Scottish Arts Council

Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 24th June 1999.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party 2:30 pm, 24th June 1999

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to bring forward proposals for a review of the structure and function of the Scottish Arts Council. (S1O-82)

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

No. The SAC will have a continuing and evolving role at the centre of cultural life in Scotland.

Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for his answer, although it was not the one that I was hoping for.

I draw his attention to the information bulletin from the Arts Council, a document which, as he is the minister responsible, I am sure he has read. It lists the council's committees. There are around 180 people on the list, of whom only 30 are working artists. Does the minister agree that it is important, even if the structure and function are not to be reviewed, that we find a mechanism whereby working artists can feel some ownership of the Arts Council, rather than seeing it owned by people who might have a more limited involvement in the arts?

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

That is a dreadful slur on the people who give their time freely to the Arts Council; Michael Russell should be wary about making it. He makes a point about involving working artists, but he should bear it in mind that such people often have a vested interest in the distribution of funding.

As with the Sports Council, the difficulty in trying to engage people who are active in the field is that they say that, although they would love to be involved, they do not have the time. However, I take Mr Russell's point and we will consider ways in which to involve more working artists in the Arts Council.