Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

What’s at Stake for the Arts in Scotland? – artnet News

In about two days, Scotland will vote to become independent from the UK. This has been a political movement that’s come up now and again throughout Scottish history, but the movement has never gained the traction it seems have now. The independence spirit is particularly strong in a younger generation of Scots, who see the government in London as out of touch and unconcerned with the future of the country. If this vote passed, it would accomplish what literally hundreds of years of (sometimes bloody, think of William Wallace) struggle couldn’t.

The argument is primarily an economic one, and justifiably so. The electorate in Scotland is largely concerned with jobs, just like in the U.S. However, this article brings up the perspective of what would happen to the Arts should the vote pass. A lot of art is funded by the British government and English foundations, and there’s almost no doubt that a lot of that funding would go away should the ‘Yes’ vote pass. Scotland has an incredibly vibrant art scene – not only in Edinburgh (which many people know about it) but in Glasgow. On the one hand, seperation from the UK would mean the possible collapse of some the infrastructure in place for the creation of theater, visual art, music, and a myriad of other disciplines. But on the other, the Scot’s are fiercely proud of their Scottish identity, and a lot of the Art created there reflects this. Perhaps it would spark a surge in the creation of new work as a reaction to new found independence?

It’s very, very exciting stuff – and a rare opportunity to see history unfold and policy shift right before our eyes.


What’s at Stake for the Arts in Scotland? – artnet News.


3 comments on “What’s at Stake for the Arts in Scotland? – artnet News

  1. hshambroom
    September 17, 2014

    Based on this article, it doesn’t seem that the artists are terribly concerned about funding, which potentially could be the biggest hindrance in maintaining the vibrant Scottish art scene. It will be interesting to see Scotland develop its own artistic identity, independent from that of the UK. As an undergrad I studied the contemporary art of West Africa, specifically being interested in the way each country in the region used to art to craft a unique national identity after their relatively recent independence in the late 50s and early 60s. In the case of Senegal, for example, politicians and artists aligned and worked together to develop cultural policies, and also to develop a visual language to express their new identity as Senegalese citizens, separate but related to their identity as members of a French colony. If Scotland does become independent, I wonder if a similar union will happen in Scotland between politicians and artists, or if Scottish artists will begin expressing a new sense of identity severed from the UK.

  2. benjamendouglas
    September 18, 2014

    Eek! I can’t imagine the entire funding scene just disappearing. Imagine waking up one day, and not having access to the NEA or corporate grants from banks; being on a different currency; and having patrons who suddenly live in a different country.

    It will be a mess, for sure. But they’ll eventually work it out. Sometimes chaos creates wonderful opportunity.

  3. yaoge2016
    September 19, 2014

    It’s interesting to look at this post after knowing the result of the historical referendum vote. What changes will happen should the Scotland be independent now remain a mystery. The unique culture and arts make Scotland different from the rest parts of the United Kingdom, and far away from the governance of London. They identify themselves as Sottish not UK citizen, which is the main reason they want to vote YES in my opinion.

    The arts and cultures distinguished from one and another make significant impact on people’ personalities and life styles. Fact that immigrant countries like USA can embrace so many people from different countries, races, religions makes me surprised. Art organizations here serve for different peoples from different culture, which is more complicated than nonimmigrant country like Scotland.

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This entry was posted on September 16, 2014 by .
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