Creating Inclusion: New fund tackles under-representation in the arts, screen and creative industries

Published: 23 May 2019

Ben Lunn

Today, Thursday 23 May 2019, Creative Scotland has announced the first round of recipients for £285,000 funding to increase the diversity of people in the arts, screen and creative industries.

The Create:Inclusion Fund backed by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, has supported sixteen awards ranging from £5,000 - £42,000. The programme supports activities that enable personal progression, development of creative and professional practice, and opportunities to take professional and creative risks.

The sixteen supported individual practitioners, organisations and networks across the country include The Bothy Project in partnership with artists collective Transmission will host a series of residencies for eight BAME artists at Sweeney’s Bothy on the Isle of Eigg; folk musician David Nicholson, who identifies as being on the autistic spectrum will embark on a period of professional development with top fiddle players; poet Ellen Renton will create new work based on her experience of living with albinism; Rabiya Choudhry will create a pop-up visual art installation in Glasgow co-curated with other female BAME artists and Scottish-Kenyan performance storyteller Mara Menzies will create new work about heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua told through the eyes of his mother and the challenges she faces raising children with Nigerian values in the UK.

Ando Glaso Transylvanian Ceilidh

Iain MunroActing CEOCreative Scotland, said: “When the arts and creative practice are reflective of, and made by, a diverse range of people and communities, they are more relevant to more people across Scotland.  This new dedicated fund is an important step towards achieving this ambition and helping increase the diversity of people building careers in the arts, screen and creative industries.

“We had an exceptional response to this fund with an overall request of over £2.8 million across 164 applications against a budget of £285,000.  These first awards demonstrate a breadth of practice, diversity of perspectives and ambition that reflect the rich cultural life of Scotland.”

On receiving funding, poet Ellen Renton commented: “I want this project to challenge ideas around disability, and albinism in particular. It combines disability theory and history research with my own experiences to tell a story about what it's like to live with a visual impairment in today's society.”

A spokesperson from Transmission said: “As part of our curatorial strategy working towards networks of mutual care and solidarity, this new collaboration with Bothy Project intends to create time and space to open this further, specifically for those who are currently under-represented in the visual arts.”

While visual artist Rabiya Choudhry commented: “It's fantastic that the Creative Scotland inclusion fund is there to help me realise this project. I look forward to presenting the result next year with a talented group of female BAME artists.”

Petre Dobre

The Create:Inclusion Fund represents one of a series of measures being undertaken through Creative Scotland to mainstream equalities and address the numerous and complex barriers to access, progression and representation in the arts, screen and creative industries.

Since publication of Understanding diversity in the Arts Survey and the Review of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion within Scotland’s Screen Sector, Creative Scotland has been working with partners across the country to deliver change outlined in the Ten Year Plan ‘Unlocking Potential, Embracing Ambition, and subsequent Annual Plans.  There is now a more robust evidence base to identify gaps and support further activity to deliver Equality Outcomes, improving the mainstreaming of EDI policy and practice in all Creative Scotland activities, and funded projects and organisations.

The next round of Create:Inclusion funding will launch in November 2019 with a January 2020 deadline. For updates please sign up to our newsletter.

The Desi Bravehearts

Further information on Create:Inclusion funded projects:

  1. ANDO GLASO was established in 2017 to encourage greater understanding and participation in the cultural heritage of the Roma people in Scotland. Funding will enable the development of the monthly Roma cultural events in collaboration with the CCA, Glasgow. Through public Transylvanian ceilidhs, concerts and workshops, they will establish a cultural hub and a network for Roma performers, dancers and musicians. (Funding Award: £20,887)
  2. The Bothy Project in partnership with Transmission will provide a series of funded residencies for eight BAME artists at Sweeney’s Bothy on the Isle of Eigg. The residencies will provide a developmental opportunity for BAME artists to have access to a rural Scotland with much needed space and time to focus on their own practice and/or pursue a line of research and development. (Funding Award: £23,760)
  3. Glasgow based dance group the Desi Bravehearts specialise in South Asian dance and musicforms.  Funding will enable the group to strengthen their provision of quality creative opportunities in South Asian Arts, raise visibility of the organisations work and enable them to work more strategically. (Funding Award: £12,500)
  4. Scottish-Pakistani visual artist Rabiya Choudhry will research, develop and present a pop-up visual art installation in a southside shop space in Glasgow co-curated and presented with other female BAME artists. Each of the artists involved will be working with fabric as a medium, making a wider comment about the nature of womanhood, identity and the fragmentation of our society at large. (Funding Award: £27,490)
  5. Emerging Deaf director, Petre Dobre will undertake a period of mentoring support working with established directors Gill Robertson (Catherine Wheels), Dougie Irvine (Visible Fictions) and Julie Ellen (Macrobert Arts Centre). Developed by engaging with young deaf audiences, Dobre will create and showcase a new theatre piece.  (Funding Award: £19,079)
  6. Highlight Arts work with emerging and established artists and cultural practitioners from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, the UK and Scotland uncovering stories about people and places affected by a range of conflicts from inequality, prejudice, war and environmental issues.  Funding will enable Director Sara Shaarawi to develop a new business plan, mission and methodology for Highlight Arts. (Funding Award: £39,117)
  7. Scottish-Pakistani actress, comedian and writer Lubna Kerr will research, develop and present new theatre work Tick Box - a part-autobiographical story based on her journey in acting and stand-up comedy as an older Scottish-Pakistani woman. Kerr will be mentored by Jen McGregor (playwright), Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir (director) and Mark Jeary (producer). (Funding Award: £10,632)
  8. Glasgow based composer and musician Ben Lunn will research and develop two new musical works Quiet Hands and Can’t you see?.  Currently Trainee Artistic Director for the Hebrides Ensemble, Lunn is an autistic composer. Funding will support Lunn’s development as a composer, enable him to develop new working relationships. (Funding Award: £15,818)
  9. Award-winning Scottish-Kenyan performance storyteller Mara Menzies will research and develop a new piece of work about heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua. The story is told through the eyes of his mother Yetunde Odusany and the challenges she faces attempting to raise her children with Nigerian values while navigating the powerful cultural influences of life in the UK. The work will enable Menzies to explore the dynamics between traditional storytelling and digital technology. (Funding Award: £16,295)
  10. Folk musician David Nicholson will embark on a period of professional development, improving his playing through masterclasses with top fiddle players and attending events, festivals and workshops resulting in a showcase event with guest musicians. David Nicholson is a traditional fiddle player, who identifies as being on the Autistic Spectrum. This project will help address the lack of disabled musicians on the traditional music scene and help David develop his skills so that he can lead the way for others. (Funding Award: £11,739)
  11. RAJPOT is a Scottish Gypsy Traveller led project that seeks to foster inter-cultural relations between communities with indigenous and oral cultures, through the arts. Funding will support a public festival alongside a programme of organisational development which will enable them to establish a more formalised structure.  (Funding Award: £42,197)
  12. Edinburgh based poet Ellen Renton will research and develop a solo poetry performance Told in Parts featuring music, film, and movement based on Renton’s experience of living with albinism. This developmental project for Renton also strengthens voices of disabled artists in poetry and spoken word. (Funding Award: £4,919)
  13. Palestinian dancer and choreographer and Associate Artist at Dance Base, Farah Saleh will research, develop and premiere new work What My Body Can/t Remember and tour existing work Gesturing Refugees. Funding will enable Farah to develop further as an artist and take her works onto a wider, international platform connecting people with experiences of refugeehood and oppression. (Funding Award: £9,174)
  14. Scottish-Asian Creative Artists’ Network (ScrAN) will deliver a nationwide programme of activities focusing on career development and support for existing and future Scottish-Asian artists from a range of disciplines. This will include a mentoring programme for aspiring, emerging and mid-career artists, and a series of school workshops with BAME arts pupils to explore their aspirations and potential barriers to pursuing arts careers. (Funding Award: £11,025)
  15. Disability activist Karen Sutherland will take on a supported employment role as a trainee media practitioner with Media Education, Edinburgh. Sutherland will gain the skills and experience to create a high-quality body of creative work, offering her lived experience as someone with a physical disability and long-term health condition. The proposal is built around Sutherland’s ambitions and access requirements, demonstrating exemplar implementation of social model principles. (Funding Award: £15,730)
  16. The Zanana Project by Lapeyre & Lapeyre brings BAME creatives together to share learnings, facilitate conversations and provide training through panel talks and workshops. The programme including the Zanana Social, offers a valuable range of opportunities for BAME artists to realise their ambitions, develop their skills, grow their networks and support leadership abilities as well as providing an online platform to promote their work and practices. (Funding Award: £7,470)

Notes to Editors

1. The launch of the Create: Inclusion Fund follows recommendations made within Creative Scotland reports - Understanding Diversity in the Arts and Equality Matters - evidencing numerous and complex barriers to access, progression and representation in the arts, screen and creative industries.

2. The Fund seeks to increase the diversity of people in the arts, screen and creative industries. Applicants can seek funding to help them progress, develop their creative and professional practice, their capacity or to support them to take professional and creative risks.  Further information about the fund can be found here.

3. In order to provide a broad range of perspectives to inform funding decisions, an open call for external assessment panel members - who hold credible professional knowledge and expertise of equalities and diverse creative practice across arts, screen and creative industries - to work alongsideCreative Scotland’s specialist staff took place in February 2019.  The panel included Cate Ross, Kate Deacon and Thursa Sanderson, working alongside Gary Cameron, Head of Place, Partnerships and Communities, Creative Scotland and Milica Milosevic, Head of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion, Creative Scotland.

4. Create:Inclusion prioritises the professional and creative development of applicants who self–identify as sharing one or more protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010, and projects from groups or organisations which are either minority-led or which focus on working with and for those who share one or more protected characteristics. The Equality Act 2010 covers nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

Media contact: Sophie Bambrough, Media Relations and PR Officer, Creative Scotland | T: 0131 523 0015 / M: 07747 606 146 | E: