Scottish Arts Council Creative Links Programme extended across a further 25 councils
Every Scottish council will benefit from a Creative Links Officer after a successful pilot project generated an incredible 4,000% increase in the amount invested in arts education.
Creative Links Officers work within local authority education departments to co-ordinate arts opportunities for children and young people, both in schools and through out-of- school initiatives. This includes screen schools, jazz orchestras, youth theatres, drugs awareness programmes through film-making and anti-racism initiatives through journalism.
The four pilot areas received £140,000 from the Scottish Arts Council to support the initiative and those areas have now increased the amount spent on arts education to £6,341,000, a 4,529% increase. Additional funding has been secured through the host councils, the Scottish Arts Council, the Scottish Executive Excellence Fund, the New Opportunities Fund and trusts and foundations.
There are currently 11 Creative Links Officer posts in Scotland, including three within the national organisations Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland and Young Scot. A key responsibility of Creative Links Officers is to develop an arts and education strategy for their authority during their three-year tenure.
James Boyle, Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council welcomed the extension of the Creative Links programme and said:
“Creative Links Officers have already demonstrated the impact they can have on improving children’s and young people’s access to the arts. With their specialist knowledge of arts organisations, funding mechanisms and educational initiatives, Creative Links Officers have boosted spending in the four pilot areas by an incredible 4,000%
“This is a fantastic improvement and one which we at the Scottish Arts Council would like to see every area of Scotland enjoy. It also demonstrates what can be done when there is a dedicated pool of knowledge locally available.”
His comments were backed by Alan Blackie, current President of the Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES), who said:
“These proposals are to be welcomed and demonstrate a real commitment to furthering the partnership between the Scottish Arts Council and local authorities; furthermore this will lead to increased participation in the arts at local level and a strengthening of the funding available for local projects.
“While the funding mechanism may provide a bit of a challenge in relation to longer term sustainability, with good will on all sides this is not insurmountable.”
Four trailblazing councils have already chosen to make the Creative Links Officer posts a permanent part of their education work. Those councils, Aberdeen City, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire, will be rewarded by the Scottish Arts Council with additional funding to develop specific arts education projects. The new Creative Links Officers posts will be funded to the levels agreed in the recent McCrone report on teachers pay and conditions.
Notes to editors1. The Scottish Arts Council champions and sustains the arts for Scotland, investing £56 million from Scottish Executive and National Lottery funding to support and develop artistic excellence and creativity throughout Scotland.
2. Existing Links Officer posts are based within the following local authority education departments: South Lanarkshire, Aberdeen City, North Ayshire, East Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire, Dundee and West Lothian.
3. Funding for the phased programme of posts will be from National Lottery monies.
Issued by: Scottish Arts Council