Creative Scotland chief Andrew Dixon quits post

Andrew Dixon: Head of Creative Scotland has resigned.

The chief executive of Scotland's national arts funding body Creative Scotland has quit his post.

Andrew Dixon will leave at the end of January 2013 following a period of handover.

His resignation follows a period of considerable turbulence in the arts world in Scotland which was sparked off by Creative Scotland's announcement earlier this year that a number of organisations were to lose their funding.

A campaign of criticism followed of both the manner and timing of the cuts, culminating in a letter, now signed by over 400 leading artists, questioning the role of the organisation in general and Dixon and the chairman, Sir Sandy Crombie, in particular.

Dixon was seen as slow to respond to the criticism, out of touch, and thirled to a dogma of investment and profit that had no place in the arts. Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop sent strongly worded letters to Crombie making it clear she was not impressed and telling Creative Scotland that she was not interested in it "commissioning" work, as Dixon had seemed to suggest.

On top of that, a ham-fisted attempt at an awards ceremony organised by Creative Scotland, featuring an all-male jury with tickets at over £100, well beyond the reach of most artists, was generally ridiculed.

It had been widely expected that matters would come to a head at a Creative Scotland board meeting later this week. But Dixon seems to have taken Lady Macbeth's entreaty to the attendant lords, after Banquo's ghost has ruined her dinner party to Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.

Crombie, said, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Andrew for his stewardship of Creative Scotland since its inception. As a new organisation with an extensive remit, there have been inevitable challenges during this period and Andrew has consistently led the organisation with energy, passion and enthusiasm. He has also taken every opportunity to be a vociferous champion and advocate for Scottish arts and culture.”

Dixon added, in what sounds like an admission of defeat: “It has been a privilege to have been involved in the early years of Creative Scotland and to have worked with such talented and dedicated staff, but I now feel the time is right for a change of direction for both myself and the organisation… I have been disappointed, given my track record, not to gain the respect and support of some of the more established voices in Scottish culture and I hope that my resignation will clear the way for a new phase of collaboration between artists and Creative Scotland.”

The Board of Creative Scotland will now begin the process of finding a new chief executive and setting up interim arrangements.

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