Creative Industries Advisory Group: March 2019

Minutes of the March 2019 meeting of the Creative Industries Advisory Group (CIAG).

Attendees and apologies


  • Fiona Hyslop – Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs (Co-Chair)
  • Jamie Hepburn – Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Creative Industries

  • Bob Last (Co-Chair) – Film Producer
  • Rachel Brown – Cultural Enterprise Office
  • Sarah Cameron – SENSCOT
  • Janice Kirkpatrick – Graven
  • David Eustace – Photographer and Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University
  • Lorna Macaulay – The Harris Tweed Authority
  • Dougal Perman – Scottish Music Industry Association
  • Carol Sinclair – Carol Sinclair Ceramics
  • Willie Watt – Nicoll Russell Studios
  • Cameron Fraser – Ko Lik Animated Films
  • Jane Muirhead – Raise the Roof Productions
  • Simon Cotton – Johnstons of Elgin
  • Chris Hunt – Freelance Creative 
  • Richard Scott – Axis Animation
  • Jacqueline Donachie – artist, Glasgow Sculpture Studios
  • Colin Anderson – Denki  

Scottish Government

  • Jonathan Pryce – Director for Culture, Tourism and Major Events
  • Carolyn Rae – Head of Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy 
  • Elinor Owe – Team Leader, Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy
  • Heather Holmes – Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy
  • Rachel Nicholson – Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy
  • Tom Craig – Entrepreneurship Policy Executive
  • Lesley Ward – Trade Promotion


  • Clive Gillman – Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland
  • David Hartley – Creative Industries and  Digital Markets Manager, Scottish Enterprise
  • David Martin – Creative Industries Skills Manager, Skills Development Scotland
  • John Kemp – Scottish Funding Council
  • Andre Reibig – Scottish Funding Council 
  • Iain Hamilton – Creative industries Manager, Highlands and Islands Enterprise


  • Brian Coane – The Leith Agency / Institute of Advertising Practitioners of Scotland
  • Alex Smith – XpoNorth
  • Alan Bishop – Creative Industries Federation
  • Polly Purvis – ScotlandIS
  • Lucy Mason – Arts Manager/consultant (formerly National Theatre of Scotland)
  • Pamela Tulloch – Scottish Library and Information Council
  • Tony Webster – The Modern Institute
  • Jenny Todd – Publishing Consultant
  • Philip Hannay – Cloch Solicitors
  • Liz Ditchburn – Director General Economy
  • Mary McAllan – Director for Economic Development
  • Diane McLafferty – Deputy Director, Culture and Historic Environment
  • Hugh Lightbody – CosLA 

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions  

The meeting was opened by Ms Hyslop who welcomed everyone to the fifth meeting of CIAG. She noted her thanks to the V&A for hosting the Group.  She suggested that the museum will make an important contrition to the City of Dundee,  promoting Scottish design, Scotland, and in attracting visitors and investment.  She referred to the next special exhibition on videogames which will open on 20 April. She welcomed two new members, Jacqueline Donachie and Richard Scott.  

Ms Hyslop noted the agenda for the meeting which continued discussions from previous meetings.  The main topic was internationalisation.  A draft Creative Industries Policy Statement was tabled to articulate the Scottish Government’s priorities for the creative industries in Scotland.  Discussions at the last CIAG meeting had fed into this document.  
Ms Hyslop noted a number of key developments in the creative industries since the last meeting.  These included: the second symposium of the series of Places of Creative Production (the Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, Steve Dunlop, spoke positively about his refocus on culture and creativity in Scottish Enterprise); a meeting between Professor Janice Kirkpatrick and the Finance Secretary on putting creative industries and design at the heart of the economic agenda, especially manufacturing; the premiers of two productions filmed in Scotland – Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots, the launch of the new BBC Channel for Scotland; and Scotland will be represented for the first time at Claytopia, the National Council on Education for Ceramic Artists conference.  

Mr Hepburn spoke about the recent high profile challenges faced by Dundee. He noted that the Scottish Government had contributed £150 million to the region’s City Deal.  He suggested that the sectors represented at the meeting should ensure that they were able to take advantage of this.  He noted that the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Mr McKee, was taking forward the Scottish Government’s Export Plan - the Scottish Government was serious at increasing Scotland’s exports, which forms part of its business pledge.  He noted that there were still opportunities to contribute to the Plan.  Mr Hepburn pointed out that some businesses could internationalise but had never thought of doing so, a point that was being actively considered on a cross-economy basis.  He asked to make sure that the creative industries were part of this discussion.  

Minutes of previous meetings  

There were no comments on the draft minutes which had been circulated and published online. 

Actions from the last meeting:  
  • the Scottish Funding Council had written a paper answering questions that had been raised at the previous meeting and circulated among Group members. John Kemp from the Scottish Funding Council who was in attendance, was invited by the Co-Chair to attend the next meeting in September
  • Scottish Ministers have issued a Ministerial letter of guidance to the Scottish Funding Council which includes a direction on supporting the teaching for arts subjects. This has resulted from discussions from CIAG. Ms Hyslop was pleased with this outcome while the Co-Chair commented that this letter is an example of CIAG delivering meaningful outcomes
  • Ms Hyslop has scheduled a meeting with Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council
  • Ms Hyslop thanked Andrew Dobie and Claire Forsyth for their input as members to the Group.  She welcomed Jacqueline Donachie and Richard Scott


The Co-Chair introduced a discussion on internationalisation by commenting that Government support crossed a number of agencies.  He had recently had discussions with Lesley Ward, Trade Promotion, Scottish Government, about creative industries and exports.  He suggested that measuring the baseline for internationalisation is important but challenging.  He suggested that it was important to explore how SMEs and micro-businesses could internationalise.  Exporting in the creative industries was not always a simple economic transaction to track.  The Export Strategy could be an opportunity to capture a number of issues.  A comprehensive paper had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting.

In discussion, the following points were made:

  • one member who undertook a significant amount of international work over a number of years had secured assistance from SDI for international trips.  While some businesses could afford to pay for these trips, the importance of having this resource should not be discounted
  • it was important to make effective connections with countries before going on international trips.  Some delegations benefit from long term and repest approaches. Some countries took a significant amount of work to get access to them and build connections in order to work effectively.  There was a need to understand how to do business in the wider cultural context of the country to be visited
  • how do we reach to a certain market?  The British Council runs a scheme “Crafting Futures” which allows for cultural exchange opportunities for communication through making.  It has expanded to reach 30 countries, mostly in Asia and South America.  The scheme will allow makers to be brought back to Scotland for an exhibition in 2020.  The Council had, in the opinion of one member, been very effective at taking business to the heart of countries it was working with and providing knowledge on the ground
  • for fashion the level of international sales was often proportionally higher for micro-businesses.  There was a wealth of support from the British Council and consulates (eg Hong Kong) as well as SDI which offers support and interaction
  • for some members a significant part of their business was international.  This included work with international partners in a large number of countries for decades, and international clients with offices in the UK.  One member had been assisted by DTI, British Council and SDI; the Lighthouse had been important for undertaking work with North America, Scandinavia, Europe and the USA
  • it was important that creative businesses had cultural empathy with the international businesses that they are working with
  • partnerships and networks with other businesses were key to international work.  They were often more important than the role of Government
  • international work was not always about exporting goods.  It also included provision of services to an international market
  • it can be difficult to find intermediaries to sell products in the international market
  • skills sharing on international projects was important as there was a lot of knowledge that could be passed on
  • the Scottish Government Export Plan was including services as well as products as exports.  Exports were being considered if they were value generated and sold within a global market
  • everyone at the meeting indicated that they worked internationally 
  • a lot of international art exhibitions involved working with international partners
  • the Scottish Government needed to be able to react to micro-scale businesses exporting
  • exporting was about developing relationships.  It could be difficult to know where to go and who to contact when developing projects overseas
  • expertise was needed, but this cost money
  • even in a digital world face to face trips were seen to be valuable
  • a theme of the discussion was the need for expertise in international markets. This included bringing skilled people back to Scotland, as had been done by several members
  • Cultural Enterprise Office had undertaken work around film and fashion to share skills from Scotland.  There were significant opportunities in Nigeria.  However, contracts could cause worry and be disproportionately costly
  • it was considered to be important to understand data trends around exports. Data focused organisations were able to look on platforms such as Spotify and YouTube to see where there was an appetite for particular bands.  That information could be used to develop tours and build tourism and structured initiatives.  ExpoNorth and Showcase Scotland, the British Council, and Creative Scotland could provide assistance to showcase and look at opportunities, including introductions to buyers.  For music the sector was not joined up – a longer term ambition was to have a Music Export Office which the SMIA was keen to support
  • there was a sense that members were exporting more than they thought they were – it was intrinsic to what they were doing
  • there was a feeling that we needed to work out a way to measure exports; to encourage people to take their skills to other countries; and to look more at horizons and future opportunities
  • promoting creative industries on trade missions may require a different approach because what is offered is creative ideas as opposed to tangible objects
  • attendance at conferences should be targeted as they offered the opportunity to sell creativity
  • partnerships are important for working in China where there are significant opportunities.  Time needs to be factored into developing them
  • while Scotland does well in the Brand Index, the country is not well known for innovation.  What does Scotland need to do to change this – as a country, as individuals and through manufacturing supply chains?
  • the creative industries could help other economic sectors to improve Scotland’s brand or innovation.  Bringing creative people to Scotland helped artists to get work elsewhere.  The International Touring Fund was helping the performing companies with overseas work and to generate income
  • there were significant opportunities for universities and colleges who work internationally to promote design education
  • it was important to look forward for the sector and to use future thinking for the next 5-10 years.  Future markets may be different for each of the sub-sectors
  • for some sectors international markets were shifting towards placing a value on authenticity.  Beneficiaries included products such as Harris Tweed.  The use of agents and intermediaries were helpful for premium heritage brands for selling and physical transactions; they wanted sales pitches from authentic artists; storytelling and long relationships worked well
  • a member with positive experiences with SDI noted that relationships worked best when all parties were in regular contact.  SDI provided invaluable local knowledge
  • traditional models were not always working.  It was important to look at other markets and be aware of how businesses shift (e.g role of net-a-porter).  The centre of excellence for training in textiles in Hawick was mentioned as a positive development and the need for progress on this was highlighted
  • distribution platforms for video games were international.  It was important to think in an international way.  It would be helpful if SDI could keep track of specialisms within sectors including games.  This had been undertaken well by International Tayside
  • people were more aware of the UK and London than Scotland as a place of products and services.  This asks the question how do you get the message out there that it is made in Scotland?

Mr Hepburn noted that a number of themes had emerged during the meeting: there was a need for a more coherent level of specialisation in our agencies and a need to reflect on who can facilitate visits, whether the right persons were being deployed, a need to understand the market, it was important to keep pace with change – the turnover of officers may challenge this, there was a need to think about specialisation, measurements of exports and internationalisation should include services – though there was a recognition that there was a constant challenge in measuring things.

Ms Hyslop noted ongoing work with Japan and the Japanese Olympics and prospective cultural elements.  She noted the international connections of the drinks industry.  She considered that there was a lot that different economic sectors could learn from the creative industries – not all of them were undertaking international work.

Ms Hyslop noted that she will be discussing internationalisation with Mr McKee, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation.  She suggested that consideration should be given to distribution and supply chains and how we can assist them as well as encouraging learning and skills sharing with other countries.

It was suggested that the discussion on internationalisation should continue at a later meeting.

Scottish National Investment Bank Sub-Group

The Co-Chair advised that he would provide a more detailed update on the work of the Sub-Group as the next stages of the bank progressed.  Since the last meeting he had held conversations with senior people relating to the Bank.

The Co-Chair believed that the bank would be positively disruptive to the banking and business support landscape.  There was a need for the creative industries to feed into its development.  He considered that the sector would require smaller amounts of money, but that these would be transformative.  There was a need for a better understanding on the part of those implementing the bank’s plans     of what the creative industries were and what they did and that creative businesses were different from grant funded cultural organisations.  The Co-Chair suggested that it was important that the Group engaged with the development of the Bank.

Ms Hyslop considered that there was work to be undertaken to get the Bank to engage with and understand the creative industries.  There was also work for the sector to sell itself.

Mr Hepburn noted that the bank would not be radically different from a commercial bank but would look at longer terms for payment.  He suggested that there was a better need to understand the creative industries.

Action: the Scottish National Investment Bank should be discussed at the next meeting.

Creative Industries Policy Statement

A draft policy statement had been circulated for comment.  The Co-Chair considered that this was a very important opportunity to have a shared vision and for the Group to get behind the document.

Ms Hyslop noted that the sector needed to articulate what it was and to have a shared vision of why it is important.  This would make it easier to engage with others.  Other sectors, such as food and drink, which are also very disparate, have come together and developed a shared vision.  She thanked officials for drafting the draft policy statement. 

The following comments were made on the draft document: 

  • we need to ensure we celebrate what we are
  • we were no longer as much a country of innovators and mavericks - we should encourage these people and fresh, challenging and angry voices. Innovation was important
  • we need to know our destination
  • we need to consider the importance of language and recognise Gaelic and Scots
  • the phrase “incoming revenue generation” did not sit well with the reference to “intangible” - not all creative people were driven by revenue
  • on the reference to craft and antiques, these should not be grouped together but recognised as separate and different to ensure better clarity
  • references to apprenticeships in traditional crafts are important as these were key to the development of innovation
  • an ecosystem approach should be looked at
  • creative systems should be part of engineering. There are considered to be huge benefits to having design alongside engineering.  It was important to bring together creative subjects and STEM together – that relationship was key to the development of Glasgow 200 years ago.  Apprenticeships have a significant role to play in the digital economy
  • social enterprise should be recognised as it has an important role to play
  • references to clusters of creative industries, such as textiles in the south of Scotland, are important in the statement 
  • the section on screen reflects what is happening now rather than looking forward onto the future.  It is also focused on inward production.  It is important to get content made about Scotland and from Scotland as well as branding.  On screen, the middle paragraph was not as ambitious as the text around it 
  • it is welcome to see that diversity is included in the document – diversity in the creative industries can enable social change especially as skills development is often based on apprenticeships and mentoring 
  • welcome the multiple points of engagement, e.g. for skills.  STEM subjects could be taught through the creative industries – creative culture can embed through society
  • the statement could reference creative businesses’ strength and ability to think differently in terms of business models (our thinking is 10 years ahead of others).  Links to entrepreneurial are important
  • the document should celebrate our honesty and passion
  • the document should also consider who the document’s readership is
  • the role of creativity in health and wellbeing should be included
  • traditional skills in modern society are important
  • it was generally agreed by those members who provided comments that the document was a great start and was headed in the right direction

Ms Hyslop stated that she would like the document to be endorsed by group. She asked the group to think of the document’s audience; that the document should reflect ourselves as a sector, our vision and our future thinking; reflect the success of today and what the creative industries can contribute to the emerging economies of the future.

Action:  Members were asked to provide comments on the draft document within the next fortnight.

AOB and date of next meeting

The group will next meet on 25 September 2019 in Edinburgh.  Members were asked to provide suggestions for venues. 

It was suggested that the next meeting will continue to focus on education, under the theme of “creative education”.  Other items could include the Scottish National Investment Bank.  The Group will come back to Internationalisation at a later date.  A further suggested topic was creative industries for the future.

Ms Hyslop suggested that any items under the AOB should be submitted in advance.

It was noted that Glasgow School of Art has been re-ranked as eighth in the world.

The Co-Chair thanked the members for their strong attendance.



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