Undertaker’s stiff the public purse for £6,000 arts grant

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CREATIVE Scotland is under fire again – for offering an artist £300-a-day to work in an undertakers.

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Staff will be helped to explore their own “journey”. Photo: Peter Laing

The lucky artist will receive £6,000 plus expenses for a 20-day residency at a funeral home, helping those who deal with the dead “explore their own journey”.

The government-funded agency caused a storm earlier this year when it awarded an artist £15,000 to live in Glasgow for a year.

An advert for the undertaker project was posted on the Arts and Business Scotland website, titled: “Artist in residence (Creativity at Work Opportunity)(Contract).

The advert stated: “This residency would suit a storyteller, writer or wordsmith who would help staff of the organisation to explore their own journey in this caring but emotionally taxing profession, giving them a voice through a new medium.

“The end product would hopefully be an honest, heartwarming and insightful piece of work with real engagement from all, demonstrating to the workforce that they bring to the business who they are and not just what they do.”

 

Challenge

 

It adds: “This could be a challenging but rewarding opportunity to engage deeply with stories of dealing with bereavement on a day to day basis.

“The business hopes that the residency will help to unify its workforce in a commonality of compassionate care and experience.”

The artist will also be provided with “space” and “appropriate working conditions” as well as travel and related expenses.

Glasgow-based painter Peter Gillies, 35, believes Creative Scotland give too much money to the “select few”.

He auctioned off 70 paintings and worked full time in a stained glass studio for a year to self fund his current artistic visit to Japan.

He said yesterday: “I’ve given up wasting time looking at Creative Scotland anymore. It’s a shame that’s the situation, but I’m not wasting my time bashing that brick wall.

“I had a artist networking evening recently and with 70 Glasgow artists in the room not one had applied for any kind of funding, or applied/taken part in a residency.”

 

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The end product would “hopefully” be a honest, insightful, and heartwarming piece of work. Photo: Peter Laing

 

A spokesman for Taxpayer Scotland said: “Art is always allowed to be bonkers, but this is beyond the pale.

“There’s no reason to use tax money to run arbitrary ideas. It makes a mockery out of artists. “

He added: “We should not be using public money in this way.”

Creative Scotland was slammed after it was revealed Londoner Ellie Harrison would be paid £15,000 for her “Glasgow Effect” project.

The quango today refused to identify the firm of undertaker’s taking part in the project because “not all the staff know yet and it’s a sensitive subject”.

She added: “This is a taxing, emotionally-draining journey through the artist and we’re not ready to disclose that information yet.”

 

Funding

 

The project will be paid for through the Arts & Business Scotland creativity at work programme, which is funded by Creative Scotland.

Chief Executive of Arts & Business Scotland David Watt said: ““The Creativity at Work programme is an important strand of our work which has proven over many years to be fulfilling for both the artist and the business partaking.

“This particular opportunity will place a storyteller, writer or wordsmith within an organisation to help staff explore their own journey in this caring but emotionally taxing profession.

“This residency, far from making a mockery out of artist, presents them with a unique opportunity to engage with business professionals within a challenging yet rewarding profession.”

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