SEALL Development Interim Report 2016

SEALL Development Options consultation: 2017 & beyond Creative Scotland’s Cultural Economy Programme CS1401-12003 Lucy ...

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SEALL Development Options consultation: 2017 & beyond Creative Scotland’s Cultural Economy Programme CS1401-12003

Lucy Conway

with additional material by Duncan MacInnes December 2016

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


SEALL Development Options consultation: 2017 & beyond


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SUMMARY SEALL has promoted around 1,500 events in its 25-year history and is now rated as one of the liveliest such organisations in Scotland. Its work has become an essential part of community life and is a major boost in local cultural tourism. SEALL’s success has relied heavily on volunteer input which cannot continue. In this report SEALL collates comments from across the local and regional cultural spectrum and assesses a variety of promoting models. It builds on the success of SEALL’s Cultural Tourism project and presents three options for SEALL to follow: a regressive move; a stand-still option and a developmental option. It explores the financial and management implications to better enable the SEALL Board to make decisions. The work was undertaken by Lucy Conway of Eigg on behalf of the SEALL Board, and took advantage of funding from Creative Scotland Cultural Economies project.

Front page - SEALL latest young recruit, Hana, helping her mother Jacqui Mackinnon – photo Sara Bain

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


INTRODUCTION SEALL has been operating as a community-led promoter organisation in the south of the Isle of Skye for 25 years. By 1991 Duncan MacInnes had a created a new programme of promotion while working at the Clan Donald Visitor Centre. With a great deal of community support, and after he left his role at the Centre, SEALL (an acronym originally for ‘Sleat Entertainments for All’ and now ‘Skye Events for All’ and meaning ‘Look! See!‘ in Gaelic) was created and promoted its first event on 11 May, 1991. SEALL has now grown from one person promoting a small number of events in a single venue, to a charitable organisation with a £100,000+ turnover, year-round programme of 60+ events, two Festivals, a part-time administrator, large team of volunteers and partnerships with local partners, education, community organisation and other venues. It is one of the largest community led promoters in Scotland and has won several awards, most recently as ‘Venue of the Year’ in late 2015 at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards. Geographically SEALL operates mainly in south Skye, mostly promoting in two venues in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College in Sleat, with occasional other use of spaces in Sleat, Broadford, Kyleakin and Tarskavaig. SEALL is recognised as a lynchpin promoter for Scottish, UK and international performers touring Scotland and the Highlands and Islands. Well-established artists, groups and national companies, as well as up and coming new theatre ensembles, bands, orchestras, dance, puppet companies and other performers all want to perform as part of SEALL’s programme. They have confidence in SEALL’s knowledge and reputation as a professional, friendly and supportive promoter with good technical and marketing support. In addition, SEALL’s relationship with its local audience and capacity to reach the island’s visitors mean performers can be assured of the best possible audience numbers. SEALL is contacted by many touring companies and organisations each year and can make quality choices. Some of these requests include SEALL as the only rural promoter on a National tour and for some the visit to SEALL is their World Premiere. Based on its experience and close relationships with these touring groups, and with local audiences, SEALL can promote a well organised, popular and high quality series of events, throughout the year. For the local community, SEALL ensures access to a high quality and broad range of performing arts experiences on their doorstep. With a 25-year track record in promoting live performance of music, dance, theatre, poetry, puppetry, circus and more, audiences have learnt to trust SEALL to provide them with work they know and enjoy, as well as new work or genres to try. By working in cross-art forms and in programming from broad appeal to cutting edge work for all ages that reflect local as well as national and international cultures, SEALL’s annual programme can be described as diverse, eclectic and innovative. Visitors to the south of Skye also form a large proportion of SEALL’s audience and this makes a vital contribution to cultural tourism in Skye and the north-west Highlands.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


SEALL’s programme is also a vital part of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s short course programme; providing events and cultural experiences to the 800+ visitors from the UK and overseas who come to the college each summer to learn Gaelic and traditional skills. In the financial year ending October 2016 SEALL received grant of £35,000 from Creative Scotland and earned an additional £34,000 from ticket sales, which, alongside further earned income of £12,000 and help in kind of £14,000 created a total budget of £95,000. “Congratulations on the award (‘Venue of the Year’ at the MG Alba Scots Trad Awards, December 2015) which is richly deserved. I cannot think of anyone more deserving as you have worked tirelessly over many years to bring a really interesting and eclectic arts programming to Skye. In so doing you and SEALL have created an audience and a culture of engagement with the arts which simply does not exist in other areas of the Island - a fantastic achievement of which, awards aside, you should be immensely proud.” Donnie Munro

The SEALL Board and Administration Alasdair MacAoidh, Marie Lewis (admin), Kath MacLeod, Duncan MacInnes, Chris Pendlebury, Frances Macdonald, Pam Allan, Rosie MacDonald, Eileen Armstrong Photo taken by Sara Bain, communications.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


THE FUTURE After 25 years SEALL has built up a long list of assets and achievements that back up its reputation as an organisation, rooted strongly in its local community while also playing a vital role as a national creative hub. It has developed its programme and infrastructure with support from a range of funders, local partners and volunteers. However, everyone who has been involved with the organisation, locally or from further afield, recognises that the vision and scale of what has been achieved has largely been down to its founding member Duncan MacInnes. Over 25 years Duncan has undertaken the role of SEALL’s Artistic Director and more. Supported by a part-time administrator, and with backing of a large team of volunteers and a strong Board, Duncan programmes and markets SEALL’s events, draws in funding, operates the lights and sound for visiting performers, and a myriad of other tasks from arranging accommodation to ensuring they have a welcome and memorable experience. However, with the exception of a small number of irregular honorarium payments over the years, he has provided his time and considerable expertise unpaid. This cannot continue. The advent of Duncan’s need to gradually reduce his active day-to-day contribution to SEALL and retire, without destroying the success of the organisation, offered the Board the opportunity to review SEALL’s long-term vision and development. With financial support from Creative Scotland’s Creative Economy Fund, the SEALL Board have spent much of 2015 and 2016 looking at how the organisation can best move forward, building upon past successes and securing a sustainable future. The consultation exercise outlined in this document has been a part of that process and has helped identify several options for taking the organisation forward within a sustainable framework. However, what is very clear is that the unpaid contribution Duncan MacInnes has made to SEALL over the years that has helped make it a success, is a huge gap to fill. Estimated to be around 3 days a week of voluntary time for most of the year, and up to 5 days during the summer’s Skye Festival, replacing Duncan with the same level of resource is a significant challenge. The unpaid contribution to management has been a significant factor in keeping SEALL’s costs relatively low by comparison to other organisations running a similarly sized programme of events. The use of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig venues at no charge for most of SEALL’s events has also made a significant contribution and meant that funding from Creative Scotland and others has been relatively modest when compared to organisations offering a similar sized programme. SEALL and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s symbiotic 25-year relationship is strong and mutually advantageous, but largely informal and un-quantified in detailed financial terms. This consultation has been an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge this and opened a new dialogue on how to develop the partnership in the future to the mutual benefit and growth of both organisations.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


What has been abundantly apparent during consultation and in reviewing SEALL’s future position is just how much SEALL contributes to the local community, cultural tourism and national cultural scene. Identifying how to develop a fully-paid professional management to ensure that SEALL can continue as a vital part of that infrastructure has necessarily focused around the potential for securing funding. In the current climate, this is a significant challenge. However, building on SEALL’s reputation and achievements, its positive and effective partnerships and track record for delivery, the consultation has revealed a great deal of respect and interest in helping support the organisation. To secure funding it will be important to extend the case beyond maintaining business as usual, to look at how what is delivered can be enhanced and developed to ensure future organisational, financial and creative sustainability. Building on those strengths to develop new revenue streams that add value to what the organisation currently offers to its audiences, partners, local community and visiting artists is key.

“My admiration for the superb programme you have created. It not only looks good but also does you good.”

A family audience at Alasdair Fraser’s Mammoth Fiddle Night.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


SCOPE OF CONSULTATION AND REVIEW EXCERCISE The consultation and review exercise, undertaken with a wide range of individuals, partners and stakeholders, focused on the following areas: •

Identify the scope and scale of the tasks undertaken by this largely volunteer-led organisation with a modest level of professional/paid support, to deliver SEALL’s current level of activity.

Determine what current staff, Directors, volunteers and partners are responsible for now and (with the resources available now or in the future) what capacity each has in order to take the organisation forward.

Offering three options for how the organisation might envisage its future management and delivery of events in Sleat.

METHODOLOGY The consultation and review focused on both desk-based and interview research by Lucy Conway. In addition, Duncan MacInnes undertook visits to similar cultural organisations – listed as * below INTERVIEWS 1)

Duncan MacInnes – SEALL


Alison Livingston – SEALL, administration


Eileen Armstrong – SEALL, Board of Directors

4) Frances Macdonald – SEALL, Board of Directors 5)

Janet Macdonald – SEALL, Board of Directors

6) Chris Pendlebury – SEALL, Board of Directors 7)

Pam Allan – SEALL, Board of Directors

8) Tricia Petrie – SEALL, volunteer 9) Unnamed SEALL, volunteer 10) Leah Jacques – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Short Courses Manager 11) Alasdair MacAoidh – Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Media Development Manager 12) Kath NicLeòid - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Gaelic Arts Officer 13) Boyd Robertson - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Principal 14) Decker Forrest - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Head of Music Department 15) Donal Angie Maclennan - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Head of Buildings Development 16) Angus Robertson – Sleat Community Trust, ex-CEO 17) Jane McDermott – Sleat Community Trust, Director 18) Ruaridh Graham – Sleat Community Trust and ex Sabhal Mòr Ostaig student 19) Sharon Campbell – Sleat Community Trust, Manager 20) Rob Ware – Sleat Community Council, Secretary 21) Arthur Cormack - Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Director 22) Donald MacDonald – Aros, Director SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


23) Emma Nicolson – ATLAS, CEO 24) Melanie Baines – Lochan, Board Member 25) Tarskavaig Hall Committee 26) Laura Mackenzie Stuart – Creative Scotland, Theatre 27) David Taylor – Creative Scotland (By telephone) 28) Lorna Duguid – Creative Scotland (By telephone) 29) Graham Reid – Creative Scotland (By telephone) 30) Emyr Bell – NEAT, CEO (By telephone) 31) John Laidlaw – Live and Local / NRTF (By telephone) 32) William Wilson – Lyth Arts (By telephone) 33) Jo Maclean – The Touring Network, CEO (By telephone) 34) Rhiannon McIntyre – The Touring Network, Manager (By telephone) 35) Woodend Barn, Banchory * 36) Emyr Bell - NEAT office * 37) The Buccleuch Centre, Langholm * 38) Kresanna Aigner - Findhorn Bay Festival Director * Attendance at two SEALL Board meetings and 2015 SEALL AGM DESK RESEARCH •

SEALL Reports o

Cultural Tourism in South Skye


SEALL LOOK/SEE Marketing Plan


SEALL Development Statements


Creative Scotland funding applications for the Events Programme and Cultural Economy.


Audience feedback


Audience figures and financial records

Survey how paid and voluntary staff allocate their time to deliver SEALL’s annual programme and other projects.

Context and background – Creative Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Touring Network.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


CONSULTATION AND RESEARCH FINDINGS ASSETS AND ACHIEVEMENTS SEALL has built up a considerable list of achievements and assets. •

25 years’ legacy

70+ events per year

Audience of over 5,000 per year

Average of 75 people per event (capacity 100)

Interest from major national touring companies

Reputation for quality and creativity

Embedded in the community

Offers opportunities for local talent

Broad and supportive local audience

Wide visitor reach

Award winning

The Skye Festival brand and partnership approach

The Skye Swing Jazz Festival and partnership approach

Originators of the Skye Book Festival, the Skye World Music Festival and the Skye Jazz Festival

Two-year Cultural tourism Project

Great host: of audience and of performers

Strong, active and involved board and membership

Committed group of volunteers

Support of funders

Office and venues

Website and social media

E-Mailing List with 570 local and 1,200 global subscribers

Cornerstone venue for touring to Skye, the Highlands & Islands, and Scotland

Role in nurturing new creative talent

Mentoring of new, young promoters

Playing an active and supportive part in working with other promoter organisation across the Highlands and Islands, independently and through The Touring Network

Active partnerships with local, regional and national organisation

Partnership with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

One of the busiest and most successful community-led rural promoting organisations in the UK

Creation and maintenance of the Sleat events and anti-clash diary

Finance and box office systems

Office and Technical Equipment

Marketing design skill-sets

Extensive Research and information base

“Good for the soul. Should be prescribed by the NHS!”

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


STAFF TIME and RESOURCE An analysis of the daily work of Duncan MacInnes and Alison Livingston (Financial Administrator) was undertaken over a four-week period to establish how much of their collective time was spent on tasks required to manage and deliver SEALL’s activity. Broadly the bulk of time was spent on: •

Core Programme: receiving offer, planning and scheduling events.






General Administration

Board management

Looking after Performers

Front of House

Box Office

Staff and Volunteers



Fundraising and Marketing are the two areas currently suffering from under-investment in management time. A lesser amount of time is spent on •

Vision for the organisation

Collaborative Programming

Working with Partners



Monitoring & Evaluation

Contributing to Sleat’s community and tourism sectors

Audience Development


SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


WHAT SKYE PEOPLE THINK… Contributions and feedback from the local community and partners is a crucial part in helping define the best way of moving forward. Generally, support for SEALL’s work and what has been achieved was extremely positive. There were however some concerns. On some issues, there was very much a case of… “On the one hand | On the other” •

Good number and range of quality events | There are too many events

There are lots of opportunities for community involvement | Duncan does too much and doesn’t delegate enough

There’s not enough Gaelic | The balance of Gaelic and English in the programme and marketing material is about right

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig venues are good and it nice to come to the same place to see different things | SEALL should use other venues too

Publicity and marketing of events is good (from the public) | There could be more joint marketing (from tourism/retail/professional arts sector)

SEALL benefits from having no venue hire & license costs | SEALL makes a significant cash contribution to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig through accommodation, bar, office rental income and contributes to the college’s role in the community and provides an incentive to student/short course sign up

Some statements were repeated by a significant number of local consultees saying, “I think… •

I’m worried SEALL might end when Duncan retires.

What has been achieved has happened over time, it’s impossible to support with volunteers now. It needs paid full-time staff.

SEALL is somewhere that middle-aged and older people use and go to.

SEALL does a great job and what it achieves is amazing.”

“SEALL . . . creating positive, enriching experiences for the locals, whose horizons are infinitely broadened; for the visitors, carrying good impressions back home; and for artists and performers who are well treated and supported in their efforts.”

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


THE PROMOTER MODEL SEALL, like many other promoters of arts events in their local communities uses a variety of occasional and permanent venues and offers a wide range of events. To enable better decision-making on SEALL’s development it is useful for the Board to look at other models - what and how much they deliver, to whom, how they operate and are funded - as well as local and performer feedback. Some promoters are run entirely on voluntary effort, some have paid staff and others, like SEALL have a combination of the two. Generally speaking, the larger number of events in the programme, of audience, performers, partners and stakeholders, the more the promoting organisation relies on paid staff. Details are given in the Appendix of the four samples of Promoting organisations: 1.

A N Other – a typical Highland rural promoter


Lyth Arts Centre, Caithness


NEAT – North East Arts Touring


Live and Local (John Laidlaw NRTF)

Kakatsitsi Master Drummers from Ghana - phot Rob Ware

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


SEALL’S FUTURE ~ THREE OPTIONS Through discussion with staff, volunteers, the Board, partners, local and national stakeholders, three options for the future development of SEALL have emerged. Each option requires differing levels of resources, resulting in very different outputs. The response from consultees to each of the three options was overwhelmingly consistent. OPTION ONE To reduce the scale and scope of what SEALL does and operate in a similar way to other small rural promoters While this option had a small appeal initially to a number of the consultees, it was rejected by almost all. Overall there is a great deal of pride in what SEALL has achieved and a recognition that what it offers the south of Skye has immense value socially, culturally and economically. This is not to belittle what small voluntary promoters in other areas do; SEALL began in very a very similar way, rather a recognition of what has been achieved and the huge gap there would be in community life if SEALL were to be reduced to such an extent. Reducing the programme to roughly an event a month was rejected by all as a backward step. All those who were consulted wanted to try and keep as much of what has been achieved as possible and to find a way to do that. OPTION TWO Deliver the same scale and scope of events by recruiting new volunteers. In breaking down what Duncan, Alison and the current team of volunteers, Board members and direct stakeholders do to deliver the current programme, it became apparent delivering that scale and range of activity with individual or teams of volunteers presents a significant capacity problem. The Board of Directors is there to lead the organisation, so new volunteers would have to be found. In common with many rural areas, the demand for volunteers to actively engage in the life of the local community in Sleat is very high. With many community groups, charities and social enterprises - some of which are quite large - finding volunteers in Sleat to dedicate time to manage any one or more of the tasks required to deliver the current level of programming was considered unrealistically ambitious and impractical. Even if volunteers could be found, the consistent view from consultees was that there would still need to be one person coordinating all the volunteers to ensure the programme was delivered efficiently and well and that the organisation ran smoothly. This coordination role is, in part, the role Duncan has effectively been playing in recent years; coordinating his own as well as others’ time. With his gradual departure, it is an opportunity for the Board to find a new way of coordinating all the different strands, without relying on voluntary effort which, at this scale, is not sustainable in the long term. Lastly, although some of the tasks required are already done by volunteers, there is nervousness that much of what Duncan currently does would need specific training or specialist knowledge. For the volunteers to find additional time to be trained, and for the organisation to find time and/or financial resources to secure a trainer or mentor, adds more pressure.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


OPTION THREE To professionalise the organisation with the employment of additional paid staff – the number of which and hours they would work would vary, depending on the operating scale of the organisation and any related projects. Although there was a view that securing funding for the employment of staff and thus increasing organisational overheads was a significant challenge, almost all consultees believed additional paid staff resource was the only way forward to secure and maintain what SEALL has achieved. They believed it would be the most efficient and effective way to exploit the resource already invested and reputation attained over SEALL’s 25 years. As a minimum, there should be two full-time paid members of staff, an Artistic Director and Administrator, mirroring the current situation and providing additional resource to undertake fundraising. However, if SEALL staffing were to reflect that of similarly sized organisation, there is also a real need for additional marketing and audience development work. Such development offers the organisation the chance to consider how new income streams and activities can exploit opportunities and/or address issues vital to the local community. Partners identified how the SEALL Artistic Director might contribute to shared aims and objectives, such as increasing skills and broadening access to creative activity, and to more people in the local area. This development would also enable SEALL to exploit the opportunities identified in the Cultural Tourism study. It would encourage greater participation in arts, culture and local community life by community residents and, indeed, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig students, who traditionally have been reluctant to participate in such activities. Based on the positive feedback and suggestions made during consultation, SEALL is in a position to achieve various long-term aims: •

New and increased audience numbers to well over 5,000 per annum

New performers and art-forms

New community engagement

Enhanced creative skills and confidence

Greater economic and social benefits for Sleat

Through supporting, extending and enhancing the programme currently delivered, and building on greater opportunities for partnership, SEALL can help achieve: •

Closer links and joint projects with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – for example a) working with the traditional music course in sharing visiting performers and tutors and providing opportunities for music students to programme the traditional music programme b) developing a new promoter/local rural producer module with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to develop the transferable skills involved in local promotion in younger people or c) develop the performance spaces within the college for the benefit of visiting performers, local community arts groups and college students and staff.

Marketing & promotion – complementary PR, social media, and joint marketing with local businesses, academic and community partners.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


Cultural Tourism – to expand upon and extend the recommendations outlined in the Cultural Tourism report, many of which have been developed, others which need additional time and financial resource to see completed.

Youth promoters – working with The Touring Network and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to encourage greater engagement with younger people by offering opportunities to become a promoter in Sleat and other parts of the north-west Highlands and Islands.

To support, train and mentor young producers and touring artists to help them better understand what promoters and audiences need and thus better exploit the opportunities touring and performing to live audiences offer.

In addition to possible development of venues within Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, there are also opportunities for SEALL to provide advice and support to venues in other neighbouring communities.

Collaborative programming and projects with community groups, arts organisations, artists and companies, academic and other partners in Skye and Lochalsh, the Highlands and Islands, or further afield

Producer of new shows/events – SEALL’s experience and relationships with some performing arts companies and groups have the potential to be developed into SEALL grown joint productions, produced to perform and tour in Skye and/or beyond. Opportunities to host concurrent youth promoter/producer internships or mentoring could also be explored.

Gaelic – from programming to print and more, new or extended opportunities to include and explore Gaelic further in SEALL’s work exist.

Associate Artists – supporting and hosting associate artists to help develop the performance programme and/or to produce new work - offers new opportunities for creative and community development.

Artist Residencies

Local Area Touring Network – from providing advice to services such as marketing, finance, box office or even programming, SEALL is well placed to provide support to small promoters in the Skye, Lochalsh, South Wester Ross and West Lochaber. SEALL could also operate in a similar way to NEAT or Live and Local, coordinating tours in the area, thus reducing administration for both touring companies and promoters and increasing audiences through joint marketing, publicity and PR.

Equipment and operator hire –demand for hire of sound and lighting equipment and operator in the local area could be further tested as could using the equipment to provide training to community groups, schools and other organisations.

Training provider – SEALL staff have a range of skills that could be delivered in short course to longer workshop or modular form, particularly to community groups and through other promoter and arts based organisations such as The Touring Network.

Mentoring for new promoters, youth promoters or established promoters seeking to develop or expand what they offer audiences or performing companies.

Speaker at conference and events

Develop and make better use of monitoring, evaluation and benchmarking and sharing knowledge and skills with other local organisations.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


It is not being suggested that all of the above are delivered as part of a restructured organisation, but rather that the list demonstrates the potential for earning direct income from selling products or services or for attracting funding to deliver on key targets that funders or other partners may have. As such the ideas listed above give an indication of some of the ideas discussed with consultees.

SEALL’s Facebook banner

Duncan MacInnes, Artistic Director

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OPTION ONE Option one suggests a massive reduction in funding requirement. However despite the reduction of volunteer time, it is very likely to lead to the almost total demise of cultural promotion in the area and a loss of 25 years of experience. OPTION TWO This suggests maintenance of the status quo, with ongoing financial needs at the current level, but with an extended heavy burden on volunteer input. This is unlikely to be achievable and again lead to the demise of cultural promotion in the area. OPTION THREE Option three has new, additional cost implications for SEALL. Adding paid staff to the organisation will add new expenditure and while there might be some additional box office income achieved as a result of having more marketing and publicity resource, venue size, low population and visitor seasonality mean there will always be a ceiling to box office revenue. There are some opportunities to increase income streams through selling services, but it is anticipated that the additional costs will have to be met through increased funding, primarily from Creative Scotland, SEALL’s current main funder. The number of staff, their hours and roles will depend on the availability of funding as outlined above. There is a minimum requirement of at least two staff members but SEALL could deliver substantially more on its current achievements and deliver more with a staff of up to five working on a full or part time basis or combination of the two depending on level of financial resource. To give an indication of what this might mean in terms of a funding target, an indicative budget has been drawn up based around the number of events outlined in SEALL’S programme application to Creative Scotland application for 2015/16, but adding in a similar number of full and part time staff as other comparable organisations on Skye and elsewhere in Scotland.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report



Programme and related accommodation and hosting costs

Office rent and overheads

Marketing materials, print, website, advertising and other publicity

Professional Artistic Director, full-time with responsibility for:


Programming professional touring programme


Collaborative events with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig




Initiating and running projects with local, regional and national partners


Vision and Direction for the organisation




Working with Board

Finance and Admin Manager, part-time with responsibility for: o

Financial management, reporting and banking


General Admin


Box Office and pre-sales

Technical Manager / Host, part-time with responsibility for: o

Welcome visiting performers


Sound & lighting in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig & other SEALL event venues


Sound & lighting for other organisation / events

Marketing Manager, part-time with responsibility for: o

Devising & implementing marketing strategy


Print and publicity


Website and social media


Joint marketing & cultural tourism

Community Engagement & Development Officer, part-time with responsibility for: o

Engaging and collaborating with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig students


Engaging and collaborating with Youth promoters / producers, particularly through the Touring Networks Get-In Project.


New and existing audience development


Volunteer training development

Development and Engagement Budget – to support work of Development Officer

Graduate placements/ internships: marketing, finance & admin, technical

Over a 12-month period this would increase SEALL’s expenditure by £82,400, from £105,000 projected in the 2014/15 budget (programme delivered by current volunteer Director) to £187,400 (programme delivered by paid staff). Aiming to increase income from box office sales, membership and other sources to £51,700, this would leave a funding gap of £135,700 to be found from Creative Scotland and other sources.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


It should be stressed that this budget is not a proposal for how the organisation should go forward, but rather an indication of the implications of taking on additional staff to meet the aspirations and opportunities identified during the consultation. The fewer staff or hours they work, the less the costs. However, there is a staffing resource point below which the organisation is not viable, so a balance between the minimum required to maintain SEALL’s activity at current levels and an ambitious programme for development needs to be reached. See Appendix 2 for Budget Details

Audience in An Talla Mhòr, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – photo Rob Ware

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


CONTEXT FOR DEVELOPING THE ORGANISTION IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE While there was universal support and agreement that SEALL should aspire to appointing paid staff to take over the previous volunteer work, it was recognised that the current climate is not without its challenges. Paid staff is the best and only way to ensure SEALL can continue to operate at its current level, but securing the funding to do so will be hard in the current context of: •

Funding cuts across the sector and region

High demand for funding from other organisations makes the funding environment very competitive

Within Skye there are many competing events and demands on time and money, so achieving box office sales as a significant part of the budget and/or as match funding will always be hard.

On the other hand, some of the challenges faced by the organisation, and indeed other organisations in Sleat and the North-West Highlands, are also a positive force. While SEALL’s vision, reputation and achievements support their case for funding a strong programme of work that provides access to diverse and quality arts in rural Skye to a local and visitor audience and continues to provide established and emerging performing arts companies with the opportunity to perform, a more robust organisation will also contribute to a local and regional context where: •

Sleat community’s heavy reliance on volunteers can be alleviated with paid staff taking some of the immediate local strain to find additional volunteer resources from an already stretched community. In the longer term the organisation can help support the development of existing volunteers and encourage new volunteers to come forward. Volunteers have always been a key part of SEALL’s success and one of the reasons the community feels such pride and ownership of the organisation and its achievements. Supporting volunteers with skills training can strengthen volunteer capacity in the local area, which in turn benefits both SEALL and other organisations.

With a need to develop skills and capacity locally and within the sector, paid staff will allow SEALL to work more closely in partnership with other organisations from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, The Touring Network and other community arts organisations such as Aros and Atlas to develop new skills development and CPD training in promotion, production, marketing and community arts. SEALL’s track record and reputation as a promoter with close ties to an academic body and based in a strong vibrant community, mean it is uniquely placed to develop new training modules and/or courses.

Expanding the organisation and taking stock of what it does and for whom allows SEALL to develop its commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. Some of the new opportunities discussed with consultees will enable SEALL to reach a wider audience and user group and to develop new relationships with an extended range of performers and companies.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


CREATIVE SCOTLAND MEETING AND FEEDBACK On 20 May 2016 Duncan MacInnes and Lucy Conway met with Laura MacKenzie-Stuart of Creative Scotland. Laura enabled us to look dispassionately and positively at our various options and make good suggestions as to how we would approach funding. She explained some of the processes within the Creative Scotland funding administration and offered some feedback after the meeting. This has helped the SEALL board to make decisions about which route to follow.

WHAT NEXT for SEALL? This Draft Report was presented to the SEALL Board, for its meeting on 29 June 2016. It was felt that this offered a good summary the development project so far. The report was discussed and it was suggested that : Option 1 would be a totally retrograde step Option 2 unviable, It was agreed that SEALL should pursue option 3 and work towards developing a Budget and a Business Plan. This was ratified by the whole board on 10 November 2016.

AN EXAMPLE OF OUR MANAGEMENT LIMITATIONS At the end of August 2016 our part-time administration manager, Alison Livingstone, was offered a full time post elsewhere. We were not able to fill this post for two months, which severely stretched our volunteer resources and was indicative of the pressures on the current limitations of management time. As a result the application for a new tranche of Creative Scotland funding was not made until 2 December 2016, for a start date of 8 March 2017, leaving a gap of 4 months between funding periods. This was not, however a financial disaster for SEALL: The budget for administration was carried over into November and December; The concerts arranged at the end of the year were largely self-financing; SEALL normally has a fallow period in January and early February; SEALL felt confident it can weather this period of limbo using some of its reserves.

ENTERING 2017 with CONFIDENCE SEALL was delighted to interview several candidates for the Administration and as a result now have two new shortterm, part-time members:

Marie Lewis who undertakes two days a week administration and finance. Marie is a trained artist who has since managed high quality visitor accommodation in Ardnamurchan and Skye. She had a good knowledge of the Scottish traditional music scene. Sara Bain provides one day a week communications and media support. Sara undertakes similar work for the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival and had good cultural connections across Scotland.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


The relatively small boost to SEALL’s administration has already paid dividends. The continuance of these posts after the end of April 2017 is entirely dependent on the success of our 2017 Creative Scotland funding bid.

A BUDGET for 2017 SEALL aims to undertake this development in two stages. 1. Year one (a 14 month period from March 20i7 to the end of April 2018) is based on a budget of Artistic Director

0.8 FTE


0.6 FTE


0.4 FTE

Festival Project manager 0.6 FTE for two months 2. Year two will aim to increase these to 3 Full-time Posts + additional Festival management. The application made to Creative Scotland is based on the proposed first budget above, for a grant of £89,000. A proposed 14 Month Budget for Creative Scotland is given in Appendix 3

AND FINALLY The next stage in the Cultural Economies Programme is to strengthen the SEALL Board in January 2017; revisit SEALL’s Marketing Plan and develop a Business Plan based on this first report by the end of 2017.

‘Ornithology’ with Strangebird Zircus in the main hall of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – phot Rob Ware

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


APPENDIX 1 ~ THE PROMOTER MODEL 1. A N Other rural promoter There are many small, rural promoters across the Highlands and Islands and elsewhere in Scotland that fit this general profile: • Promoting 12 to 15 shows/events per year • Volunteer led and managed • £5,000 to £10,000 budget – some of which might come from funding, but not always • Audiences of 20 to 60 for theatre/dance, 100+ for concerts and cèilidhs • Offering a mixed programme of theatre, traditional/world/classical music, dance and work for children. Some promoters also offer workshops and other audience participation opportunities. • Have limited marketing reach and, with the exception of festival type events that attract visitors, audiences tend to be mostly local. • Can use a variety of venues, but usually focus on one centrally located hall. Examples include Lochan, West Coast Arts, Ardross Hall, Inverie Hall, Glenuig Arts and other promoters who are members of The Touring Network. 2. Lyth Arts Centre, Caithness Lyth Arts Centre in rural Caithness operates from a converted village school, which now houses a multi-purpose arts centre with a fully-equipped 60-seat black-box studio theatre / exhibition space, back-stage facilities, a café and a new purpose-built accommodation annex for visiting performers and artists. Most of Lyth Arts Centre’s programme is devoted to presenting the work of professional British and international artists and performers. The centre also acts as a stepping-off point for local artistic activity. The main aim is to promote work of the highest standard and includes drama, dance, jazz, folk, classical and world music. In addition to the programme in the Centre, the organisation promotes events in other locations in neighbouring towns and villages. Lyth does not promote events in the winter months, but the artist-in-residence programme, based in the new annex, operates year-round. Lyth Arts Centre promotes 50 events and 6 artist residencies per year as well as a summer exhibition programme. It has similarities to SEALL: very local audience (fewer visitors), performers enjoy being there and while it has a rentfree performance and office space, they do have to cover overhead running costs. The scope and scale of Lyth’s programme and audience numbers are similar to that of SEALL, but Lyth Arts Centre has had more paid staff resources, with part time technical, finance and programming help supporting a voluntary Artistic Director. From 2016 Lyth is moving from having a voluntary Artistic Director to a paid one. Like Duncan, Artistic Director William Wilson also set up Lyth Arts Centre 30 years ago, and now wants to hand over the role and responsibilities he had to someone else. It was recognised by both the organisation and its funder, Creative Scotland, that in order to maintain the significant cultural, social and economic contribution Lyth Arts Centre makes to this rural part of Caithness, a full time paid Director was required. In that respect Lyth is both a role-model and a precedent for SEALL. Thus, in the past, Lyth Arts Centre was staffed by: • William Wilson, as Artistic Director (voluntary) • Part Time Finance person on £7,000 per annum • Part time technician, publicity, performer host on £7,000 per annum • Admin, drama programmer on £2,500 per annum Now Lyth Arts Centre is staffed by: • New Director: responsible for performing arts programme, residencies and overall direction and management of the organisation • The aim is to keep the posts above and add in additional technical and clerical hours to support the organsiation’s aims to promote more activity across Caithness, rather than just in Lyth Arts Centre. • There is also a short-term interim Development Director, responsible for looking at revising the legal structure of the organisation and implementing a range of organisational changes outwith programming and operational issues. SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


Lyth Arts Centre Funding from Creative Scotland Previously: £49k from Creative Scotland for arts programming and residencies development of Lyth Arts Centre (of £65k total funding from Creative Scotland and other local funders, plus box office and other earned income) Currently: £90k from Creative Scotland for programme of arts events and residencies. (of £106k total funding from Creative Scotland and other local funders, plus box office and other earned income) 3. NEAT: North East Arts Touring North East Arts Touring (NEAT) promotes high quality and professionally produced theatre, dance and film productions in rural communities across the North East of Scotland, specifically Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus. Formed in 1985, NEAT aims to bring the very best talent and entertainment to the north-east of Scotland; something for everyone, no matter their age, taste or background. NEAT’s mission is to develop and support a thriving network of voluntary promoters, enabling them to support high-quality professional theatre and dance performances and community cinema screenings in rural venues. Promoting venues pay a membership fee of £60 per year to be a part of the scheme NEAT coordinate 35 shows touring to 30 venues to create a programme of 200 events per year; 70 are theatre, 130 are film. Staff • Emyr Bell, Director, promoting theatre: full time • Administrator: 20 hours per week • Community Cinema Manager: 24 hours per week • Young Promoter scheme manager: 22 hours per week NEAT operates from a central office providing support to local promoters: • NEAT makes the application to Creative Scotland for funding for the annual promoters programme • Circulates a list of shows that want to tour the area • The local promoters choose what they want • Emyr Bell, Director of NEAT does all the administration, contracts, central marketing, funding and reporting • Local promoters host the event and cover the venue costs, do box office and put up local posters. They can keep any raffle or bar income they generate. • Subsidy scheme for local promoters provides additional funding to the promoter based on ticket sales. e.g. fewer than 30 tickets sold then 100% of box office income goes to NEAT, whereas if 60+ tickets are sold, then 70% goes to NEAT, 30% to the local promoter. • All the local promoters and halls are staffed voluntarily with any costs funded from any box office or other income they make. North East Arts Touring is a Creative Scotland Regular Funded Organisation and was awarded £250,000 for threeyear programme. (circa £83,000 per annum) 4. Live and Local (John Laidlaw NRTF) The Live & Local Rural and Community Touring Scheme supports a network of volunteer organisation who bring their communities together to enjoy high-quality, entertaining and affordable professional live theatre, music, dance, family shows and film screenings at their local village hall, church or school. Live & Local is a not-for-profit arts organisation working with a network of voluntary groups across Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. A professional office team provides practical support and advice by helping volunteers to choose shows, and by coordinating the bookings, subsidising performances and helping them to attract an audience. John Laidlaw is Live and Local’s Executive Director. He is also Chair of National Rural Touring Forum that represents a number of mainly rural touring schemes and rural arts development agencies, principally across England and aims to help local people to promote high quality arts events and experiences in rural and other community venues. Similar to NEAT, Live and Local coordinates the promotion of 60 shows over 40 venues - circa 240 events per year. The promoter (hall) chooses the shows and hosts the event, but Live and Local does all the admin, contracts, payment and promotion. John estimates Live and Local provides direct support of around 3 days per year to each local promoter/venue to help them deliver events in their community. Rather than go into the fine detail of Live and Local’s income and expenditure, he has broadly calculated it costs £1,000 to deliver one of the 240 shows to a promoting venue (£650 performers’ fee, £100 direct costs and £250 SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


admin) from which Live and Local derives £350 inbox office income. The balance of £650 per show required to run the organisation comes from local authorities and Arts Council England, circa £160,000 per annum for core programme. Live and Local brings in additional funding for other projects and initiatives which enhance and expand the work the organisation does to provide a range of support for arts activities that keep people in touch with their communities and enhance their quality of life. Live and Local has six full time and three part-time staff, reflecting the number and range of events and the geography the organisation covers. These are: • Executive Director - Full-time and responsible for programming and menu development; technical issues; cost of shows; licensing. • Development & Projects Manager - Part-time and responsible for a variety of audience and business development projects, commissions, artist development opportunities and fundraising. • Company Administrator - Full-time responsible for general administration and invoice enquiries; Friends Scheme; Returns and Report Forms; complimentary tickets for Live & Local shows. • Assistant Administrator - Full-time responsible for financial enquiries, sending routine correspondence to promoters, returns and report Forms • Marketing & Communications Manager - Full-time responsible for planning and delivery of marketing support to all Live and Local projects and initiatives, maintaining a positive image of the organisation through effective communication, marketing and advocacy, promoter marketing support, research, audience development, agency liaison and press and PR. • Marketing & Communications Officer - Full-time and assists with all aspects of marketing and communications, distribution of promoter marketing resources, listings, posters and leaflets, social media and as an extra source of help and support for the Promoters. • Marketing & Communications Assistant - Full-time and provides support to the marketing team in writing copy for marketing materials, distributing print and inputting information into Live & Local databases. • There are two part time Fieldworkers responsible for promoter recruitment and support and liaison with local authority officers in their local areas.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


APPENDIX 2 ~ SUGGESTED BUDGETS 12 month Budget Expenditure Programme Marketing Development budget Office, overheads & misc costs Contingency @ 3% Director FT Finance PT Technical PT Development / Engagement PT Marketing PT Total

55,200 10,300 15,000 6,900 5,500 40,000 13,500 7,000 17,000 17,000 187,400

Income Earned income (+15%) Highland Council Sales Membership Fees Gaelic / community Community & Sector Skills Development Creative Scotland

43,700 2,000 3,000 3,000 6,000 15,000 25,000 89,700



Creative Scotland suggested that SEALL could apply for funding for an 18-month period, thus bringing the organisation’s financial year in line with the funding year. An 18-month version of the same budget would look like. 18 month Budget Expenditure based on 1.5 of the above


Income Earned income (+15%) Highland Council Sales Membership Fees Gaelic / community Skills Development Creative Scotland

65,550 3,000 4,500 4,500 9,000 22,500 37,500 £134,550



It is worth noting the organisation is also supported through significant help in kind from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for venue provision and licencing. Volunteers help with front of house, fundraising, welcoming and occasionally hosting artists and with other projects. The Board contributes time and expertise in ensuring the organisation is run well, meeting its responsibilities for its staff, volunteers, audience, funders and visiting artists.

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


APPENDIX 3 ~ PROPOSED CREATIVE SCOTLAND BUDGET 2017 FOR 14 MONTHS Income Public Funding Own Resources Private funding Events income

actual Creative Scotland Highland Council Membership x 100 Trust applications Other event management earned income Ticket sales Other sales

89,000 1,500 5,000 6,000 2,750 51,730 5,200 £161,180

Performers fees 82 events Estimated fees that are VAT registered Food and Accommodation Hospitality Artistic Director/Event manager 0.8 FTE Administration and finance 0.6 FTE Communications and marketing 0.4 FTE Festival Project manager .06 FTE Sound and Lighting assistance Administration Travel and Accommodation Office rent incl telephone 14 x 250 p month Stationery Subscriptions Postage Sales Expenses Venues 6 paid at 150 Marketing Festival and annual programmes Website management and storage Weekly area adverts 14 months at 350 pm Photocopying & in-house printing Equipment upkeep and replacement - lights/PA Insurance Legal Fees PRS fees at 3% of music income Accountancy Contingency at 5% of budget (incl help in kind)

41,350 7,040 10,556 1,100 35,466 17,500 11,666 1,500 2,000 1,400 3,500 950 700 600 800 900 6,500 1,000 4,000 900 500 270 300 1,000 490 9,192 £ 161,180

Total Expenses Artistic/Creative Costs

Overhead costs


Equipment/Asset costs Others

Total Expenses With an additional £22,668 of Volunteer and In-kind contribution. Full details of this application are given in Creative Scotland funding Application CS-1612-22108

SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report


SEALL ~ Cultural Economies First Report