“Never waste a good recession”…

..was the advice from Michael D. Higgins, former irish Culture Minister, at last nights seminar on the Creative Economy at the Parliament, hosted by our culture supremo Mike Russell.  Higgins meant that as the neoliberal market paradigm collapses around us its a good time to reassert more enduring values and goals in the cultural industries.  Erudite, poetic and fiercely intelligent, Higgins recapped on the Irish experience of building a strong cultural portfolio in Government, setting up the second Irish Film Board, the Irish language broadcaster TG4 and the dangers of letting culture be subsumed under the ‘how does this help the economy?’ banner.

Mike Russell spoke of the need, in the debate around the setting up of Creative Scotland to ‘move on’ from talking endlessly about structures although he didn’t quite clarify exactly what we should be talking about though he picked up on a lively exchange between Lesley Riddoch and the BBC’s Ed Sayer around whether the broadcaster had succumbed to the cult of celebrity earlier bemoaned by Higgins.  For Russell (as for many of us) Broadcasting in Scotland can’t move on significantly until Parliamentary oversight for it moves to Holyrood.

Scottish Screen CEO Ken Hay looked forward to the more joined up Creative Scotland and the opportunity to work more closely with other arts and creative sectors, but then he doesnt really have any choice as we were reminded by the Minister once again that the Creative Scotland train has left the station and by another contributor that the only real questions are where it is heading and what class we are travelling.  Perhaps not the most appropriate analogy for a body charged with widening access and participation but there you go.  Next stop….?

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