Scotland fears European arts exodus

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Survey suggests EU nationals may leave after Brexit

More than one in four artists and art workers may leave Scotland because of Brexit, according to a new poll.

The survey of 350 culture workers, carried out by the Scottish Contemporary Arts Network (SCAN) and the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST), showed that 40% of EU nationals and 33% of non-EU nationals were also thinking of leaving after Brexit. The figures also reveal that only 5% of foreign workers surveyed have applied for UK citizenship, with a third considering applying.

Seonaid Daly, director of SCAN, said: “This is the first hard evidence we’ve seen about the potential exodus of our international peers and colleagues who all help make Scotland’s visual art scene so vibrant and globally respected. This, as well as increasing pressure on budgets across the board, paints a very bleak picture for the future of Scottish visual arts.”

Jude Henderson, director of FST, added: “The potential loss of talent, networks and funding post-Brexit threatens access to arts and culture at home as well as making Scotland less visible around the world.”

Over half of all respondents regularly work outside of the UK, with nearly a third of total income coming from non-UK sources. More than half (57%) of all respondents say that Brexit has already had a negative impact on their work and business. Nine out of 10 expect that Brexit will have a negative impact on the arts sector in Scotland over the next few years.

Nuno Sacramento, director of the Peacock Visual Arts centre in Aberdeeen said, “Scotland was such a welcoming, open and international place. Now I’m very concerned. On a personal level I am feeling quite insecure. I would rather not leave, but it has crossed my mind. I am prepared to if necessary. I don’t want to live in cultural isolation.”

Francis McKee, director of the CCA, in Glasgow said there were concerns in the sector about the difficulty of travelling and working across Europe.

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