Members Survey Report - Funding

Members Survey Report - Funding


Similar to previous years, this year’s survey asked members a series of questions about the types of funding they may or may not have received over the previous year...


Similar to previous years, this year’s survey asked members a series of questions about the types of funding they may or may not have received over the previous year. The majority reported that they have not received public funding in any form. This section provides an overview of the members’responses.

When asked if their work was externally funded (i.e. not from personal income/sales), from the 96 people who responded to this question, just under a quarter (23%) said that it was.

Nearly a third (29%) stated that they had applied for and received a private funding award (e.g. trust, foundation or sponsorship) in the past five years. The remaining three quarters had not.

A quarter (25%) of members reported that they had received public funding from Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life or other local authority grants in the past five years. The remaining 75% said they had not.


The members were also asked to reflect on Creative Scotland’s funding structures, specifically on how far they believe the structures understand and address the needs of visual and applied artists. Seventy-four people answered this question; one in every six (16%) answered that they believe Creative Scotland understands and addresses the needs of artists.

When asked to provide more context to their response members gave a range of reasons and highlighted their perceptions of Creative Scotland as an organisation. They mentioned the challenges around the application process, perceptions of organisational bias and a sense of disconnect with the sector.

The most common response, however, was around the challenges of applying for Creative Scotland funding. A few mentioned unsuccessful attempts at getting funding, describing the process as unrealistic, especially for artists who are often self-employed and work alone. Several suggested these poor experiences were compounded by the lack of support and feedback offered by Creative Scotland on an unsuccessful application.

“I feel it's a closed shop. You need a Masters to fill in the forms and the advice over the phone ispoor”

“Applications can be very lengthy, sections often overlap, and the time frames required forfunding plus shared percentage by artist are often unrealistic.”

Artists suggested there was some bias from Creative Scotland towards certain types of art and artists, gearing their funding towards larger organisations rather than individual artists. There was also a perception that funding follows trends, leaning towards what is considered fashionable.

“'I don't even attempt to ask any more – I’ve spent so many hours applying over the last few years and never got anywhere. It feels like I have morechance of winning the lottery.”

“They seem to support the narrowest established artists, rather than creating opportunities for emerging artists.”

“They seem to ignore visual art especially painting."

“The funding still seems to go to the privileged few. Those who know the correct jargon and buzzwords that Creative Scotland see as relevant for the moment.”

“Creative Scotland seem to show a clear disdain towards traditional and culturally important crafts. As a bespoke/custom sword and knifesmith, myself and the few colleagues I have in this shrinking field of expertise, have continually been shunned in favour of the contemporary artsand fobbed off with unsatisfactory reasoning behind the denial of our applications.”

Some artists commented on the rigidity of Creative Scotland, identifying its inability to flex in a way that recognises the diversity of the sector and the practitioners within it, and a general lack of understanding of how artists tend to work, especially those who work alone.

“Creative Scotland funding is not responsive to the needs of individual artists.”

“The whole structure isn’t fit for purpose and doesn’t take into account other demands of artists time.”

Three members made positive comments about Creative Scotland. They value the funding available and suggested there seems to be quite a bit of support if needed.

“The structures are very rigid and do not flex to allow for the very different ways we all make, show and share our work, skills and experiences.”

“Although I’m still processing, they were extremely helpful, and the structure appears to make sense to me just now”.


The Trends

This year’s survey questions about funding were slightly different from previous years, so direct comparisons are not possible for all areas. However, responses show that there continues to be a limited change in the number of members who have received public funding (2017 was 73%).

Since 2014 there have been small fluctuations in responses to the question “Do you believe theCreative Scotland funding structure addresses the needs of visual and applied artists?”. This year there was a slight increase of 6% (10% in 2017) amongst those agreeing that Creative Scotland does address the needs of visual and applied artists.

However, 50% (2017: 33%) more people believe the organisation does not address the needs of artists (this significantly higher figure may be explained by the absence of a ‘not sure’ response option as in previous years). Negative comments about the organisation continue to highlight criticisms directed at a perceived bias and issues with transparency and distribution of support across various art forms.

Download the full report here

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