Creative Edinburgh Awarded Major Funding Package.

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I’ve been Chair of Creative Edinburgh since 2012, and introduced the fledgling organisation to a large audience alongside Fiona Hyslop in 2011 at The Hub in Leith Street.

It was a grand night with lots of dreams (wandering around the room I heard mutterings of cynicism.  “Another (another) creative organisation for Edinburgh, that’s all we need.”) I paraphrase of course.  But for a while that was a prevailing attitude that we had to overcome.

However,  Janine and Lynsey (our directors) were tough as old boots, rolled their sleeves up, donned creative curatorial hats and said “Stuff ’em, we’re gonna make this work.” (Again, I paraphrase.)

Jim Galloway, of the City Council’s Economic Development team, was not one of the cynics.  far from it.

He saw the light.

He had a modest budget from which to draw, and for six years now he has convinced his colleagues not just to fund us, but to celebrate us, endorse us and commission us for consultancy projects (when appropriate).

We’ve never let him down.  He’s never let us down.

The cynics slowly dropped away (but let’s never kid ourselves, no organisation is free from its critics, though few in our case are particularly ‘open’ with their criticism).

We’ve done a good job.  Of that I am in no doubt.  And when I say ‘we’, I principally mean the executive team of directors (Janine, Lynsey and now Claire) ably abetted by their own teams; currently Anna and Rachel but also Jenny, Holly, Catriona and several more.

We’ve drawn on our members to help us in lots of areas and we’ve created an excellent Steering Group who soon put us right when our ideas go a bit off track.

Our board (past and present) has been brilliant.  An eclectic, multi-skilled bunch of proper personalities with a grounding in good governance (thanks especilly to Mike Davidson for that).

Our members’ jams, meet ups and surveys have kept us informed.

And so we’ve grown.

One, two, three, soon four thousand (I hope) members.

We’ve travelled, literally, the world – all over Europe, North America and Asia so far.

But it’s been tight; very, very tight – financially.

Each year has seen a couple of stale biscuits and a half bottle of red wine line the cupboard.  Half a box of Dairylee in the fridge.

But our funders, and sponsors have grown in variety and commitment.  Each year that Dairlyee has looked more likely to be there on April the 6th, and not snaffled by the bailiffs.

And so, yesterday, it was with a mixture of relief and joy that we found out Creative Scotland (who I also have to say have been an increasingly amazing source of support and vision) announced that we, and our great friends and partners at Creative Dundee, had been granted Regularly Funded Organisation (RFO) status along with 114 others.

This is a game changer.  Our funding will now be greater than ever before, and ‘guaranteed’ (so long as we deliver) for three years.

It doesn’t mean we don’t need Jim and the other supporters we have taken on over the years, quite the opposite.  And hopefully some of this recognition will rub off on them.  I particularly have to single out Anderson Strathern, Codebase, FreeAgent, CGI, Chris Stewart Group, Federation of Small Businesses, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Whitespace,The Skinny and others.  Thank you all.  Please continue to support us as we grow.

We wil be doing more, but not haphazardly.  We have a plan to help develop, educate, meet, grow, focus and spotlight the creative industries in Edinburgh.

We’ll work closely with our friends in Dundee.  Gillian Easson has done an amazing job there and she too has been recognised as an RFO.

My heart goes out to those organisations that lost RFO funding (and those that were reduced).  Sadly in this habitat there are always winners and losers.  May you live on and return renewed and invigorated to the fray.

For me, this is a bit of a career highlight.

I’ve known, since I met Janine and Lynsey, that this could, and would, work.  They leave a great legacy and are both still heavily involved (formally and informally).

We have a strong, committed, enthusiastic executive and governance team.  We have committed members.  We now have more robust funding to underpin our vision.

As Jeff Bezos says. “This remains day one.”

 

 

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Creative Industries Federation shares psychological boost for the UK’s Creative Industries.

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Well, Theresa May has one priority right.
“Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May that the creative industries would be one of five named sectors in the new industrial strategy was a major step forward for a sector which has never been formally recognised in a national industrial strategy before. Only six years ago at the start of the coalition government, the creative industries were not formally acknowledged when it announced nine sectors of industrial engagement.”  (Source: Creative Industries Federation)
  • The government has launched a Green Paper/consultation giving a blueprint for a national industrial strategy.
  • Five sectors, including the creative industries, were named in the consultation as having ‘sector deals’.
  • Exactly how government support for chosen sectors will be offered is dependent on the result of the consultation process, although the key mechanisms for support are given in the 10 pillars explored below.
  • In order to attain its three goals, the government has identified 10 pillars that each sector deal should focus on. These are:
    • investment in science, research and innovation
    • developing skills
    • upgrading infrastructure
    • supporting businesses to start and grow
    • improving procurement
    • encouraging trade and inward investment
    • delivering affordable energy and clean growth
    • cultivating world-leading sectors
    • driving growth across the whole country
    • creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places. (Like Creative Edinburgh)
As the CIF states in its recent circular, not only is this a growing sector (as we have known for several years) but jobs cannot be automated.  Although I’m sure there are plenty of people trying to find a way.
Here’s a couple of efforts to prove my point.
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In Scotland we have been blessed to have a long term appointment in Culture, Tourism and External Affairs in the shape of the enthusiastic and understanding Fiona Hyslop so maybe things are looking up for the sector.
The point is the sector includes not just corporate businesses like design, advertising, film and architecture but also hundreds of thousands of start ups, SMEs and increasingly overlaps with the rapidly growing tech sector.
My role as Chair of Creative Edinburgh is to support our Director Janine Matheson and her team, alongside our enthusiastic board in realising the ambitions of this ‘new deal’ by creating a thriving and increasingly vocal network of exactly those businesses in Edinburgh that can benefit from the strategy.
We are deeply grateful to our funders and sponsors who have made this possible so far, and this initiative can be a positive step forward for a city that can benefit more than most from both Holyrood and Westminster recognition and support.

Creative Scotland backs Edinburgh’s initiative to drive growth in the creative industries

I sit on the board of Creative Edinburgh and today’s announcement acknowledges real progress and significant funding.  This is the press release that was sent out announcing our funding by the City Council Development Department.

Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council have today (19 October) announced new funding to support a strategy for developing the city’s creative enterprises.

The heart of the plan is the revival of Creative Edinburgh, which will be marked with a formal launch on 3 November. The organisation will help businesses work together, make the most of the city’s reputation and generate inward investment.

Creative Scotland is providing £120,000 which will complement investment from the Council and assistance already received from the European Union. The funding will support various initiatives in the Council’s People, Place and Pound strategy for creative industries.

Cllr Tom Buchanan, Economic Development Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, welcomed the announcement:

‘We have long recognised the important contribution that the creative industries can, and do, make to the economy. I look forward to working with partner organisations on our strategy to grow the size, scope and international competitiveness of the creative industries base here in Edinburgh.’

Caroline Parkinson: ‘This investment will support creative businesses to continue to develop, grow and innovate. Whether finding new workspaces, or creative hubs, Creative Edinburgh is well placed to establish a network to share experience, find new clients and generate business growth.’

As home to the world’s most famous arts festivals, Edinburgh has a unique offer in its creative and cultural industries sector but the sector remains one of the city’s least understood economic assets. Creative Scotland’s investment is aimed at strengthening the sector, driving growth and promoting Scotland’s global reputation for innovation.’

The work of Creative Edinburgh supports the Council’s People, Place and Pound strategy to support the creative industries in the city. Key areas for development include:

  • Promoting and connecting creative businesses to each other and potential customers.
  • Identifying creative spaces, including locations that can act as ‘incubators’ for new businesses.
  • Providing business development support to help new creative start-ups get off the ground.

Overall, Scotland’s creative industries are growing at a faster rate than the average of the Scottish economy over last 10 years. The creative industries represent 5% of all registered businesses in Scotland and contribute £2.4 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Scottish economy.

In Edinburgh alone, it is estimated that there are 4000 creative businesses and organisations, which provide jobs for 26,000 people.