Gray’s backs Culture Aberdeen campaign to save culture in the city

Tuesday 28 February 2023

Image shows street performers from Look Again festival 2019
Look Again at Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University (RGU), is backing Culture Aberdeen’s #SaveCulture campaign, to stop Aberdeen City Council going ahead with major funding cuts to the cultural sector.

Aberdeen City Council has revealed it is considering cutting the entire arts budget for 2023/24, wiping out £815,000 funding from the cultural sector.

The proposals, which are part of a wider budget being considered to plug a £46.6 million funding gap, will go to a full council vote at the authority’s budget meeting tomorrow, on Wednesday 1 March.

The #SaveCulture campaign comes as RGU prepares to co-host Aberdeen’s inaugural Cultural Summit with the University of Aberdeen, on Friday 3 March, to discuss the valuable role that the cultural sector plays in the City.  

Gray’s creative unit, Look Again, is joining Culture Aberdeen’s #SaveCulture campaign, and warning of devastating consequences if the proposals go ahead.

Co-Director for Look Again, Sally Reaper, says: “I ask everyone to ask can we afford to lose Culture in Aberdeen? During the Covid pandemic, culture was a lifeline for many that helped support their well-being and health.

“Not only would the proposed funding cuts have huge implications for jobs in the creative and cultural sector, which currently employs nearly 5% of the city’s workforce, but it would also severely impact events, exhibitions and festivals across the city.

“Many of us have all enjoyed the recent Granite Noir, Spectra and Wonderland festivals which brought Aberdeen to life, but in the future, festivals such as these would not go ahead. The funding proposals would take the cultural heart of the city. Is this what the council want? Is this their vision for Aberdeen?

“I call on everyone to get involved with the campaign and to lobby their councillor to save culture and communities in Aberdeen.  People can share their own cultural experiences online and use the hashtags #SaveCulture and #SaveCommunities to help save the city’s cultural sector.”

Look Again is an active member of the Culture Aberdeen partnership and is currently leading several projects to re-energise empty city spaces with exhibitions, events and pop-up shops such as the ‘Origin Hub’ on Schoolhill and ‘EDIT’ led by Torry Based Deemouth Artist Studios on Upper Kirkgate.  It warns that many of the projects that currently benefit from council arts funding could be jeopardy if the plans go ahead.


Co-Director for Look Again, Hilary Nicoll, added: “The proposed cuts will bring calamitous consequences to the cultural sector in the North East.  Not only would they put an end to the many performances, exhibitions and festivals, that are re-energising our city in the aftermath of Covid, but they would lead to devastating consequences to grassroots arts organisations, many of whom support the least privileged in our society.

“The proposed cuts would lead to job losses in the cultural sector, the loss of cultural venues and potentially, the loss of cultural organisations, many who are in a fragile state amidst the current cost of living challenges, that would cause irreversible damage to the local creative economy.

“It would deprive opportunities for emerging creative talent, including many graduates from Gray’s School of Art, who want to develop careers in the city and effectively lead to a ‘cultural desert’ in the North East that would take years to rectify.

“We recognise that the City Council has difficult decisions to make, however we ask that they reconsider the valuable role that culture plays in supporting the economic and social regeneration of the North East.”

Join the Culture Aberdeen campaign by sharing your favourite cultural experiences of Aberdeen on social and use hashtags #SaveCulture and #SaveCommunities.

Image shows street performers from Look Again festival 2019

Cookie Consent