Andrew Dixon to stand down at end of January
Under-fire Creative Scotland chief executive Andrew Dixon is to quit two-and-a-half years on from being appointed to the post, it has been announced.
Relations between the funding body and Scotland’s wider arts community have become increasingly strained in recent months since a funding shake-up was unveiled earlier this year.
Dixon, who, on taking up his role in May 2010, oversaw the creation of Creative Scotland through the merger of Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council, today intimated his disappointment “given my track record, not to gain the respect and support of some of the more established voices in Scottish culture”.
In October, one hundred leading artists, including the likes of Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead and Ian Rankin, signed an open letter citing the “deepening malaise within the organisation”.
“Routinely, we see ill-conceived decision-making; unclear language, lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture,” said the letter. “We observe an organisation with a confused and intrusive management style married to a corporate ethos that seems designed to set artist against artist and company against company in the search for resources.
“This letter is not about money. This letter is about management.”
Dixon will leave Creative Scotland at the end of January after completing a programme of handover and transition support, confirmed the body.
In a statement released this afternoon, the outgoing chief executive said: “It has been a privilege to have been involved in the early years of Creative Scotland and to have worked with such talented and dedicated staff, but I now feel the time is right for a change of direction for both myself and the organisation.
“I am proud of what has been achieved since the merger. We have delivered new resources for the arts and established strong partnerships with local authorities, broadcasters and many other agencies. The Year of Creative Scotland, The Guide to Scotland’s Festivals, a new capital programme, the Creative Place Awards and the recent Luminate festival have shown the potential for all parts of Scotland to play a part in the creativity of the nation.
“I have been disappointed, given my track record, not to gain the respect and support of some of the more established voices in Scottish culture and I hope that my resignation will clear the way for a new phase of collaboration between artists and Creative Scotland.
“I have, however, also received much support and generosity of spirit from people in the arts and culture community across Scotland. I have been grateful for the tireless support of Fiona Hyslop and many others in Government. I would also like to thank Sir Sandy Crombie and the rest of the Board who volunteer their time and expertise so willingly.
“The staff team at Creative Scotland is exceptional and, despite recent strains, they continue to demonstrate professionalism and a true passion for the artistic and creative life of Scotland. I wish them all the very best.”
In June, Dixon and Creative Scotland chair, Sir Sandy Crombie, issued an apology amid concerns caused by plans to shift focus toward project-based funding – a decision set to see some 49 arts organisations lose regular funding from next year – and committed to delay the move by six months.
“The concerns have substantially, though not entirely, been caused by the speed of change which has been over-ambitious, and we apologise that this has inadvertently caused anxiety amongst a number of arts organisations regarding their future,” they said in a letter to all arts companies affected by the change.
Members of the senior management team will report to Crombie while interim arrangements are established and a new chief executive is sought.
Crombie, added: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Andrew for his stewardship of Creative Scotland since its inception. As a new organisation with an extensive remit, there have been inevitable challenges during this period and Andrew has consistently led the organisation with energy, passion and enthusiasm. He has also taken every opportunity to be a vociferous champion and advocate for Scottish arts and culture.”