Creative Industries Advisory Group minutes: September 2019

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

Attendees and apologies


Fiona Hyslop – Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs (Co-Chair)

Creative Industries

Bob Last (Co-Chair) – Film Producer
Rachel Brown – Cultural Enterprise Office
Brian Coane – The Leith Agency / Institute of Advertising Practitioners of Scotland 
Simon Cotton – Johnstons of Elgin 
Jacqueline Donachie – artist, Glasgow Sculpture Studios 
Cameron Fraser – Ko Lik Animated Films 
Janice Kirkpatrick – Graven
Lorna Macaulay – The Harris Tweed Authority
Dougal Perman – Scottish Music Industry Association 
Richard Scott – Axis Animation 
Jenny Todd – Publishing Consultant 
Pamela Tulloch – Scottish Library and Information Council 

Scottish Government

Jonathan Pryce – Director for Culture, Tourism and Major Events
Diane McLafferty – Deputy Director, Culture and Historic Environment 
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 


Clive Gillman – Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland
David Martin – Creative Industries Skills Manager, Skills Development Scotland
Andre Reibig – Scottish Funding Council  
Stuart Fancey – Scottish funding Council 
Alan McQuade – Scottish Enterprise
Susan McColl – Scottish Enterprise


Jamie Hepburn – Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Colin Anderson – Denki 
Alan Bishop – Creative Industries Federation 
Sarah Cameron – SENSCOT
David Eustace – Photographer and Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University 
Philip Hannay – Cloch Solicitors 
Chris Hunt – Freelance Creative  
Lucy Mason – Arts Manager/consultant (formerly National Theatre of Scotland) 
Jane Muirhead – Raise the Roof Productions 
Polly Purvis – ScotlandIS
Carol Sinclair – Carol Sinclair Ceramics
Alex Smith – XpoNorth 
Willie Watt – Nicoll Russell Studios 
Tony Webster – The Modern Institute 

Tom Craig – Entrepreneurship Policy
Liz Ditchburn – Director General Economy 
Iain Hamilton – Creative industries Manager, Highlands and Islands Enterprise 
Hugh Lightbody – CosLA  
Mary McAllan – Director for Economic Development 

Items and actions

Item 1. Welcome and Introductions

Ms Hyslop welcomed the members to the sixth meeting of the group. She thanked Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop for hosting the meeting. 

She noted that the agenda was designed to continue conversations from previous meetings: an update from the Scottish Funding Council; links between education institutions and industry; diversity. Ms Hyslop considered that the latter topic was an important one for the group to have. 

Ms Hyslop thanked Polly Purvis, who is standing down from the group, for her work on the group. She also thanked the group members for their work on the Creative Industries Policy Statement which will be published later in the year. She had received support from the other skills and economy Ministers for the Policy Statement. 

Ms Hyslop mentioned a number of her recent engagements related to the creative industries. These included her speech at the MacTaggart dinner at the TV Festival; a meeting with the panel and host from the Casting Disability Workshop in the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and contributing to the Design Project for Scotland. She also noted that the First Minister had held a roundtable discussion with representatives from the publishing sector. Mr Hepburn had launched the Future Skills Action Plan alongside the Programme for Government. 

Item 2. Minutes of Previous meetings and Matters Arising 

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

Actions from the last meeting:

Ms Hyslop thanked members for their comments on the Creative Industries Policy Statement. 

Ms Hyslop met with Karen Watt, the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), in early May. Bob Last had met with SFC officials which had helped shape the agenda for today. 

Item 3. Update from the Scottish Funding Council 

Creative Education had been discussed at CIAG since the group first met in 2017. There was a need to continue the discussion on it.  Discussions had already led to the insertion of the paragraph to the ministerial letter of guidance for the Scottish Funding Council in 2018, a direct outcome of CIAG’s work. 

Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at SFC, gave a presentation on challenges in Creative Arts education and what the SFC is able to do in response. 

The points were made in the discussion that followed: 

  • The presentation was welcomed by members. 
  • The creative industries is largely composed of micro-businesses, making it  difficult to find one unified voice and to collect data. 
  • There was recognition that the SFC was aware of the complexities of the issue of creative education. 
  • There was a general trend towards collaborative work spaces which had been caused by digital context, digital tools to communicate, remote working etc. This was helping to push people with disparate backgrounds to get beyond silos – which was important. 
  • Studio was important for art and design and was very valuable. However, the ratio of staff to pupils had decreased in recent years due to increased student intake. Larger studios were needed for classes. However, what you could do with larger groups was different to smaller ones. The studio model had been successful. It was important that the SFC recognised the value of studio working as it was expensive. The quality of the work environment affected the quality of work that was produced. There was a need for young people to learn to take and challenge criticism.
  • One member expressed concern that the allocation system of UCAS tariff points for creative subjects as compared with STEM subjects made this discriminatory for creative subjects. 
  • RCS was an exemplar of excellence for music. There were lots of places that formally and informally were making music, with art schools being considered a hotbed of activity. On the industry side, networks underpinned creativity. Vocational courses were structured and helped the creative process; informally they were difficult to capture. 
  • There were a lot of publishing courses in Scotland. Their quality varied from institution to institution. The number of students graduating was disproportionate to the number of jobs available but their calibre was overall very high. They often had good practical skills but lacked understanding of the industry business model. This could be resolved by bringing in experienced speakers from industry. 
  • Advertising brought a range of people into the sector. Recruitment in this sector was more diverse. 
  • Ms Hyslop noted that as the former Education Secretary, outcomes were powerful. In the summer she had attended a RCS event where she spoke on innovation. Humanities and culture courses were important in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She considered that innovation came from collaboration and the use of spaces. She noted that if lab work was the research of science then art practices and studio work were the research of culture. 

Item 4. Creative Education

The co-chair introduced the topic of Creative Education. He suggested that there may be a sense that further education (FE) and higher education (HE) institutions did not reach out and engage with industry practitioners and that this needed to happen more at an individual institution level. 

In discussion, the following points were made:

  • The Scottish Music Industry Association was talking to HE and FE institutions in Scotland to contribute to education courses and match makers with employers. 
  • Art schools should be more representative of the population of the country. Not all art graduates would, however, be able to get a job in the arts. There needed to be a clearer connection between practice and what they were doing as well as the post-graduate level MFA (Master of Fine Art) course and to tailor skills in a more useful way. 
  • One member’s business was interacting with HE institutions. The current system was ad hoc; an easier way to engage would be through a structured approach. However, a  one size fits all approach would not work. There was agreement among members that there needed to be a balance between structured engagements and ad hoc arrangements. Degree Shows were an important way to engage. A key question was how do we help people to connect to businesses who require creative skills but do not identify themselves as creative businesses. 
  • The ad hoc way of bringing in graduates and other students meant that businesses possibly did not get the best talent. Structured interventions were needed as well as awareness raising of opportunities. 
  • Universities varied in the way they engaged and in their effectiveness in doing so. This could lead to the development of projects which could not otherwise be justified in terms of business costs and which were of benefit to both the institution and business. 
  • Groups such as Interface were helpful in making first introductions. It was helpful for specific universities to develop engagements with industry. Direct connections with institutions was very important. A greater understanding by industry of how educational institutions operated would also be helpful and would help each. Early engagement, for example at the course development stage and as students passed through a course would be valuable: engagements should occur in years 1 or 2 rather than 3 or 4. The expectation from businesses should not be that engaging with educational institutions is cost effective but valuable in another way. 
  • There was a need to ensure that students had a better understanding of business including the wider supply chain. There was a better need for graduates from other areas such as textiles to have training in technical skills and a basic understanding of textile manufacturing. The Cultural Enterprise Office had undertaken a creative boot camp with RCS, QMU and GSA on creative entrepreneurship which it considered was a step change. It was important that external professionals went back into education. However, the budget to bring in external and part-time lecturers had often decreased while artists were not always paid to visit institutions. In the college sector there was less leeway between core teaching in budgets. 
  • Micro business needed people who were not just good at their discipline but had a range of skills. 
  • Academic partnerships could pose issues for businesses as they were arranged around the academic year rather than the business year. 
  • Students with meta skills were able to develop other skills very quickly. Drawing was an important skill that students should be taught. Solid skills were needed in design. Older students coming into education were usually rich in meta skills. The changing nature of employment meant that it was important to encourage a second career, broadening the reach and age range of the students and the talent pool.  There was a large talent pool available that was not only restricted to graduates. Experience was important. The SFC was considering lifelong learning and was looking at practical ways to support it. 
  • Long term strategic partnerships between industry and education institutions were important. This was important for example in ensuring that graduates had technical skills (e.g. textiles) not only for businesses but also for the country as a whole. There was a need for an attitude in managers and to get more confidence in managers; this could be challenging. 
  • There was pressure for space in libraries – this was analogue to studio space. These could provide a neutral, creative space. The “Create Space” at the University of Dundee included drawing facilities which students could discover. However most university libraries were also pushed for space. SFC was asked to look at library space. The increasing number of students was making pressure on studio space. 
  • Having more students without more funding created problems.

Ms Hyslop commented that there had been a valuable conversation which should be continued at a future meeting; there should be asks to focus the discussion. She noted that the Public Libraries Strategy looked at council and school libraries; university libraries should also be looked at. There was a need to understand design skills and manufacturing skills in the digital age and not only computer skills. The co-chair agreed. Ms Hyslop noted the valuable discussion that had taken place – this is what she wanted from the group.

The Co-chair considered that underlying critical thinking skills were important. There was a need to explore how research thinking could be incorporated into the school curriculum. While there was value to the ad hoc nature of recruitment in the creative industries there was a need to have a more structured means of recruitment.  The co-chair asked members to consider who to invite to a future meeting from the educational institutions. 

Item 5. Diversity

Ms Hyslop introduced the agenda item on diversity which impacted on all of us in society globally. She noted that under the current First Minister 50% of the Cabinet were now women, an important shift. The public sector was leading on gender equality. Class issues were also important. 

In discussion, the following points were made: 

  • It was important to attach monetary value to a career in the creative industries. It appeared that the creative industries were dominated by people from a middle-class background; education could change this. 
  • It was not evident to children what a career in design was while parents did not see it as a career and did not understand it. Well-off families wanted their children to go into professions such as law: creativity was not seen as a safe bet  while textiles was perceived as having a risky economic background. There was also a lack of understanding of the opportunities that were available in the sector and a need to raise awareness of these from primary school onwards. Mature students were important and so too was getting people back into the sector. 
  • Economic diversity often underpinned other forms of diversity. 
  • Gender diversity was the biggest issue in the textile sector. Flexible working had been tried in this sector. Role  models were needed for female workers; it continued to be a gender divided industry.
  • Equality of opportunity was important. Alternative strands of recruitment such as engagement with Leith Academy could be productive; such engagement had led to a Modem Apprentice being recruited by one member. There was a need to have equality of opportunity and for equality of women on shortlists which helped to change embedded biases. 
  • Ms Hyslop agreed that this worked well to create a platform for opportunity. The reduction of economic disadvantage was really important – and more could be done in Scotland. 
  • There was a perception that the creative industries were more liberal and therefore more diverse, but that was not always the case. 
  • There needed to be an understanding of the way that work was changing. As hours could be long in the creative industries, it was harder to have flexible working. However, there was a need to more fully embrace this new way of working. Women often wanted to work flexibly. 
  • It was important to look at the number of funded places in the art schools. Early careers in the arts often involved unpaid work. People from working class background could not always afford this. It was asked how could we bridge work so that people would not drop out of the creative industries or go to work elsewhere? 
  • Ms Hyslop suggested that it was important to look at wider access; the   education sector was able to measure this criteria. It was important to be able to measure who was attending the schools and from what background. 
  • One member said that their business had a diverse team as it relied on talent from an international pool. However, it was recognised that this did not help to bring a diverse selection of local people to local businesses. Ms Hyslop agreed that we could not rely on importing diversity. 
  • A lack of diversity became apparent after students came out of education and required funding for their first project. They often needed additional support or funding from their families; some were unable to provide that assistance. It was hoped that this position would change. 
  • There was a perception that there was a liberal environment in the creative industries. However, the economic environment meant that the creative industries were not always doing as well in terms of diversity as they could be. It was important to develop an understanding of the job opportunities in the sector which started at primary school. 
  • Ms Hyslop observed that the low birth rate in Scotland meant that there was a smaller pool of people in Scotland and that migration was important. 
  • One member noted that their parents did not want them to go into their chosen sector. Eleven years ago it had comprised 99% men; women were at the low skills end. That position had changed greatly and there were now female leaders in the sector. Strong case study materials sent to schools were encouraging more talented young people to work in the industry – that sector was a career of choice for young people.
  • It was suggested that publishing was perhaps the least diverse sector. It was very middle class and had a largely female workforce apart from leadership roles/grades. Entry level jobs were very low paid and very London centric. Although there were good jobs in Edinburgh or London, people needed to be able to afford to live in these places, thus encouraging the middle class to work in the sector. Extra support for businesses outside major cities to hire staff could provide good opportunities: we had businesses with jobs which needed skilled people but had difficulties attracting workers because of their location. 
  • Ms Hyslop added that Place was an important consideration for Scottish Enterprise. The Scottish Government was looking at councils where depopulation was an issue. She asked if there was a Scottish way to tackle demography, economic pressures and geographical location? She suggested that we could identify places to focus on and use them to deal with lots of different agendas.
  • Ms Hyslop asked how do we collectively tell success stories with the aim of improving diversity? Collective storytelling was more powerful than individual stories. People were more likely to believe they could have a career in the creative industries when they were told stories about ‘their place’ – the Scotland in which they live. There was currently similar support through Screen Scotland. It would be good to tell the story of the world of work today and talk about opportunities at both primary school and high school. 
  • Ms Hyslop suggested that the creative industries had many strengths that could mitigate shocks of EU Exit disruption. However, migration was key and was a big issue. She noted that some progress had been made on the settled status fee; Scotland had led a lot of this work. She considered that it was important for us to think about our present economic situation .
  • Gaelic was more than just a language: it was a cultural perspective. There was some good quality Gaelic broadcasting with a lot of connected people with lots of ambitions. 
  • It would be good to bring in the trade houses with their significant resources, and to get people from colleges together. There were a lot of good people who were not being valued: apprentices and college students should be valued, just as graduates were. 
  • The co-chair commented that there had been an interesting discussion. He suggested that the group should come back to this topic at a future meeting. 

Item 6. AOB and Date of Next Meeting 

The Design Council had issued statistics which suggested that the number of students studying GCSE design subjects had declined in recent years by 79% in England and Wales. In these countries there was a deficit of designers. However, the value of design in the fourth industrial revolution was clear. 

Officials shared statistics of the number of secondary school pupils in Scotland studying design subjects. These were more positive: the numbers of pupils studying design subjects at Intermediate 2, Scottish National 5 and Higher were broadly stable when considering increase in the total number of students. 

Ms Hyslop suggested that these statistics should be interrogated. The Curriculum for Excellence provided more range and depth, with the result that more pupils were staying on to the sixth year; there was also more space and time for pupils to take up design subjects. She considered that it would be useful to look into how many design subjects were taken in fifth year as compared to sixth year, and how these statistics related to the subjects that students choose to study at university. 

The co-chair thanked the observers for their attendance. 

He advised that the next meeting will be held on Wednesday 4 March 2020

He considered that for the next meeting the group could think about industry engagement with Higher Education and Further Education and actions could be sought. He considered that the discussion on diversity should also be followed up.



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