Creative Industries Advisory Group minutes: September 2018

Minutes of the September 2018 meeting of the Creative Industries Advisory Group (CIAG).

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Ministers

  • Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs (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
  • Brian Coane, The Leith Agency / Institute of Advertising Practitioners Scotland
  • Polly Purvis, ScotlandIS
  • Eithne Ní Chonghaile, Museums Galleries Scotland
  • Lucy Mason, Arts manager/consultant (formerly National Theatre of Scotland)
  • David Eustace, Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University
  • Evy Caldwell-French, Creative Industries Federation (by phone)

Scottish Government

  • Jonathan Pryce, SG Director for Culture, Tourism and Major Events
  • James Muldoon – Head of Entrepreneurship
  • Elinor Owe, Team Leader, Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy
  • Jane Holligan, Team Leader Screen and Broadcast
  • Mary McAllan, SG Director for Economic Development 


  • 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
  • Philip McGuinness, Scottish Funding Council
  • Derek Horsbrugh, Scottish Funding Council


  • Lorna Macaulay, The Harris Tweed Authority
  • Dougal Perman, Scottish Music Industry Federation
  • Carol Sinclair, Carol Sinclair Ceramics
  • Jenny Todd, Previously Canongate Books
  • Pamela Tulloch, Scottish Library and Information Council
  • Willie Watt, Nicholl Russell Studios / Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
  • Andrew Dobbie, MadeBrave
  • Claire Forsyth, Glasgow Print Studio
  • Cameron Fraser, Ko Lik Animated Films
  • John McLeish, Museums and Galleries
  • Jane Muirhead, Raise the Roof Productions
  • Alex Smith, XpoNorth
  • Toby Webster, The Modern Institute
  • Diane McLafferty, SG Deputy Director, Culture and Historic Environment
  • Carolyn Rae, Head of Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy
  • Iain Hamilton, Creative Industries Manager, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Hugh Lightbody, CosLA
  • Colin Anderson, Earthbound games
  • Simon Cotton, Johnsons of Elgin
  • Philip Hannay, Cloch Solicitors
  • Chris Hunt, Scotland Re:designed
  • John Kampfner, Creative Industries Federation
  • Tom Craig, Entrepreneurship Policy Executive
  • Liz Ditchburn, Director General Economy
  • Heather Holmes, Strategic Policy Manager, Creative Industries, Screen and Media Policy

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions 

1.1. The meeting was opened by the Cabinet Secretary who welcomed everyone to the fourth meeting of CIAG. She explained that the agenda had been rearranged slightly to accommodate Mr Hepburn’s departure time. She noted a number of key developments in the creative industries, including the recent opening of the V&A Dundee, activity around Festival 2018 and the European Championships, the Culture Summit and the launch of Screen Scotland.

1.2. The Cabinet Secretary noted the agenda for the meeting, which was to continue the conversations on two emerging topics from the previous meetings:

  • what does success look like 
  • creative education

1.3. Jamie Hepburn, Minister For Business, Fair Work and Skills introduced himself to the group and set out his portfolio responsibilities, which include business, skills, women in entrepreneurship, and apprenticeships. He noted the economic growth of the creative industries and the important contribution to employment that the sector makes.

2. What does success look like

2.1. The co-chair introduced this discussion and asked members to speak to their contributions. He raised the question of whether a different sector, e.g. renewables sector, would have approached the question differently, would they have framed it as a difficult question?  Would they have been clearer in their responses? He made the point that the sector needs to reflect on what messages these contributions send to Government.  

2.2. In discussion, the following points were made: 

  • the difficulties around starting your own company was highlighted, including sleepless nights, lack of safety net and worry about where your wage will come from
  • the value provided by creative industries is complex and that there is a role for the sector to help articulate the measures that can capture this value
  • it was noted that this is a successful sector which is growing but it is perhaps not as robust as other sectors. Comparisons with a particular subsector in England suggest that the number of people employed in Scotland in this subsector is not growing at the same rate as in England
  • a further challenge identified was the diversity of business models and outcomes in the sector and the need to make sense of this disparity. Focusing on everything is not workable and hard decisions may have to be made. Design was raised as a powerful subsector
  • scale of organisations was highlighted as a further challenge. While the sector as a whole is substantial, most business are micro in scale
  • there was some debate about whether businesses were ‘fragile’ or simply small or medium by choice. It was not the businesses in themselves that were weak but the sector as a whole does not function monolithically with resulting  difficulties in bringing a focus and advocacy
  • success was described as including sustainability, longevity, being a good quality employer. Success can also be described as creating and building brands, which is something the sector does from nothing
  • the point was made about connecting with Scots dispersed around the world and internationalisation was identified as a potential future theme for the group
  • the rhetoric around growth was described as representing a narrow measure, not capturing more complex ambitions in the creative sector. It was highlighted that some businesses do not want to grow to 300 employees. The sector is not conventional and does not behave in a conventional way, growth patterns are  different. While some businesses may not be looking to grow themselves, they are looking for other business to grow and the sector to grow as a whole. The need for the support system to adjust to this view of growth was pointed put, as well as alternative metrics to capture different ways of looking at growth, e.g. reputation
  • the discussion highlighted the need for strategic interventions to be made at the right time, identifying what will make a difference, what will make the sector more robust, practical interventions
  • it was also noted that the sector has a strong cultural base which should be built upon
  • the question was raised- if creative industries are unique in the challenges they face, then how should Government and its partners respond to such challenges, including how to create more opportunities in Scotland
  • the pattern of people returning to Scotland was highlighted and the need to give these returners the right support
  • to prevent further capacity and opportunities being lost, the sector needs advocacy. Creative careers needs to be careers that are widely recognised and understood. The school curriculum was pointed out as key to this
  • achange in language of Government may also be needed. Rather than falling back on oil and gas and manufacturing to describe success, there is opportunity to describe new jobs, new possibilities
  • the Director for Economic Development outlined three priority areas around economic development: micro scale, skills and place. The ecosystem in the creative industries is redesigning itself and the rules may have to change. The question was put to the sector of how Government can help. Where should the support systems be developed?
  • it was suggested that this is the moment in time to try and influence how we do things
  • on design, the Cabinet Secretary said she liked the idea of a focus on and advocacy around design and a conference on design. Education, procurement were mentioned as key areas
  • creative industries were described as enablers, promoting growth in other sectors. Enabling, diversifying, unpredictable and surprising where words used to describe the sector
  • ensuring a strong bridge between creative industries and the cultural sector was highlighted as important

3. Summary of previous meeting and matters arising 

3.1. Members had no comments to the minutes from the last meeting. 

4. Creative education  

4.1. The co-chair invited Derek Horsburgh and Philip McGuinness from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to join the discussion. He explained that creative education was one of the issues that had been raised early on in the group. He opened up the discussion with the question of what creative education is according to the SFC.

4.2. In discussion, the following points were made by the SFC and CIAG members:

  • the SFC explained that institutions are autonomous and it is not in the SFC’s gift to tell them what to do. It is up to universities to manage demand
  • the question was raised whether institutions are constrained by the funding system and whether there are structural barriers
  • the SFC pointed out that some art schools, for example Duncan of Jordanston, are part of larger universities and therefore many of the funding issues are internal to that university. In terms of the funding universities receive for teaching, different subjects are allocated a price group with subjects that are more expensive to deliver (e.g. medicine) are in a higher price group than other subjects (e.g. history)
  • the point was made that the studio format of art teaching is expensive but very valuable
  • the question was raised of how we know that the 1.8 billion of spending that goes into higher and further education is having an impact, how do we know if it is delivering for the creative industries?
  • it was highlighted that art institutions are having to shoe-horn themselves into a format of assessment that does not work for them
  • the SFC explained the process by which Ministers send a Letter Of Guidance to the SFC. Based on this letter, the SFC creates outcome agreements with the institutions and the institutions are required to give an account of how they are spending the money. The SFC explained that the only subject area that the Scottish Government has highlighted to the SFC as a priority is STEM subjects and as a result institutions are asked to deliver on this. They explained that so far there has not been any direction in relation to the creative industries. If such direction would be given, this would be reflected in the outcome agreements with the institutions
  • in terms of how the outcomes are assessed, the SFC needs to satisfy itself that the institutions have done enough to secure the funding. This is done through group assessment, using an established formula that has been in place for some time. The SFC is of course always looking to improve how they do things
  • the question was raised of how, using what kind of measure, and who does the assessments in relation to the creative industries, as there seemed to be a tension between the opening assertion that the SFC funding did not shape how it was spent and the need for an assessment process
  • the SFC explained that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) conducts a peer-review among institutions to assess the quality of the courses and that there is a robust framework of teaching quality
  • research excellence is assessed using the UK wide research assessment framework. It is ultimately up to the funding body, such as the UK research councils, to decide about research assessments
  • it was suggested that institutions may not be reflecting things accurately to the SFC. The SFC suggested they have open and frank discussion with institutions about many of the issues raised are around funding
  • the point was made that we need to understand that the practice of research is science while the practice of creative industries is art. Practice is currently being compromised and we need to ensure that the balance between practice and research is right, we need to ensure we value the right things and align the SFC with strategic aims
  • points were made that art schools are able to recruit people with Masters degrees and PhDs but they often do not have enough practice experience
  • the funding landscape means it often easier to create and fund research positions than teaching positions
  • the SFC explained that they do not direct institutions. The split in their funding between research and teaching is set by the Scottish Government. Institutions can also get research funding from elsewhere, such as the UK wide research councils
  • the SFC went on to explain that there are 3 specialist institutions in Scotland (Glasgow School of Art, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Scotland’s Rural College) The Small Specialist Institution Grant recognises their unique form of teaching. Comparisons with institutions in England are not always helpful as their funding structure is different, where high performing institutions are being favoured
  • the question was raised of whether we are unintentionally constraining small specialist institutions, is there potential to free up what is expected of them?
  • the SFC explained that the relative balance of focus that institutions put on research excellence vs. student satisfaction varies between different institutions, some will have research excellence as their main focus
  • the point was made that students coming out of university are not ready for employment and working with business need to be more integral to their education. Often universities are not aware of what is happening in the business world. Event with initiatives such as innovation vouchers, you are still having to teach students from scratch. It was suggested a more elegant model is needed
  • the SFC made the point that they are working with Interface to improve links between universities and business. It is easier for larger organisations that have more capacity
  • it was highlighted that there is a feeling that art schools that are part of larger universities are being compromised. In response, the SFC pointed out that this is a matter for the institutions but it is often a question of the state of the finances. They recognised it is an imperfect system but there are also benefits to being part of a larger university, not just management of resources but also collaborations
  • the issue of contact time was raised, with a very small number of contact hours per week noted. The question was raised how this compares to other subjects
  • the co-chair summed up highlighting the two issues: graduates coming out of creative education are often not as good as they used to be and the balance between research and teaching is not right. With regards to the latter, if the imbalance is not driven by the SFC, what is it driven by? 
  • the Cabinet Secretary highlighted that there are a number of pieces to the puzzle: Government, the SFC, the QAA, and the institutions themselves. We need to think about who we can influence and how to find a bridge to industry
  • agood example was highlighted in one sector where a framework for learning had been created and graduates and non-graduates getting practical experience in the sector.
  • the point was also made about building connections with colleges and around apprenticeships to develop practitioners
  • the SFC suggested they are pushing for more work placed learning
  • the Cabinet Secretary highlighted that this was the start of the conversation. We need to ask ourselves what continuous improvement looks like and what are the things that we can practically do. How do we make sure we put more value on practice? She explained she will seek a meeting with the chair of the SFC
  • the co-chair suggested a paper from the SFC would be helpful, addressing the issue of research vs. practice  

Action points:

  • the SFC to provide a fuller response to the questions in writing
  • Ms Hyslop to seek a meeting with the chair of the SFC

5. Update on CIAG sub-group on Scottish National Investment Bank.

5.1. The co-chair gave an update on the work of the subgroup, including the discussions around scale (micro vs. SME), infrastructure, the existing business support landscape and how the bank might fit into this, intangible assets and intangible products, and risk. It was suggested a paper produced by the sub-group could feature at the next meeting in February. 

6. AOB and date of next meeting 

6.1. The group will meet next on 20 February 2018. It was suggested the V&A Dundee could be the location of the meeting. 

Action: V&A Dundee to be explored as a venue for the next meeting of CIAG by Creative Industries officials




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