Cabinet Secretary of Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish Parliament Culture Committee Convener Joan McAlpine MSP and representatives of Arts & Business Scot
A Scottish Government-funded programme designed to encourage closer collaboration between the arts and heritage sectors and Scotland’s business community has generated almost £650,000 of investment in cultural projects during its first year.
Launched in April 2017, the Culture & Business Fund Scotland (CBFS) is managed by independent charity Arts & Business Scotland and is funded by the Scottish Government via Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland. The CBFS programme is the successor to the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme which, over the previous decade, invested more than £7.5 million across more than 500 individual cultural projects.
Like its predecessor, the CBFS programme provides match funding for business sponsorship of arts or heritage projects. During the first twelve months, total investment from the fund amounted to more than £260,000. During this period, every £1 of CBFS investment has leveraged £1.41 in business sponsorship, creating a total investment of £645,698 into 38 creative partnerships located throughout Scotland.
The success of the programme has been celebrated at a special event at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by Joan McAlpine MSP, convener of the Parliament’s culture committee and attended by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop. Many CBFS grant recipients were present on the evening and attendees were treated to a special performance by Drake Music Scotland’s Digital Orchestra, the world’s first disabled youth orchestra.
Drake Music Scotland is itself a recipient of a CBFS grant for its partnership with PreSonus Audio Electronics, who have provided in-kind support in the form of specialist technology that enables the Digital Orchestra’s musicians to write and record music and to perform live. The partnership also funded rehearsals for a new composition that was performed at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh in May this year.
Other projects supported during the programme’s first year include the creation of a memorial sculpture commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Iolaire disaster when His Majesty’s Yacht Iolaire sank off the coast of Stornoway on the 1st January 1919 with the loss of 201 lives. Local arts centre An Lanntair has partnered with the Stornoway Port Authority and Gael Force Group to deliver the project, with match funding provided by the CBFS.
A key innovation of the CBFS programme is that it specifically supports longer term partnerships between business and the arts and heritage sectors, providing ongoing funding for those partnerships in their second and third year. For instance, a partnership between the Scottish Salmon Company and the National Theatre of Scotland to deliver the Theatre in Schools Scotland programme is now in its third year. Over that three year period, the programme has successfully taken high class theatre performances into local schools across all 32 local authority areas in Scotland.
Accountancy firm KPMG have partnered with Scottish Ballet to deliver a project designed to help children from deprived backgrounds from a local school close to Scottish Ballet’s headquarters to engage with the arts. The partnership also funded Scottish Ballet’s latest digital season project, “Haud Close Tae Me”, a short dance film featuring a specially commissioned poem by Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay.
Debt advisers Richmond Oaks have sponsored the Scottish Youth Theatre’s National Ensemble as it embarked on a tour of Scotland this summer with VENT, a specially written anthology of plays with themes connected to mental health.
Almost one quarter of projects supported by the CBFS in Year 1 have had a heritage focus, supporting Arts & Business Scotland’s ambition to encourage closer collaboration specifically between businesses and the heritage sector.
Geographically, projects receiving support from the programme have ranged from the Grampian Transport Museum in rural Aberdeenshire to the D-Lux Festival of Light in Dumfries.
The celebration event hosted at the Scottish Parliament coincides with the launch of a new dedicated microsite that will enable online applications to the Culture & Business Fund Scotland with the aim of encouraging even more arts and heritage organisations to take advantage of the programme and to explore opportunities for closer collaboration with the business community.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “Having had the opportunity to launch the Culture & Business Fund Scotland in April last year, it is now a great honour to be able to celebrate so many successful partnerships between Scotland’s business community and our arts and heritage organisations. I hope these individual stories of creative collaboration will inspire many more to apply to the programme in the future.”
Arts & Business Scotland Chief Executive David Watt commented: “At a time when arts and heritage organisations are having to rise to the challenge of diminishing funding, it’s great to see the Culture & Business Fund Scotland helping to open doors to establish new culture and business partnerships across the length and breadth of Scotland.”
Speaking about the Iolaire Memorial Sculpture project in Stornoway, Elly Fletcher, Chief Executive of An Lanntair, said: “The Culture & Business Fund Scotland was absolutely crucial to this project. I can honestly say that the project would not have happened if we weren’t able to secure funding.”
Brenna Hobson, Executive Producer at the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “Our experience of the Culture & Business Fund Scotland has been incredibly positive. I think the fact that the partnership between the National Theatre of Scotland and the Scottish Salmon Company is now in its third year is in large part down to the fact we’ve been able to access this additional support.”
With support from the CBFS programme, Culture NL has partnered with Motherwell Shopping Centre to deliver Motherwell Theatre’s forthcoming production of Aladdin. Culture NL’s Business Development Manager David Carroll said: “The Culture & Business Fund Scotland’s funding is a great negotiating tool for opening the door with the business. The legacy will be better relationships with our local businesses.”
Richard Rutnagur of KPMG commented: “The fact that, if we came alongside, the Culture & Business Fund Scotland would support the partnership with Scottish Ballet as well reassured us this was the right thing to do on a number of levels.”
Richmond Oaks CEO Alan Harty said: “The idea of getting involved with the Scottish Youth Theatre seemed like a great opportunity. We’ve gotten to know the cast, for example, and that in itself is an enriching experience. It’s given us insight into some of these great organisations we would not otherwise really have got to know.”
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