Vote for the
Voters across the country are being urged to ensure that the future of the arts in Scotland is kept ﬁrmly on the agenda at the forthcoming General Election. Nine rallies, one in every region, have been organised by arts lobbying organisation SALVO to create the largest campaign ever held in Scotland to place the arts in a political context. Each party has been invited to send a speaker, preferably the prospective parliamentary candidate from that area, to outline that party‘s commitment to the arts. In addition, the minister and each of the shadow spokesmen for the arts have been invited to the Glasgow and Edinburgh events which open and close the campaign.
‘We have argued, and will continue to argue, that the arts are central to the lives at people in Scotland, in economic terms
and also in terms of quality of lite and
notable shifts in emphasis, particularly in the role of local authorities and a Scottish
This pre-election push is the culmination of over ﬁve years of work spearheaded by SALVO director Eric Robinson. The organisation, which has no party ties, prepared a Manifesto for the Arts at the time of the 1987 election; further consultation with the hundreds of individuals and groups who make up SALVO’s membership has produced a revised Manifesto for 1992 with
Parliament. It is hoped that the rallies will provide a forum for challenging parliamentary candidates on the key items on the Manifesto, such as the
devolution of all the arts from Whitehall to Scotland, the revision of the structure and
‘ accountability ofthe Scottish Arts, Film, Museum and Craft Councils, and the introduction of tax incentives to encourage sponsorship.
Central to the Manifesto is the call for the creation ofa separate Cultural Department within a Scottish Parliament, an issue echoed in the Cultural Agenda launched last week by the
Scottish Trades Union Congress. Essentially a policy document which aims to inﬂuence the make-up of a Scottish Parliament, the STUC‘s Agenda draws attention to the many economic and social benefits the arts bring to Scotland.
‘We‘re not looking for a huge bureaucratic body 3 in a Scottish Parliament.‘ says Mary Picken, the STUC‘s Arts Officer. ‘What we‘re looking for is something that will be sympathetic to the needs of artists, arts organisations and the public, and there‘s no one currently proposing a structure that really does that. We have argued, and will continue to argue. that the arts are central to the lives of people in Scotland. in economic terms and also in terms of quality of life and cultural value. They‘re just as important in their own right as arguments connected with health, social services and any other area of British life.‘
While the advantages of having a Scottish base for the ‘strategic planning' of the arts on a broad cultural front are self-evident, a cultural department in a Scottish Parliament, with its own minister, would also play a vital role in developing direct links with Europe. Nevertheless, Scotland could only fulfil its potential as a player on the world stage if the level of arts funding was brought , up to that of its European neighbours. and ifthe 1 arts in general were given the political priority they are in other countries. As polling day approaches, voters and politicians should take time to reflect just how great a part a healthy arts scene plays in 3 the health of the country as a whole. (Alan Morrison)
In the lead-up to the General Election, SALVO has organised nine regional arts lobbies, to be held at: 18 March: Glasgow - Old Athenaeum Theatre, noon. 19 March: Inverness- Eden Court, 7pm.
24 March: Dumlries- Gracelield Centre, 7pm.
: 25 March: Aberdeen —Arts Centre, 7pm.
26 March: Stirling - Smith Gallery, 7pm.
30 March: Dundee —time and venue to be announced. 31 March: Galashiels- Old Gala House, 7pm.
, 1 April: Glenrothes-time and venue to be announced. 2 April: Edinburgh—Assemny Rooms, noon.
Further details from Eric Robinson on 031 228 3885.
"V CLIPPINGS i
I The Absolute Game: Few football fanzines get past the early rounds, and so it‘s something of a triumph for The Absolute Game to have reached its fifth birthday. From its early days as a few photocopied pages on the sidelines, it has grown into a 20-page, 3500 circulation bi-monthly magazine that is as adept at dribbling around satirical targets as it is at getting a result over the more serious aspects of the game. The anniversary bumper edition will be available near turnstiles across the country (£1).
I Mayfest: Now in its tenth year, the L___
4 The List 13 — 26 March l992
1992 Mayfest programme boasts an international cast of thousands. Highlights include a specially
commissioned theatre production of , Edinburgh District Council. has
resigned as a councillor in order to take up the full-time job of Senior i Development Officer with the
Scottish Arts Council. Mr Vestri.
A Drunk Man Looks At The Thistle to mark the centenary of Hugh MacDiarmid‘s birth, and a return visit by Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg. Top comedians Sean Hughes and Jack Dee will grab the mike, while in a classical vein. the BBC SSO, conducted by Sir Yehudi Menuhin, will perform the world premiere of Ronald Stevenson‘s Violin Concerto. The Festival takes
place in Glasgow between 1—23 May.
I Student Union Crisis: Massive cuts in the grant from Edinburgh University have forced Edinburgh University Students Association to consider closure of Chambers Street Union and the Students‘ Publication Board. The future ofthe Union building as a provider ofserviees at a time when student numbers are increasing and as an important arts venue during the Festival is now under threat, as are staff jobs. The Union Committee has started a petition which condemns the
mismanagement onto the students. I New Role lor Paolo Vestrl: The former Chairperson ofthe Recreation Committee of
who was councillor for the Shandon ward from 1984 until 27 February 1992. will head the SAC‘s
: restructured Planning and . Development Department where he
will develop links with local authorities and other national bodies.
I Needle Exchange Schemes:
Building on the success ofpilot
schemes in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Scottish Office is to give financial
support to pharmacist shops across ' Scotland in order to set up needle ' exchange schemes for drug users.
The countrywide expansion will help counter the spread of AIDS and
‘ hepatitis by encouraging ; pharmacists to supply fresh needles
and syringes, collect used equipment and provide basic counselling.
University authorities for passing the i I Wildcat Insolvent: Scottish theatre
consequences of its financial
company Wildcat is facing
liquidation due to an estimated deficit of£10(),()()() and the Allied Irish Bank‘s refusal to extend agreed overdraft facilities. The company‘s board has placed itself in administration. a move which has the support of its major backers, the Scottish Arts Council. Wildcat was due to receive a grant of£184,000 from the SAC in the coming year,
5 with additional fundingcoming from
Glasgow City and Clydebank District Councils. The company
, began fourteen years ago as an ' offshoot of7:84 Theatre Company.
I New Women’s Group: The average full-time weekly wage for women in Scotland is £187.20, compared to £276.40 for men. This is only one aspect ofwide sex discrimination to be tackled by Engender, a new
research, lobbying and campaigning
organisation which aims to bring the issue ofgender to the fore in Scotland. Engender is currently raising funds and will launch a full membership organisation this summer; in the meantime, further information is available from Engender, c/o Scottish Women‘s Aid, 13 North Bank Street, Edinburgh EH12LP.