Creative Scotland chief executive quits following funding row

The chief executive of Creative Scotland has resigned following an on-going controversy over funding awards made by the arts quango.

Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 10:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 10:36 am
Janet Archer is steppind down from Creative Scotland following a difficult year for the agency. 
Picture: Neil Hanna
Janet Archer is steppind down from Creative Scotland following a difficult year for the agency. Picture: Neil Hanna

Janet Archer will leave the Scottish Government-funded agency after it faced serious criticism over the decision to stop funding several theatre companies.

Creative Scotland was forced to pledge a “root and branch” review of the way funding decisions were made following uproar earlier this year, and a “reset” of its future priorities in the wake of widespread criticism across the cultural sector.

The row reignited last week when Glasgow-based company Culture Republic announced it would be winding up after losing its long-term funding at the start of the year.

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Ms Archer, who has led Creative Scotland for five years, had previously admitted her organisation had caused “real difficulties” with its handling of more than £150 million worth of applications from groups across the country.

Her decision to leave follows a damning parliamentary report into the way funding decisions were taken at Creative Scotland.

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Holyrood’s Culture Committee found decision-making fell well below the standard expected of a public body, and concluded the arts funding organisation had been “badly damaged” as a result of its approach.

In a statement published today, Robert Wilson, chairman of Creative Scotland, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Janet for everything she has achieved over the past five years and the important contribution she has made to Creative Scotland, to the arts, screen and creative industries and to public life in Scotland more broadly. We wish her every success for the future.”

Ms Archer said: “It has been an honour to work closely with, and to serve Scotland’s artists and creative communities over the past five years in my role as Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, and to help many thousands of people produce and share work.

“Over the past five years, we have supported artistic excellence, diversity and inclusion. We accelerated our work for young people and supported creative projects in all of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. We have also enhanced international support across artforms, especially for screen.

“I’m pleased that in a difficult public financial context, Creative Scotland managed to work closely with the Scottish Government to secure an additional £19.8m funding for 2018-21 for Regularly Funded Organisations to replace the unexpected steep downturn in National Lottery Funding, as well as an additional £10m annual support for screen.

“I would particularly like to thank the cabinet secretary, Fiona Hyslop for her support her committed and steadfast determination to position culture at the heart of government policy.”

Creative Scotland said Ms Archer, who joined the organisation in July 2013, left as of June 30 and would receive payment in lieu of her six month contractual notice period.