Dundee’s international reputation as a centre for the arts and creative industries racked up a notch this week with the launch of the proposal for the V & A outpost. . Can Dundee be the new Paris? asked the Times
The creative power of Dundee will be enhanced if the V & A iconic waterfront building goes ahead. But the addition of a museum will not turn Dundee into an infrastructure-dominated cultural city. Dundee’s creativity stems from the talent based there and in particular from those in games and interactive media, arts and design.
It is logical then that Dundee MSP Joe Fitzpatrick has written to Culture Minister Mike Russell to make the case for the new body Creative Scotland to be based in Dundee
When I was the Transition Director for Creative Scotland, we based the project in Dundee thanks to the generosity of the University of Abertay in White Space
The reasons we chose Dundee and White Space were:
1. that the breadth and range of creative energy and activity in Dundee reflected the world in which Creative Scotland would be operating; in particular games and interactive media as part of the spectrum of the arts and creative industries with which Creative Scotland would be engaged; and being areas where the antecedent organisations, Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen were not historically involved
2. that the energy in Dundee and White Space, together with the facilities of White Space, provided a stimulating environment for thinking out of the box. We ran think tanks and seminars there in spaces which were associated with neither Scottish Arts Council nor Scottish Screen
3. that Dundee is a single train journey from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
So a great place for the early stages of the Transition Project, before the Creative Scotland Bill fell in June and when we had to go ground to concentrate on modelling costs and await the Scottish Government’s announcement as to the new route it would use to establish Creative Scotland.
So Joe Fitzpatrick’s logic is clear.
And if Creative Scotland can be a small, fleet organisation releasing more into front line services, technologically enabled – then Dundee becomes even more attractive.
However, at this time the Scottish Government will look to avoid extra costs and so it is unlikely that a move to a location other than Glasgow and/or Edinburgh will be found affordable.
1. Creative Scotland’s establishment will be governed by the Scottish Government’s policies and procedures relating to public sector reform. It has set up a unit which sounds like something from Gogol or Kafka, the Simplifcation Unit. This unit ensures that all quangoes torched in the bonfire adhere to common principles and procedures . And of course there is a clear sense that setting up Creative Scotland should cost as little as possible. The policy of the last administration was to move quangoes out of the central belt but this has proved expensive and is not the policy of this administration
2. Both Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen are embedded in their base cities – SAC in Edinburgh and SS in Glasgow and have a natural desire to stay in these cities where there is the largest screen and broadcasting, festivals, theatres and galleries infrastructure