

It’s clear that the introduction of the Touring Fund, while based on a review of touring which included consultation, did not chime with everyone in the theatre sector and is not seen as a replacement for Regular Funding. That’s one of the reasons that the Board decided to take stock, increase the budget available for Regular Funding and add organisations into the network.

We understand that this final stage of the process has created real difficulties, none of us want to repeat the experience, as it stands, in three years’ time.

That’s why, as we have already announced, we are committed to a root and branch review of how we fund. We will – importantly – do this in full collaboration with the people and organisations we support.

We welcome all of the constructive communications that we have received – of which there have been a significant amount – and much dialogue that has emerged. We are meeting with sector representative bodies – such as Scottish Contemporary Art Network, Federation of Scottish Theatre, Literature Alliance Scotland and others, whom we already work closely with – in the coming weeks to shape how we approach this review.

Finally, I want to recognise the dedicated, hard-working and knowledgeable staff at Creative Scotland who work every day to make a positive difference to art and culture in our country. Many have recently joined us after high profile careers in the sector. Others have built up immense knowledge over many years of service. They have worked thoughtfully and diligently on this Regular Funding round, dedicating a great deal of time, energy and care to the process.

We are all committed to doing things differently in the future, many ideas have been surfaced as we’ve been working through our difficult decisions and we’re looking forward to sharing these as we enter into dialogue over the coming months.

Thank you.

 

February 22, 2018

Open Letter: We hope Government will continue to recognise the value of public funding of the arts

The Editor, The Herald

The cultural sector in Scotland awaits the UK Government’s budget announcement on Wednesday this week with trepidation: a perfect storm approaches.  Stark warnings have been issued to prepare for significant financial challenges. But further cuts to the public funding that supports the arts and its infrastructure in Scotland, the bedrock of a cultural offer recognised worldwide for its quality, will undoubtedly lead to the disappearance of many irreplaceable arts organisations.

The sector in Scotland has already weathered cuts of more than a third in real terms since 2010, including a year-on-year collapse of Lottery funding, which until now has been used to shore up Creative Scotland’s core funding for theatres, galleries, venues, literature, and more.  Creative Scotland would need an increase of 48% or £22m on the 2016 budget simply to match the real-term level of 2010.  Arts Council England, by contrast, this year announced £170m in new investment to support 180 additional National Portfolio Organisations.

Core funding reductions are compounded by threats from other areas:  if Barclay Review recommendations are implemented, millions would be wiped from the budgets of arts venues across Scotland.  Culture is not a protected spend, so further cuts to Local Authority budgets will wipe out grass roots community arts activities.

We welcome the positive public statements made by the Scottish Government in acknowledging the central role culture plays across our society, and we applaud the major new investments in film and the Edinburgh Festivals, The Burrell Collection and The V&A in Dundee. Clearly, the will to support arts and culture exists at the highest level.

However, big flagship investments cannot substitute for the basic funding that our everyday, small-to-medium sized cultural groups need to exist. If these disappear, which many will if predictions about cuts to Regular Funding Organisations (RFOs) are correct, how will we nurture and sustain the highly skilled but low-paid artists who deliver arts, culture and creative experiences to audiences across every community in Scotland?

We are clear that we have now arrived at a tipping point where even a small cut to Creative Scotland’s Grant-In-Aid, alongside the reduction in Lottery funds and local authority cuts, will devastate Scotland’s arts and culture infrastructure.  Damage to this infrastructure, developed with the aid of public investment over the last fifty years, will be irreversible. This cannot be overstated.

Conversely, a very small increase in funding would allow the core infrastructure of arts and culture in Scotland to survive and to thrive.

The argument for investment is strong. The arts and culture sector is one of the most efficient and dynamic in the country. In 2015/16 RFOs attracted £109m of extra investment from sources other than public funds and created 1.62 million public participation opportunities. In 2015, 92% of adults in Scotland participated in a cultural activity and Scotland’s Creative industries contribute £4.6bn GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting 73,600 jobs. These outcomes draw from, and depend on, skills identified and developed by the arts.

We are proud to live in a country that values arts and culture for its own sake as well as for its wider societal impact on health, education, justice and communities.  Government funding is vital to this ecosystem. We write to ensure the potential impact of further cuts is fully understood, and we ask the Scottish Government to demonstrate that understanding in the Draft Budget to come.

Yours faithfully,

Seonaid Daly, Director, Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Marc Lambert, Literature Alliance Scotland

Jan-Bert van den Berg, Director, Artlink Edinburgh & Lothians

Fiona Logue, Director, Craft Scotland

Dave Watson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Unison

Claire Stewart, Director, Creative Edinburgh

David Francis, Director, Traditional Music Forum

Jude Henderson, Director, Federation of Scottish Theatre

David Watt, Chief Executive, Arts & Business Scotland

Janie Nicoll, former President, Scottish Artist Union

Sara Graham, CC Skills, Nations Director

Robert Livingston, Director, Regional Screen Scotland

Diana A Sykes, Director, Fife Contemporary

The letter appeared in The Herald on Tues 21 November 2017 here, and was also covered by Phil Miller online here.

 

 

November 21, 2017

Muriel Spark 100: Centenary Celebrations

First details announced for nationwide programme of events & activities celebrating the life & work of Dame Muriel Spark: November 2017 – November 2018

Centenary website goes live: www.murielspark100.com @MurielSpark100 #murielspark100

Organisers encourage people to get involved

Launch of new fund for artists & groups to develop & present work

Advice available to those planning activities

Today, Thursday 26 October 2017, the first details are announced for Muriel Spark 100 – a year-long, nationwide programme of literary and cultural events and activities marking the centenary of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally respected writers, Dame Muriel Spark.

Watch the promotional video:

Trailer_Muriel_Spark_100 from Creative Scotland on Vimeo.

 

Led by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland in collaboration with a host of partner individuals, groups and organisations, today’s news coincides with:

  • the launch of a dedicated centenary website murielspark100.com
  • new funds for artists and groups to develop and present new work as part of the centenary year
  • a call out by Muriel Spark 100 organisers to anyone with plans to mark the centenary, to be in touch.

Events and activities already confirmed include the re-publication of all 22 of Spark’s novels by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn ltd (from Nov ‘17); the unveiling of Spark’s extraordinary archive at a landmark National Library of Scotland exhibition (Dec ‘17-May ‘18); leading Scottish writers Ali Smith, Val McDermid, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy and Louise Welsh reflecting on Spark’s career in a new BBC Radio 3 series (Jan ‘18); an international conference bringing together fans and academics to explore all aspects of Spark’s writing (Jan/Feb ‘18); Edinburgh Spy Week’s ‘18.

Commenting, Muriel’s great friend Penelope Jardine said: “Muriel’s contribution to Scottish Letters is one of manifest originality, brevity of wit, with the musical composition and rhythms of a poet. Something unforgettable sui generis.”

The initiative has been welcomed by Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop: “I’m really excited about the forthcoming celebration of Muriel Spark 100. Dame Muriel Spark was one of Scotland’s literary giants and, to this day, her work continues to inspire generations of readers and writers and resonates with audiences across the country and beyond.

“I commend Creative Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and all the other partners involved for delivering such an engaging and varied programme of activity and I am looking forward to attending some of these events next year.”

As details are confirmed they will be announced through the newly launched website www.murielspark100.com and posted through the following channels:

@MurielSpark100 / #murielspark100 / facebook.com/murielspark100

Muriel Spark 100 Chair and Creative Scotland Head of Literature, Publishing and Languages, Jenny Niven said: “The centenary of Dame Muriel Spark’s birth is both a landmark moment and an unparalleled opportunity to permanently influence the way in which this leading figure of Scotland’s cultural history features in the public imagination.

“There is so much to explore in Ms Spark’s work, from her incisive commentary, to her startling poetry, to her ability to effortlessly weave folk tradition with biting satire. It’s a particularly interesting time too to consider her legacy, as a Scottish writer who was fiercely international in her approach and who broke through a great many barriers in her career.

“It’s testament to her range and relevance that so many Scottish organisations will engage with her work and legacy throughout 2018 and we are looking forward enormously to this varied and unusual programme. Creating space for contemporary writers and artists to reflect on Muriel Spark’s influence on them is also very important to this project and we hope to see some really exciting and ambitious proposals through the small grants fund in her name.”

National Librarian Dr John Scally said: “The opportunity to celebrate the life and work of Dame Muriel Spark is as exciting a prospect as opening one of her books for the very first time. She is one of Scotland’s finest ever writers and her reputation extends far beyond these shores. It is fitting therefore that the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland are marking the centenary of her birth with Muriel Spark 100 – a year- long programme of activity that promises to be lively, varied and engaging.”

SMALL GRANTS SCHEME

Awards of up to £1,500 are available to support people and projects across a range of art forms. The deadline for proposals is Monday 4 December 2017, with selected projects being announced in early 2018. Further details, funding guidelines and application form are available on Creative Scotland’s website here: www.creativescotland.com/murielspark100fund

MORE WAYS TO JOIN IN…

For those looking to develop events or who would like to mark the centenary in some way – from exhibitions to readings, talks to screenings – contact Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator Sabrina Leruste at s.leruste@nls.uk who can offer advice on promoting events as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme and making connections with relevant counterparts.

Information on a cross section of programme highlights so far:

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SCOTLAND – THE INTERNATIONAL STYLE OF MURIEL SPARK Fri 8 Dec 2017 – Sun 13 May 2018
National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh www.nls.uk/exhibitions

A major new exhibition revealing unique insights into Muriel Spark’s extraordinary life and work. Featuring personal artefacts never before seen by the public The International Style of Muriel Spark will showcase the National Library of Scotland’s Muriel Spark Archive which is one of the most comprehensive personal records of a writer’s life ever assembled.

The writer’s boxed archive covers the period from the 1940s until her death in 2006, taking up some 46 metres of shelving — just short of the height of Edinburgh’s famous Scott monument. The early records of wartime poverty that chart the struggles of an unknown author are joined by scores of diaries, fascinating letters including those with literary giants, world leaders and film stars, diaries, photographs, newspaper cuttings and school magazines all of which illuminate the inspirations behind Spark’s literary style, her love of fashion, and the significance of the places where she lived.

Colin McIlroy, Muriel Spark Project Curator, National Library of Scotland commented: “Muriel Spark was a self-confessed hoarder. She kept everything from school magazines to shopping receipts, photographs, desk diaries and letters from some of the biggest names in 20th century literature. This is what makes her archive so fascinating. The exhibition will allow us to showcase items never before seen by the public and, in the process, shed new light on an incredible life. It will illuminate her literary style, her love of fashion and the significance of the many places around the world in which she lived.”

PUBLICATION OF NEW EDITIONS OF ALL 22 MURIEL SPARK NOVELS

Publication dates: Nov 2017 – Sep 2018
Each book is priced at £9.99 (hardback). https://murielspark100.com/event/muriel-spark-novels- centenary-editions/

In a bold publishing move, all 22 novels written by Muriel Spark are being re-published by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn ltd. Each novel will be published in a striking and collectable hardback centenary edition, carrying a series preface by editor Alan Taylor and an introduction by such well-known writers or critics as Ali Smith, William Boyd, Alexander McCall Smith, Candia McWilliam, James Wood, Andrew O’Hagan, Joseph Kanon, Zoë Strachan, Allan Massie, Kapka Kassabova, Dan Gunn Ian Rankin and Richard Holloway. Supported by Creative Scotland and The Muriel Spark Society.

The first four novels – The Comforters, Robinson, Memento Mori, and The Ballad of Peckham Rye – will be published in November 2017. A Far Cry From Kensington will be released early in January, with the next four – The Bachelors, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, The Mandelbaum Gate – on the anniversary itself, 1st February 2018. The remainder will be published over the course of the following six months, finishing in September 2018.

“The Polygon team are delighted to republish all 22 of Muriel Spark’s quite perfect novels in striking, collectable, affordable editions. With the support of Creative Scotland and the Muriel Spark Society, and the drive of series editor Alan Taylor, all of them are being re-issued by Polygon between November 2017 and September 2018, putting her writing exactly where it should be – right at the heart of the celebrations for her centenary” – Jan Rutherford, Birlinn Ltd

Alan Taylor added: “Everyone knows that Muriel Spark was the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which is undoubtedly one of the twentieth century’s great works of fiction. What too few people also know is that she wrote 21 other novels, all of which are infused with her trademark blend of fun and profundity, original thinking and peerless style.

“Now, for the first time, readers have the opportunity to read Spark at her sparkling best, in a uniform, covetable, hardback edition which even those of slender means can afford.”

BBC RADIO 3 AND ONLINE – ALL MISS BRODIE’S GIRLS?
Sun 29 Jan – Thur 2 Feb 2018 https://murielspark100.com/event/all-miss-brodies-girls/ 22.45-23.00 every night on BBC Radio 3 and online on the BBC Website and on i-player

Every night from Sunday 29 January until Thursday 2 February, leading Scottish writers Ali Smith, Val McDermid, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy and Louise Welsh will reflect on different aspects of the career of Muriel Spark in a series of essays on BBC Radio 3.

BBC SCOTLAND/BBC FOUR – MURIEL SPARK DOCUMENTARY

Early 2018 (exact date tbc) www.bbc.co.uk
Early in 2018, BBC Scotland and BBC Four will screen a documentary on the life and work of Muriel Spark. Presented by Kirsty Wark, the programme will explore the writer’s extraordinary life and work.

MURIEL SPARK CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM

Wed 31 Jan – Fri 2 Feb 2018
University of Glasgow, Senate, Carnegie & Melville Rooms, University Avenue G12 8QQ https://murielspark100.com/event/muriel-spark-centenary-symposium/
Booking information available soon

At the end of January, the University of Glasgow will host a 2-day symposium exploring all aspects of Spark’s writing. Film screenings and creative writing workshops are being planned alongside talks and discussions from Spark fans, distinguished academics and Scottish and international writers including Zoë Strachan, Louise Welsh and Ali Smith. Themes will cover humour, satire and transgression, faith and surveillance, writing and gender in Spark’s work.

Dr Helen Stoddart, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, University of Glasgow said: “The Muriel Spark Centenary Symposium at the University of Glasgow will be a celebration and a critical consideration of Scotland’s most cosmopolitan writer. Spark’s books and characters feature deep spiritual insight and slashing satirical comedy, the latter often portraying the petty confidence tricks that people employ. From the 1960s, when ‘condition of Scotland’ fiction was being demanded by the critical and cultural establishment, she gave the world instead, ‘condition of the human soul’ writing.”

APPOINTMENT IN AREZZO: A FRIENDSHIP WITH MURIEL SPARK by ALAN TAYLOR

Publication date: from mid November https://murielspark100.com/event/appointment-in-arezzo-a- friendship-with-muriel-spark-by-alan-taylor/ £12.99

Alan Taylor, longstanding friend and travel companion to Muriel Spark, editor of the Birlinn novels re-edition series, well-known literary journalist for over 30 years and author of many books will publish in November 2017 Appointment in Arezzo: A friendship with Muriel Spark.

An intimate, fond and funny memoir of one of the greatest novelists of the last century, this colourful, personal, anecdotal, indiscrete and admiring memoir charts the course of Muriel Spark’s life. With sources ranging from notebooks kept from his very first encounter with Muriel and the hundreds of letters they exchanged over the years,

Appointment in Arezzo offers an invaluable portrait of one of Edinburgh’s premiere novelists.

EDINBURGH SPY WEEK 2018 – SECRECY, SPIES AND MURIEL SPARK
April 2018 (exact date of talk to be announced soon)
National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW https://murielspark100.com/event/edinburgh-spy-week-2018-secrecy-spies-and-muriel-spark//

Edinburgh Spy Week is an annual week of public events focusing on spy fiction and film and the ways in which secrecy and spying run through our culture, organised by the University of Edinburgh with the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Filmhouse, and Blackwell’s. To tie in with the centenary, Spy Week 2018 spotlights the role of secrecy in the life and work of Muriel Spark. Spark was recruited into the Black Propaganda Unit of MI6 during WWII: ‘I played a small part’, Spark wrote, ‘but as a fly on the wall I took in a whole world of intrigue and method’.

The week of events will explore the ways in which this ‘world of intrigue and method’ play out in Spark’s writing, in which espionage, secrecy and spying often takes centre- stage.

Dr Simon Cooke, Department of English Literature, University of Edinburgh, said: “The idea of the event is to explore a pervasive cultural concern. While Spark wasn’t a spy out in the field, she had a career in political intelligence and she did meet a lot of people who were spies. It was a small part of her life in some ways, but if you look at her fiction, the notion of secrecy occurs with some frequency. Books like The Mandelbaum Gate, The Hothouse by the East River and Territorial Rights are, in many ways, spy novels.

“There are a lot of ways in which secrecy and secret agents have a very powerful pull on the imagination and what we want to do is respond to that and try to give interesting discussions, screenings and lectures by some of the key people who are thinking through these ideas.”

GLASGOW WOMEN’S LIBRARY EXHIBITION IN COLLABORATION WITH GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART – MAKING SPARKS

Jun-Aug 2018 (exact date to be announced soon)
Glasgow School of Art https://murielspark100.com/event/making-sparks/

Since its inception in 1991, Glasgow Women’s Library has been collecting Muriel Spark’s work. Vintage gems in Spark’s cover art collection, many of which have been donated from Spark fans looking for a new home for their beloved books, will make up an exhibition that will show a colourful timeline of interpretations of Spark’s novels over the years.

Taking inspiration from these cover images, a group of first and second year students from Glasgow School of Art are working to create their own exhibition of illustration, and graphics. Showing from summer 2018, this will run alongside the cover art exhibition.

Adele Patrick, Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager at Glasgow Women’s Library said: “The Muriel Spark centenary is a hugely important event for Scotland as it provides us with the opportunity to honour one of our great literary talents. As one of only a few 20th century Scottish women writers to have her legacy recognised in this way, it poignantly and positively reminds us about the wider array of women writers from history that we risk forgetting.

“We are delighted to be working with long term collaborators Glasgow School of Art on a programme where young designers will mine the Glasgow Women’s Library Muriel Spark collection to create new illustrative interpretations.”

ARTS SCHOOLS ENGAGEMENT PROJECT

Nationwide, throughout 2018

Muriel Spark 100 is collaborating with Scottish arts schools to invite Illustration, Design and Animation tutors and lecturers to involve students in developing new work based on, or influenced by Spark’s work and/or life.

Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, Gray’s School of Art and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design are already on board with the project which will offer participating students opportunities to present their work through a variety of platforms as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme.

Tutors and lecturers who would like to involve students in the project are invited to contact Sabrina Leruste, Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator for more information, at s.leruste@nls.uk. Deadline for submissions: Friday 30 March 2018.

WALKING TOURS – WALKING SPARK
From spring 2018
Throughout Edinburgh https://murielspark100.com/event/walking-spark/

Edinburgh City of Literature Trust will be partnering with Mercat Tours to launch Muriel Spark walking tours from Spring 2018. The tours will set Muriel Spark’s work in the context of the city, exploring the places that influenced and inspired her.
Further details and booking information be announced soon.

MEDIA CONTACT

For further press information/interviews/images please contact:
Wendy Grannon, Media Relations & PR Manager, Creative Scotland
E: wendy.grannon@creativescotland.com T: 0131 523 0016 / M: 07916 137 632

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Muriel Spark 100 is a year-long, nationwide programme of literary and cultural events and activities marking the centenary of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally respected writers, Dame Muriel Spark.

The project is led by Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland in collaboration with a host of partner individuals, groups and organisations including: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, BBC, Birlinn publishing, Bookmark Festival, British Council, Dovecot Studios Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, Filmhouse (Edinburgh), Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow Women’s Library, Gray’s School of Art, Hospitalfield, Literature Alliance Scotland, Muriel Spark Society, National Galleries of Scotland, Saltire Society, Scottish Book Trust, Scottish Library and Information Council, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Review of Book, StAnza Festival, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Visit Scotland, Waterstones, Writers’ Museum

There are a number of ways to get involved in Muriel Spark 100:

Small grants are available to support people and projects across a range of art forms to develop and present work (deadline Mon 4 Dec 2017)

For those looking to develop events or who would like to mark the Centenary in some way – from exhibitions to readings, talks to screenings – contact Muriel Spark 100 Project Coordinator Sabrina Leruste at s.leruste@nls.uk who can offer advice on promoting events as part of the Muriel Spark 100 programme and making connections with relevant counterparts.

Further information and updates are available at www.murielspark100.com and posted through the following channels: @MurielSpark100 / #murielspark100 / facebook.com/murielspark100

  1. About Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark (née Camberg; 1 February 1918 – 13 April 2006) was a poet, writer of fiction, criticism and literary biography. Best-known as the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark was at the top of her profession, internationally, for more than half a century and went on to win many literary awards. She received a number of honorary degrees, and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1993.

Never out of print, Muriel Spark wrote many well-known novels including The Driver’s Seat, The Girls of Slender Means and Momento Mori. Her work found critical approval, and her novels, where the supernatural and the surreal come into collision – and collusion – with the everyday, helped to change the face of fiction in the English language.

In the 1940s Spark decided to keep a record of her professional and personal activities, beginning an archive that is now one of the largest and most comprehensive held by the National Library of Scotland. http://digital.nls.uk/murielspark/

  1. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. www.creativescotland.com / @creativescots www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.
  2. National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture. The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and modern and foreign collections. The Library holds more than 26 million physical items dating back over 1000 years in addition to a growing library of e-books, e- journals and other digital material. The collection includes over four million books, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and over 45,000 films and videos. Every week the Library collects around 3,000 new items. Most of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. www.nls.uk / @natlibscot / facebook

 

October 26, 2017

Creative Scotland seeks Literature Officer

The following information is taken from Creative Scotland’s website.

Edinburgh
Salary: £26,016 pa plus pension and benefits
Full-time (36 hrs per week), permanent

Creative Scotland is the national development agency for Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries.

We are looking for a Literature Officer to join us and support Creative Scotland’s work in the context of our 10-year Strategic Plan and our Annual Plan. You will be an active member of the Literature team and will assess and make recommendations on a range of funding applications, projects and funding. You will also be expected to lead on a number of different projects and support the wider work of the Literature Team across a variety of different programmes.

The person appointed will work closely with cultural organisations and other key stakeholders to support the delivery of our work in literature and publishing.

Our ideal candidate will have a successful track record of project management and good knowledge of literature and publishing across Scotland. You will have demonstrable experience and knowledge of the literature sector, experience of readership or literature development including experience of working with a wide and diverse range of writers and literature professionals.

You will also be able to demonstrate experience in carrying out detailed assessments of proposals and producing clear reports and recommendations. Experience and understanding of the arts in Scotland, in particular literature and publishing, combined with strong interpersonal skills is essential. Experience of managing evaluation and monitoring processes is desirable but not essential, as is the ability to develop and establish partnerships both at home and abroad, and demonstrate commitment to our core values.

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms is 12 noon on Thursday 7 September 2017.

Interviews will be held in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19 September 2017. If selected for interview you will be expected to be available on this date.

Download an application form and information pack here.

August 30, 2017

Muriel Spark 100

Are you planning an event to celebrate the Muriel Spark centenary or have an idea for an event you would like to develop?

The Muriel Spark 100 programme aims to raise the profile of Dame Muriel, her work, and her legacy and place her in the centre of the cultural landscape of 2018.

Led by the National Library of Scotland and Creative Scotland with the collaboration of many partner organisations – including BBC, Glasgow University, Scottish Book Trust, British Council, Muriel Spark Society, GFT and Glasgow Women’s Library –  the Muriel Spark 100 programme will celebrate the life and literary achievements of one of Scotland’s finest and most internationally respected writers across the year, through a series of events, including talks, exhibitions, readings, publications and screenings.

They are looking for organisations and practitioners with work in development or who would be interested to mark the centenary in some way. From exhibitions to readings, talks or screenings, the formats and angles for contribution are diverse.

For more information, please contact the Muriel Spark 100 Coordinator, Sabrina Leruste, at s.leruste@nls.uk

August 24, 2017

Creative Scotland news: Growing Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector

Creative_Scotland-logo-695

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland today, Wednesday 23 November 2016, provides an update on Creative Scotland’s work to support Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector, since the publication of its Literature and Publishing Review.

The update coincides with Niven’s appearance at Literature Alliance Scotland’s International Summit, taking place at Edinburgh’s Storytelling Centre, during Book Week Scotland.

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, commented:
“Convened in direct response to recommendations within the Literature and Publishing Sector Review published in June 2015, the Summit is bringing together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and public bodies to plan how Scotland can better support the international promotion and presentation of Scotland’s writers and literature.

“A range of other projects, including new support for translation as well as investment in the recently established International Literature Showcase are part of our increased focus on international working, in response to feedback from the Literature sector in 2015’s sector review.

“That consultation has helped shape our Arts and Creative Industries Strategies and we thank everyone who has contributed to this work so far.  We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

Published 18 months ago, the Literature Sector Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland, sustaining the sector as a vibrant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. The review covered a range of areas including individual writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.

In addition to the £4m awarded to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations, over the last year, to support their work in Scotland and internationally, a number of measures have been undertaken in the past 18 months to help grow the Sector, including:

International Promotion
Developing a strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writers and Literature

  • Today’s International Summit has been co-ordinated by LAS, in direct response to a specific recommendation from Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector Review, to explore a more strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writing and literature.  Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event. The aim of the day is to lay the groundwork for a stronger international presence for Scottish literature.

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.”

  • Creative Scotland is partner funding a major new initiative with Writers Centre Norwichand the British Council to promote UK writers and literature organisations overseas.  Launched in September 2016, the online International Literature Showcase is supporting talented upcoming writers with promotional opportunities, new commissions and the development of their international profile.

Developing Talent and Skills

  • In the last financial year, 2015-16, Creative Scotland awarded more than £4million to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations to support their work in Scotland and internationally. For further information on Creative Scotland’s support for Literature, languages and publishing please visit, here.
  • Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fundoffers support for individual writers at all stages of their careers.  Awards made this year include Janice Galloway, Kirsty Logan, Amy Liptrot, Ewan Morrison, Merryn Glover, Malachy Tallack and Gordon Meade.
  • The Gavin Wallace Fellowship enables writers to take time out of their usual environment to develop their practice over the course of a year.  Writer Kirsty Logan, who undertook her Fellowship in 2015, commented: “The past year has been absolute bliss. Having the freedom to read, think and explore is truly priceless for a writer. The fellowship came at exactly the right time in my writing life, and I can’t recommend it enough.”
  • Creative Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Review of Books to run the Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme, which was launched with a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2016. Between November 2016 and February, 2017, 20 writers looking to break into literary criticism are being mentored in small groups by critics Alan Taylor, Rosemary Goring, David Robinson, Kaite Welsh and Dave Coates. Mentees are receiving guidance on writing literary criticism for print and online platforms and are receiving individual feedback with a view to showcasing their work on a special Emerging Critics section of the Scottish Review of Books website.

Mentee Ian Abbott, commented: “The emerging critics programme is bringing together different voices and practices from inside and outside the field of literature to learn from, share with and challenge each other. It offers the opportunity to reset, refocus and deepen our thinking on what criticism is, could be and how relevant it is; I’m interested in who isn’t represented, the gaps that exist and why some voices are invisible. There is already a generosity and exchange amongst our group and I believe it’s going to produce a series of stimulating debates, new sets of knowledge and a hearty barrel of the unknown.”

Translation

  • Launched in August 2015, the new Translation Fund, delivered by Publishing Scotland, is designed to encourage international publishers to translate works by Scottish writers. The £25,000 fund has already supported the translation of work from authors such as Amy Liptrot, Gavin Francis, Jenni Fagan and Jackie Kay translated into a variety of languages including Spanish, Italian and German amongst others.

Aly Barr, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said “The Publishing Scotland translation fund is now attracting applications from leading publishers around the world. The fund forms part of a pathway for international publishers-working in parallel with the annual international publishing fellowship. The fund is the amongst the largest awards schemes for translating books in Britain and positions Scottish publishing as an outwardly facing industry keen to share its stories with the world.”

  • The Fellowship Programme launched in August 2015 with the aim of forging stronger and more strategic links between international and Scottish publishers and agents to discover and acquire the rights to Scottish books.  Developed in partnership between Creative Scotland, Emergents and Publishing Scotland, the programme has engagedeighteen international publishing fellows.
  • The newly established Translation Residency Programme is offering writers the opportunity to take the time to work on the translation of Scottish works.  Delivered by Cove Park in partnership withPublishing Scotland and the British Centre for Literary Translation.  Anne Brauner (Germany) and Clara Pezzuto (Italy) undertook residencies in September 2016 and translated works byScotland based authors – The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie and And The Land Lay Still by James Robertson, respectively.
  • In 2017, the Translation Programme will expand to include partnerships with Writers Centre Norwich and University of Glasgow, in addition to a continuing relationship with Publishing Scotland, creating a UK-wide and outward looking programme. Highlights include residential mentoring for translators and poet-poet translation, as well as an increase in the number of translation residencies available.

Advocating for literature

  • Literature Alliance Scotland was awarded £50,000 in April 2016 to undertake a two-year programme of advocacy and networking involving its 26 member organisations (e.g. EIBF, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Book Trust, Saltire Society). The programme of activity will be rolled out over the next 18 months and the first output is today’s international summit.

Writer’s Pay

  • Creative Scotland’s recently published Arts Strategy underlines its ambition to improve the financial context in which artists and other creative professionals develop and make their work.  The Strategy has been informed by findings reported in the Literature Sector Review which found that that 81% of Scottish writers who responded to the survey earn below the National Minimum Wage. Together with the Society of Authors in Scotland, and other partners, Creative Scotland is exploring ways to address this issue and encourage organisations representing writers to continue to work closely with the sector in setting  standards  and  terms  of  engagements  for  activities  such as travel,  speaking  engagements, residencies, and publishing  contracts.

Access to literature and support for Scotland’s languages

  • In August 2015, Creative Scotland and the National Libraries of Scotland announced the first Scots Scriever – poet, novelist and playwright, Hamish MacDonald.  Responsible for working with the cultural sector, communities, and in particular, schools across Scotland, the Scriever will work to enhance awareness, understanding and use of Scots.  The Scriever post is also directly complementing Education Scotland’s work through their Scots language co-ordinators to broaden engagement of the Scots language policy.

Notes to Editors

About Creative Scotland 

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November 23, 2016

Opening Address by Tom Pow at the Literature Sector Review Summit

Tom Pow, poet and writer, gave the introductory address at the Literature Review summit meeting held in The Lighthouse in Glasgow on 30 July 2015. The afternoon meeting was attended by over a hundred people from the literature community across the whole of Scotland. Read Tom’s full address here:

‘I have ten minutes to introduce this hugely complex, thorough and ambitious review. I want to reflect briefly on where we have come from, as well as where we are now and where we might go. This is a rather breathless personal take on that journey.

In 1968, when I went to university, there was not one chair of Scottish literature in the whole of Scotland; one of the reasons perhaps why at the time I could barely tell a MacDiarmid from a McGonagall. Hopefully, the new Scots Scriever and the new Scots Language Policy will help to sort that sort of ignorant nonsense out! I’d never met a living writer and the only way to meet one at university was to import one yourself – Norman MacCaig, Robert Garioch, Alan Jackson and Pete Morgan, the finest performance poet of his and many another generation. It was a time when, as MacCaig commented, Scottish poets were, most commonly, ‘men of sorrow acquainted with Grieve’. Before Liz Lochhead’s Memo for Spring, man and poet in Scotland were almost synonymous terms.

In the suitcase of the Scottish novel, writers tended to be represented by one novel each rather than by a body of work: Sunset Song, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Cone Gatherers. Interesting to note that the film of  Sunset Song, to be premièred in Toronto in September, had its harvest scenes shot in New Zealand – I mean, tell us Robyn Marsack, what can a New Zealand summer offer that a Scottish summer can’t?

Back then again, the ‘literature ecology’ was given oxygen by committed activists – Joy Hendry regularly sold copies of Chapman in the Abbotsford from a postman’s sack (at least that is how I remember it) and engaged passionately with all-comers about Scottish writing. Meanwhile, Callum Macdonald publishing his own imprint and the magazine, Lines Review, was a forerunner of Hamish Whyte and Gerry Cambridge in terms of meticulous standards and steady commitment.

Looking back in this haphazard way, personal hotspots come to mind: among them, Tom Leonard’s first Glasgow poems; the publication of Sorley Maclean’s Selected Poems; the appearance of Lanark; Edwin Morgan’s Sonnets from Scotland; Liz Lochhead’s  Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off: the vibrancy of a culture asserting itself post 1979.  At Polygon, Peter Kravitz was working with Janice Galloway and AL Kennedy and especially James Kelman. Kravitz said later that it had taken him ten years to get Kelman’s voice out of his head.

There were other voices too: Jeff Torrington, Duncan McLean, Agnes Owens, Irvine Welsh – Scotland was finally writing itself. At the same time, Canongate Classics was turning the suitcase of the Scottish novel into shelf upon shelf. Moreover, different kinds of hotspots were coming into being – ones that reflected confidence and that gave support: the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Scottish Poetry Library. All of these organisations – the RFOs – in fact, every bloody hotspot you can think of – has depended on vision, generosity and sheer stubbornness. Such were qualities Tessa Ransford had in abundance. She is gravely unwell. I’m sure such a wide gathering of all concerned with Scottish writing would want to pass to her today their thanks for her contribution to Scotland as poet and activist.

It takes acknowledgement of where we have come from to recognise that we are in the middle of a significant hotspot right now. All of the above organisations have expanded their horizons – the number of book festivals has grown, a potential tourist trail from Edinburgh to Ullapool, from Dundee to Melrose, from Wigtown to Shetland, and from Shetland back to Stirling. Bloody Scotland? Aye Write! The Scottish Book Trust has also grown, as it keeps butting itself up against the question of what impedes the pleasures and the social advantages of literacy. The Scottish Poetry Library has increased its capacity and collaborated with the Storytelling Centre in interesting ways.  Cove Park, too, is having new work done to offer more opportunity to artists.  The National Library of Scotland continues to expand its work as a world-class institution. And there are new developments: Moniack Mhor is free to pursue its own exciting agenda (Moniack Libre!); The Saltire Society is re-energised under Jim Tough; and Moat Brae in Dumfries is due to open as a National Centre of Children’s Literature and Storytelling in 2017. It will endeavour to be a centre of innovation and engagement as the Glasgow Women’s Library has proved to be. And hurray, the independent bookshop is back!

Live events – Neu! Reekie!, Rally and Broad and Mirror Ball – are attracting a new, younger audience. If you were ever introduced at Forest Café by Ryan Van Winkle, as he necked a bottle of wine, you might be forgiven for thinking of the old saw that ‘poetry (really) is the new rock and roll’. And, as storytelling, traditional and revivalist, has become part of our ‘official’ (i.e. funded, supported) literary culture, so is spoken word now. Musicians frequently share the platform at spoken word events – Aidan Moffat, Withered Hand, King Creosote – bringing a new focus to lyrics, which, from the Border Ballads to Burns’ songs, have always been a vital part of our culture. And so song writing has also been brought, its mention albeit fleeting, into the larger tent of this Review.

Last summer indyref cultural activists, in word, story and song, reached out to the whole of Scotland – as Neu! Reekie’s summer tour is currently doing. One of the attractive ideas of the Review is the questioning of the Central Beltist concept of ‘out reach’. Instead, it is suggested that regional hubs be set up round Scotland with various kinds of expertise. Connection! Co-ordination! Collaboration! – three significant watchwords within the Review. (They need to be verbs.)

Thankfully, we live in a literary culture now where you don’t need to be dead to be appreciated – though it still helps. The New Writers Scheme run by the Scottish Book Trust produces writers who seem to be born with reputations – Billy Letford, Kirsty Logan, Malachy Tallach, Claire Askew. While at the same time, writers like Ali Smith, Kathleen Jamie, AL Kennedy, Jackie Kay, Louise Welsh – and let’s throw in a token James Robertson and Andrew O’Hagan, now flying a flag of his choice in the Booker long-list – have growing international reputations. That’s not to mention our global brands of Alexander McCall Smith, JK Rowling, Ian Rankin and the Tartan Noires.

Meanwhile, established publishers such as Birlinn, Canongate and Luath, have been joined by the fresher faces of Freight, Cargo, Vagabond Press and current Scottish Publisher of the Year, Sandstone Press. Our publishers respond to the challenges of the digital market place with vigour and imagination, while continuing to produce beautiful, distinctive books, in all three of Scotland’s languages, supported by a more internationally aware Publishing Scotland and Gaelic Books Council. In fact, I think the international section of the Review, with its comparative studies, and call for greater focus on translation, will be one of the most interesting sections of the Review for many here today. The Review comments on all of this, while advocating that the sector needs further re-scoping beyond traditional models to include new digital possibilities of storytelling and collaboration within the ‘creative industries’.

Something that struck me forcefully, engaging with the Review with the members of the steering group, is that it is consciously democratic. It takes writers at all levels, and readers at all levels, seriously. It respects the needs of the child reader and of the young writer; it considers the needs of the commercially published writer and those of the self-published writer; it considers those committed to print and those seeking new platforms. Funding apart, the Review does not preference one literature worker over another – whether working for a literary organisation or reading to a child at night, each is engaged, at some level, with the business of fostering a love of reading and of developing the imagination.

Similarly, it is recognised that publishing, whether a best-seller or a kitchen table pamphlet, can be motivated by a similar passion and desire to share what is considered worthwhile; though again obviously the financial implications are of a different order. This democratic emphasis does not come from nowhere – it comes from all those consulted in the making of the Review; in other words, from many of you here today.

Again, back in the day, my contemporaries – Liz Lochhead, Ron Butlin, Brian McCabe, Andrew Greig and Alan Spence – were from the first generation to make a bare living working in schools. Now, writers are regulars throughout education – from working in primary schools (Itchy Coo! Itchy Coo!), to the numerous Creative Writing Courses at our universities – but also in hospitals, retirement homes, prisons and in parliament: the report sees many more possibilities for advancing the effectiveness and importance of literature as an agent for social good.

Each time I read the Review I am prompted, as you will be, by fresh thoughts. For example, how to sustain a level of critical debate beyond the universities i.e. in our public outlets. For another example, you may find reference to the Open Project Fund rather too frequent. You may also think that certain projects, such as getting more Scottish writing into schools and libraries, are of such significance to our identity and cultural and educational health that funding for them should come from another source i.e. the Government, rather than by putting further pressure on the highly competitive Open Project Fund. If so, this will involve determined advocacy (by someone…) and, in many ways, the success or failure of the ambitions contained here will be decided by how persuasive the literary community can be in unlocking fresh sources of income.

There may be parts of this Review that you will want to argue with vehemently. But do not do so with suspicion.  We have always been very lucky with our literature teams at Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland – Walter Cairns, Jenny Brown, Gavin Wallace and now Jenny Niven with Emma Turnbull and Aly Barr, people who have cared and who do care deeply about the state of literature in Scotland. The consultant team at Nordicity and Drew Wylie have worked with energy, engagement and commitment. This introduction has been shot through with holes, omissions and oversights – all my own work – but I hope you have filled in some of the gaps with examples from your own ‘kist o whistles’.

Lastly, the best way I can think of to describe the Review is as a manifestation of energy – something sparky, electric, challenging to control. Chris Grieve had to invent Hugh MacDiarmid so that he could both praise and fight with himself. When Alan Jackson, in 1971, published ‘The Knitted Claymore’, his essay on culture and nationalism, he had to write a letter to The Scotsman himself to create a puff of argument. Our literary culture today is not one lacking in energy or confidence – we don’t have to artificially create energy, only to shape it and to direct it. This Review offers us prospects of doing that.’

Tom Pow

30 July 2015

 

 

August 20, 2015
Opening Address by Tom Pow at the Literature Sector Review Summit