Creative Scotland, the organisation which supports Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries has released its ten year plan for supporting and funding the country’s cultural and creative sectors.
The ten year plan and funding strategy has been put together with input from over 1000 participants drawn from the entire creative spectrum. Which, for the first time, includes the Scottish Games Network.
The plan is necessarily high level, exploring Creative Scotland’s role and the organisation’s ambitions, priorities and themes which it would like to run through all of its work and the work it supports. The introduction from CEO Janet Archer, asks simply, What do we want Scotland to be in 10 years time?
As a high level document, the plan does not lay out the detailed process of funding, or project specifics. Instead it attempts to outline the key values the organisation believes will the important to Scotland’s artists, creatives – and the wider population – over the next decade.
While the mainstream Scottish media will no doubt have a field day with the plan and the language used in it, there’s a lot of major positives within the document’s themes and Creative Scotland’s ambition.
Digital is highlighted as one of the four connecting themes for all of the organisation’s work alongside creative learning, equalities and diversity and the environment. This is a crucial step forward for Scotland’s creative economy and a huge opportunity for the interactive industry, as the games sector is a key example of the creative and digital worlds meeting. If we’re open to this opportunity and willing to look beyond the accepted role and definition of ‘video games’ then Scotland could, quite quickly, become an innovator and pioneer in interactive arts and media.
It may come as a surprise to some that the interactive sector has been placed within the creative industries category, rather than the screen industries. However, this is a very positive step, as the film industry in Scotland has a number of very specific issues it faces, while television has a very rigid structure which is somewhat isolationist.
The creative industries however, covers a very diverse range of businesses, from architecture and marketing, to craft, design, fashion, textiles and music. This very diversity means that the games and interactive sector will not suffer from restrictions or rigid definitions which are common to the other screen industries.
The arts, screen and creative industries all have their own development needs. We will design a clear strategic approach to supporting them through individual strategies for each. We also need to apply ourselves to understanding, as well as possible, how the overall creative system works, and how we can ensure our future funding and support is organised in ways that are responsive and sensitive to its dynamic nature.
Artistic and creative forms are increasingly developing links and overlaps, driven by new knowledge and connections through digital opportunities, convergence, cross-platform or 360 approaches to creativity. In future these will only increase in prevalence.While we have an important role in supporting the preservation of traditions, we are also interested in understanding and supporting the development of future ways of working. As such we will make space for crossover between forms within our strategies.
Convergence, cross-platform and 360 degree approaches. Sounds tailor made for the digital and interactive worlds.
Another very positive step forward is Creative Scotland’s role in relation to the other public sector bodies in Scotland, including the commercial, educational and cultural organisations. One of the issues faced by many sectors of the creative industries in the past has been uncertainty over where the various public bodies overlap and how the commercial (Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, etc.) and cultural (Creative Scotland) organisations communicate and work together. Any positive moves to eliminate the uncertainty has to be a good thing.
Creative Scotland is planning a series of Information Session events across the country to discuss the vision outlined in the plan and find out more about working with the organisation, funding, opportunities and stimulate dialogue about Scotland’s Creative Future.
There are dates in Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stornoway, Dundee, Birnam, Shetland, Aberdeen and Peebles. You can book tickets – free – on the Creative Scotland website.
So what does it all mean for the games sector?
This is an incredibly positive opportunity for Scotland’s video games and interactive industry. It provides a way for the whole sector to become a far more integral and important part of Scotland’s creative economy and the country’s cultural output.
Creative Scotland and the Scottish Games Network have already met to discuss the industry’s role and importance in the era of digital media, interactivity and apps. We’ve provided input to the document released today and we plan to continue working with Creative Scotland moving forward to make digital media the glue which holds the arts, screen and creative industries together.
Onwards, to to a glorious future…