Move follows criticism from Scottish artists
LONDONCreative Scotland topper Andrew Dixon has ankled following months of criticism of the arts funding body, it was announced Monday. Dixon, who took charge of Creative Scotland on its creation in 2010 when Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council merged, will step down as CEO at the end of January. The decision follows heavy criticism of the body’s management and decision-making from local artists and arts orgs. On Oct. 9, 100 artists, including author Ian Rankin, playwright-artist John Byrne and actress-scribe Andrea Gibb, signed a letter to chairman org Sandy Crombie, stating, “Routinely, we see ill-conceived decision-making, unclear language, lack of empathy and regard for Scottish culture. “We observe an organization with a confused and intrusive management style married to a corporate ethos that seems designed to set artist against artist and company against company in the search for resources.” It also called for a fresh start for Creative Scotland. The arts agency, which has an annual budget of more than £75 million ($120.8 million), came under renewed fire in November after it erroneously assigned blame for a $483,000 investment in horror comedy flop “Love Bite,” which grossed just $203,000 in the U.K. from 180 screens, to its predecessor, Scottish Screen. Dixon’s decision to leave comes just days ahead of two events: Wednesday’s board meeting at which two internal reports aimed at improving operations and relationships with artists are to be presented, and the org’s first awards ceremony on Dec. 13. In a statement, Dixon said he was “proud of what has been achieved since the merger,” however he acknowledged his failure to connect with local artists. “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,” he wrote. The search for a replacement will start immediately.