Last month the ten recipients of a 30,000 [pounds sterling] Creative Scotland Award were announced. The awards encompass opera, performance and performance installation, filmmaking, writing, sculpture and musical composition, and among contemporary artists who received the prize this year were: Toby Paterson, whose new body of work will examine the built environments of Eastern Europe and the material impact of the sociopolitical changes occurring there; Stephanie Smith & Edward Stewart, who are working on a new body of 'live' sculptural installations exploring intimacy and threat, and Pernille Spence who plans a series of surprise interventions in the landscape along three of Scotland's busiest commuter rail routes.
Paterson is one of a number of Scottish artists that the Scottish Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson recently held up as defining 'who we are in a modern Scotland ... helping to put Scotland's cultural identity on the world stage'. In a bid to strengthen this view and emphasise the importance of working internationally for the creative development of Scottish artists and arts organisations, and raising the profile of Scottish arts internationally, the Scottish Arts Council and British Council Scotland have launched an International Arts Strategy, building on its presence at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2005, participation in the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the world music event Womex. The strategy includes plans for collaboration with other organisations involved in working internationally and the initiation of delegate visits to and from Scotland, as well as many other initiatives and new funding opportunities. At the launch Matthew Fitt read some of his poems that had been commissioned by British Council Scotland for its website.
In line with planned changes to the Scottish Arts Council (see Artnotes AM294), it has agreed that as from April 2007 it will change the ways in which funding is offered to its clients. …