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Scottish and Celtic Music Discussion
Scottish Arts Council awards Scots Music Group £75,750
Simon T
Posts: 8666
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 15:39
Congratulations to the Scots Music Group who are celebrating a share of almost £800,000 to connect people through the arts and encourage long-lasting links between people, places and ideas. Part of the Inspiring Communities - SMG were given funds to fund Homeless and isolated people in the Edinburgh area who will have new opportunities to take part in Scotland’s living traditions. Working with a range of Scotland’s singers, musicians and dancers and a number of partner organisations, the project will provide hands-on workshops for new learners over an 18 month period. Amount awarded £75,750.

Read about the other funded organisations.

Posts: 1670
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 16:02
Well done the Scots Music group and others who shared the £800,000 .
Does anyone know whether the other projects under Inspire and Inspiring Communities(Grossing about £7 Million) have been subjected to an external evaluation sufficiently robust to meet the standards required in other forms of scrutiny of expenditure of public money. The MacRobert , if I recall correctly , received the offer of £.75M for a youth theatre project for Bridge of Allan and environs-a wee bit of such a sum would have fostered quite a few traditional music tuition ventures
John Minging
Posts: 268
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 16:18
Yes it is great news and congratulations to a thoroughly deserving organisation.

I had previously noted when the initial award was made and am again looking at the terms of what SMG had to do as part of the application, and recall the amount SMG previously received from SAC for providing the exact same service minus the mention of homeless people, even though homeless people were not excluded from the services provided. Does this mean that SMG's programme for non-homeless is unfunded, but funded for homeless only?

Wonder if the inclusion of homeless people is a requirement of the application?

Well done though, great idea and there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Posts: 1670
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 16:35
I recall that a forum member on an earlier thread produced a list of the buzz words which had to be used in the application...creative,inspiring,cutting edge etc etc and had to incorporate groups (quite rightly) who had difficulties in gaining access to the arts.The process seems to have been a trite convoluted from the first set of applications -word around the wine bars frequented by SAC folk around these august offices is that Inspire and Inspiriing Communites kept a lot of potentially troublesome people glued to their laptops filling in 20 page applications for money which they hadnt a hope of receiving while the Creative Scotland courtship was being enacted in the wings??
Posts: 14820
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 17:47
SMG prefer to do all their communication "online" or by e-mail these days. So, I trust all the homeless people will have their own lap tops and credit card accounts to enrol in these workshops.
Posts: 544
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 17:59
Well Done!!! Glad to see my checklist of grant application buzz words came in handy!


Posts: 14820
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 18:15
Well done, of course.

However, John's question

"Does this mean that SMG's programme for non-homeless is unfunded, but funded for homeless only? "

deserves an answer, i.e Is all of this extra funding required to be spent on the homeless?
If so, then is the organisation and its present programme really any better off than before?

John Minging
Posts: 268
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 19:01
JAJ - thanks for picking up on that because it actually goes to the very heart of the relationship between lowland trad organisations and SAC.

It seems unlikley that the £75k would be required for the homelss element only (though I could be wrong). Rather, the "extra" above the previous SMG grant of £58,607 may be directed towards pulling in homeless people whilst the other normal activities get funded from the rest of the pot. I could very well be wrong here!!!!!

Now I know that after the parliamentary demonstration SAC addressed the TMSA, SMG and STDT and "somehow" found some additional transitional 1 year funding (or else we'd all have been done this year I suspect). We all had to apply for it and it wasn't £300k Linda Fabiani was told, it was business as usual.

So here we are at the it only lowland trad organisations that have to come up with albeit worthy but left of centre ideas in order to be publicly funded by our national cultural body? How many of us would have thought to go down the homeless route....come on be many.......brilliant idea.

But think about it..............what does this say about SAC and its relationship with lowland Scotland and its music and song heritage? Would an HIE area organisation have to include the homeless in their applications (as opposed to want to include, which of course it might)? Do the equivalent HIE organisations do anything radically different from what SMG did, before the homeless application was necessary (because SAC removed funding from all similar lowland organisations)?

The answer appears to be advocacy. Brilliantly and diligently undertaken by our Gaelic colleagues these last 25 years or so. We have so much to learn from them.

If you don't get organised, SAC won't listen (I've been told as much and indeed the demonstration showed it - the release of a pre-demo SAC briefing to MSPs, which actually and presumably unconsciously proved the points the TMSA were making, and the "discovery" of one year "transitional" funding proved what can be achieved). It is a difficult situation because as typical Scots we are easily divided. The TMSA and SMG have relatively little official interaction with each other - a complete travesty. We need to shout as one, the effect would be so much greater - synergy in fact.

But for me what is disappointing is that the lowland trad culture, just by its very existence, doesn't appear to have any gravitas within our own national cultural funding body - realistically the only public body lowland trad organisations can turn to for financial help. Someone, somewhere is making the decision not to listen and/or doesn't actually care.

Posts: 2043
Posted: 18-Feb-2010 22:01
Beautifully put, John . I'm a supporter of SMG , and sometime tutor there, but when I heard initially of this proposal, my heart sank. Why should Scottish culture have to press the appropriate politically correct buttons in order to get funding from national bodies? And, on the other side of things, what makes the SAC think that Scots music and song will be high up on the 'want' list of homeless and socially isolated people?
None of it rings particularly true to me. I'm absolutely delighted that the SMG have got funding - they're very deserving and a great lot - but the ' way in' seems insulting to all concerned.
Wendy Weatherby
Posts: 12
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 09:41
I heartily agree with those who have commented on the ridiculousness of the funding situation and the "hoop jumping", but I can also offer some insights which may answer a few questions.

The SMG ran a pilot project before submitting the full application, funded by the SAC. I was one of two SMG tutors who visited several projects, doing up to 3 sessions in each project. We offered folk the chance to engage with trad music, song & dance in a whole variety of ways, none of which I hope were in any way patronising. We also spent time talking to people, rather than just turning up and trying to impose what we were offering.

We met folk who used to play/sing/dance but hadn't for years, folk who had always wanted to have a go, folk who thought it was ok and, of course, folk who weren't interested - the whole range. It definitely showed that there are people out there who would like the chance to get involved but who need more support in this than those Community Education calls "traditional learners".

The project is separate from the SMG's main programme and as such the funding is separate. So the main progamme is still unfunded by SAC...

I think it's very worthwhile, wish it every success, and keep my fingers crossed that the hoop-jumping doesn't interfere. If the SAC are looking for "creative" & "inspiring", I hope they get to hear the man at the Bethany Trust group who sang the most beautiful bothy ballads....

Sarah Northcott

Posts: 69
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 10:47
I've some sympathy with the frustration about funding. See the traditional arts working group report- it's all covered in there with a recommendation that core funding needs sorted.

SMG had it's bid for continuation of its core funding turned down by SAC. This new cash to SMG is 'ring-fenced' and can only be spent on the Inspire project. This project and funding is not a round about way of replacing core funding. As Sarah says, it's for a separate project. SMG has a tradition of spawning excellent projects like this- eg Fiddle Festival, Youth Gaitherin. SMG itself was a successful spin off from the Adult Learning Project.

The loss of core funding has taken its toll, but SMG is still afloat, thanks to its members, staff, and the excellent tutors who support it.

Also, without a paid administrator, SMG is now relying on a fantastic team of volunteers. Admin is done online wherever possible to keep overheads to a minimum and allow work to be handled by whoever is on the case.

The continuing life in SMG and projects like Inspire show an organisation that is working well and in good health. They are a sign of success and to be celebrated.


Posts: 1670
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 11:39
This is a beautiful illustration of the sheer madness involved in the establishment of the massive Inspire and related Inspiring Communities funding stream of £8M to initiate a relatively small number of incredibly expensive projects while trusted and worthy grassroots organisations struggle in gaining access to core finance to keep the show on the road.A visit to the SAC website re the projects funded under this stream makes interesting reading.I am now going via the political route re the evaluation of the outcomes of this major investment of £8M which should have gone to mainstream grassroots organisations who already provide an excellent and innovative range of projects and are linked into their communities
Posts: 285
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 13:45
"What do you call a tradtional musician without a GIRL/BOYFRIEND????????????"

So employing Trad musicians will stave off homelessness!

Its a good start weel done abody!

Posts: 69
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 13:54

Whatever you think of the programme and politics of funding, I wanted to make it clear that SMG is keeping the show on the road, and taking advantage of what is available to develop an existing bit of work which went really well according to those involved.

And as our fishman says, the cash is going to people who are working in trad music, and not into SMG overheads.


Posts: 14820
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 14:09
Jimmy McBeath
Posts: 1670
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 16:42
Funding -Derek
Just to clarify on my part I am delighted that SMG received funding for this project.My moan centres on the scale of funding given per project for the first lot of awards under Inspire and I am sure a number of them have merit but I believe some of the cash would be better used consolidating core funding of the precious network of traditional music projects and folk clubs;


Young people aged between 12 and 17 years old will work with national and international artists in film, music and other artforms to plan and programme their own festival.
Inspire award: £712,500
Total project cost: £1.1 million.

Puppet Animation Festival(nationwide)

In partnership with the Puppet Lab, Big Man Walking is a 25ft puppet which will stride through Scotland to unlock our stories of mythology and provoke celebrations in the communities he visits.
Inspire award: £450,000
Total project cost: £612,243""

I think both projects have merit and indeed I recall the sheer magic of the MacRobert with the Bothy Band there in full flow -one of my folk highlights-but these projects were allocated a lot of dosh.
The caveat is that perhaps traditional music organisations did not submit project proposals of sufficient merit according to the conditions specified but....

Posts: 3461
Posted: 19-Feb-2010 17:42
It's the conditions specified that are the flaming problem though! That and the continued inability, or downright refusal, of those who control the funding to understand what the hairoil we are talking about!
Posts: 14820
Posted: 20-Jan-2011 12:19
Any update on how this project is progressing and whether or not it has been a success?

Has this award been of any significant benefit to The Scots Music Group itself(apart from..perhaps... increasing its public profile) or its regular students?

Tattie Bogle
Posts: 3849
Posted: 21-Jan-2011 00:03
Should hae been at the AGM on Monday JAJ if you wanted to know!
Posts: 14820
Posted: 21-Jan-2011 15:34
No doubt you'd have been there, TB.
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