End of Year Message from Iain Munro

2021 is not ending the way that any of us would have wanted. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues and the Omicron variant is accelerating, it has been another year of unprecedented challenge for everyone working in Scotland’s creative sector and across society as a whole.

As CEO of Creative Scotland, it has been inspiring and not a little humbling, to witness the determination of the creative community to work together through these challenges, with the support of Government and the National Lottery.

It was with welcome relief as the year wore on that the sector was able to open its doors again, working carefully to deliver public programmes of activity within the public health protection measures in place. Everyone was delighted to have live arts and in-person creativity back in their lives, safely, and with confidence.

The sector was tentatively starting to recover and now a new variant of the virus has us in its grip as we approach the peak of the festive season and what should be a joyful time of year. Once again, people and businesses in the creative sector are facing deep uncertainty and risk, particularly at the time of year that is so important for their annual income.

The Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on 22 December of £21 million in additional emergency funding for Scotland’s culture and events sector is very welcome. Details of the first round of this funding for creative freelancers who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income because of cancellations and deferrals caused by the pandemic is now available and will open for applications on 6 January - visit the Covid-19 Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers page for more details. Details of support for organisations and venues will be shared in January.

This is a challenging road we are travelling together, but we will work hard with everyone in the sector to pull together again and overcome the challenges that this new wave of the pandemic presents.

On that note, I’d also like to recognise the impressive work of my Creative Scotland colleagues over the past year, who have worked tirelessly and with such dedication and focus to deliver the support needed, at volumes way in excess of that delivered in any normal year.

The Covid-19 rollercoaster seems never ending but we must get through this to, once again, ensure we are able to gather in cultural spaces to enjoy Scotland’s rich, diverse and world-renowned art and creativity, and to celebrate all that they bring to our lives, in so many different ways.

In the meantime, please continue to look after yourself, your family, friends and community.

On behalf of everyone at Creative Scotland, I wish you all a peaceful and safe festive period.

Iain Munro