The Scottish Screen (or is it ‘Screen Scotland’?) dug is dead.

Today sees the official birth of Creative Scotland and the demise of the Scottish Arts Council and, according to the Press Association , as dutifully reproduced on the Herald and other newspaper websites around the country, something called ‘Screen Scotland’. (It would seem that the old newspaper practice of checking agency copy is now a thing of the past.)

Those gathered at last night’s farewell do in Glasgow for departing Scottish Screen staff and those who came to work today for their new employer, Creative Scotland, had the opportunity to swap reminiscences about the ups and downs of the agency’s thirteen years (91 in dog years so quite a good run) and look forward, albeit with a certain amount of trepidation, to the new era.  As a former Scottish Screen employee myself I’d be the last to say that it was an unalloyed success.  Some of the good intentions behind the joining together of the Scottish Film Council, Scottish Film Production Fund, Scottish Broadcast and Film Training and Scottish Screen Locations were at best only partially fulfilled and the operational silos that persisted in some areas only really began to be dismantled with the arrival of its third and final CEO Ken Hay.  That said, the ‘Golden Umbrella for films by Scots’ as the Herald put it back in 1996, did shelter a lot of good work and sustained the bare bones of a film industry still struggling to achieve critical mass. 

The task facing Creative Scotland (and as one of its newly installed Board Members that of course includes me) is to build on Scottish Screen’s (and its predecessors’) achievements; identify new/better ways of supporting screen work and the people who make, show and benefit from it; and pull together the various national, regional and local players who can make both screen culture and industry stronger.  More of a ‘big tent’ than an umbrella you might say.

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