Under-Fire Culture Chief Leaves Post; Dixon Upset by Lack of Respect from Artists

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Byline: David Whetstone Arts & Entertainment Editor ? 0191 201 6366 ? david.whetstone@ncjmedia.co.uk

ANDREW Dixon, who moved north of the border after holding two influential posts in the North East, resigned yesterday as chief executive of Creative Scotland after the organisation was slated by Scottish artists.

The former boss of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and Arts Council England, North East took up the highprofile post in 2010.

The announcement of his resignation followed the October publication of an open letter critical of Creative Scotland which was signed by 100 leading Scottish arts figures including crime writer Ian Rankin, national poet Liz Lochhead and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music.

The letter, addressed to chairman Sir Sandy Crombie, expressed "dismay at the ongoing crisis in Creative Scotland" and complained of "ill-conceived decision-making, unclear language, lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture". The signatories emphasised that their grievance was to do with management rather than money.

They stated that the arts are one of Scotland's proudest assets and that resources were best managed in an atmosphere of trust which was "low and receding daily".

Edinburgh-based Creative Scotland was founded in 2010 as a development agency for the cultural industries, merging the activities of Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council.

In the summer - echoing Arts Council England's shake-up of last year - some 49 Scottish arts groups were told that their regular revenue funding was to end.

The move sparked a furious row which has continued to rumble.

In a statement yesterday from Creative Scotland, Sir Sandy said: "As an 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. …