Why we need actions and actors for a 360° system of support for Scotland’ s creative industries

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A step forward has been taken to embed a 360 ° system of support for Scotland’s creative industries with the publication of the report from the Creative Industries Partnership Group. The creative industries have an economic, social and cultural value for Scotland and so it makes sense that public agencies work together across the spectrum to provide specialist support across the whole of the creative industries.

The Creative Industries Framework Agreement Implementation Group (“CIFAIG”), jointly chaired by the Scottish Government and COSLA has put some further flesh on the bones of the February  Core Script outlining roles and responsibilities of the agencies which was agreed in February.

The recommendations of CIFAIG are based on the achievement of the following ambition: that Scotland becomes recognised as one of the world’s most creative nations – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured.

CIFAIG recognised that to achieve the above ambition an innovative structure for supporting and developing the creative industries is required, led by the Scottish Government, with Creative Scotland the principal co-ordinator for action.  This structure has to be more than the introduction of a credible and properly empowered Creative Scotland. It must also involve the other parties to the Framework Agreement being prepared to adapt their existing processes and procedures to the achievement of the collective ambition. As importantly, it has to involve and engage practitioners in a manner and at a level that ensures that their contribution is both significant and effective.

The Agreement describes in some more detail how the specific agencies will work together and further articulates the role for Creative Scotland in leading the coordination of the Group and providing research and intelligence and being a broker, networker and champion.

The Framework Agreement is a step forward towards embedding a 360° system of support for Scotland’ s creative industries.  The creative industries have an economic, social and cultural value for Scotland and so it makes sense that public agencies work together across the spectrum to provide specialist support across the whole of the creative industries.  All teams need a leader and the Agreement sets out the priority roles for Creative Scotland in leading the coordination of activity through providing intelligence, gathered through research and through strong networking across the 13 sectors and relevant partners.

The devil is in the detail though and the Agreement does not provide the route map for creative entrepreneurs and enterprises recommended last year.  Creative Scotland will need “to provide intelligence and advice about the workings of the sector, including commercial opportunities, talent, market development, structural issues and dependencies” across the creative industries this year to facilitate this.

There is still a way to go but progress will best be made by actions and by actors.  Creative Scotland needs the leaders in place who can command authority and coordinate with credibility across the spectrum.  And Scottish Enterprise needs to signpost its commitments through its promise to have a clearly designated senior person for the creative industries.  And maybe its time to signpost ‘creative industries’ as a sector on the SE website instead of digital markets.

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