23 September 2008 - 11:30am | posted by | 0 comments

CEO appoints Ink Digital's Last as chairman

Cultural Enterprise Office [CEO], the government funded business advice service for Scotland’s creative entrepreneurs, has appointed Ink Digital boss Bob Last to head its new advisory group.

Last, who runs Dundee animation company Ink.digital, has been a fixture on the Scottish creative scene for the last 30 years, with a career spanning everything from music, through to film, theatre and animation, and even a spell as a pop Svengali.

As the founder of record label Fast Product, Last went on to manage successful pop acts The Human League, ABC, Scritti Politti and Heaven 17 in the Eighties.

Last’s film credits as music supervisor include Chocolat, Entrapment and Little Voice, and he is currently producing The Illusionist, Oscar-nominated Sylvain Chomet’s big budget animated feature. He also executive produced The House of Mirth directed by Terence Davies.

Most recently, Last received the maximum Slate Funding of £300 000 from Scottish Screen, to develop a slate of films in partnership with Peter Fudakowski (producer of Oscar winning Tsotsi), which will allow the pair to reach an international audience from a Scottish perspective.  

“By looking, listening and learning, CEO has demonstrated a unique ability to respond to the needs of creative talent setting out on a business path,” says Last. “I look forward to meeting the challenges and opportunities that will arise from embedding the core CEO service further across Scotland.

“I believe that it is also very important for the wider cultural economy, that new creative enterprises are valued and supported across a broad range of business and funding models. The advisory group also looks forward to working in partnership with Creative Scotland and others to help sustain and develop the creative industries ecosystem.”

Working in conjunction with the arts and enterprise agencies the CEO will take a lead role in supporting and growing the creative sector. CEO Director, Deborah Keogh said the new advisory group will ensure it is able to meet the business development needs of the arts and creative industries community in a swift and imaginative way.

Other members of the CEO advisory group, include Robert Livingston, director of HI-Arts which promotes and develops arts across the Highlands and Islands. The CEO has been working closely with HI-Arts to extend its services into the Highlands and Islands. Livingston, a former director of the Crawford Centre in St Andrews, understands the needs of artists working in a social rather than commercial context and will advise on how this group can be supported.                                                                                                                     
Livingstone is joined by property expert David Cook and creative industries expert Julie Ramage, who is senior consultant at the Edinburgh-based SQW, a leading independent consultancy in the area of economic and social development. Ramage specialises in the creative, digital and media sector, and led the development of Bradford's UNESCO City of Film bid, and the business plans for the Media Enterprise Centre at mediacity:uk and Film City Glasgow. Cook is chief executive of Wasps Artists’ Studios and The Wasps Trust, which provide affordable premises for the cultural and creative industries in Scotland. He spearheaded the transformation of this once-indebted company which now owns properties all over Scotland and supports 750 self-employed artists.

CEO has expanded year on year since it was established in Glasgow in 2002, with satellite offices opening in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh, to house its expanding team of advisers. Offering a free advice service to individuals and businesses, the service provides them the opportunity to discuss ideas in a confidential setting. A specialist advice service with a pod of experts who can advise on arts media, be it community arts, music or animation or practical aspects like finance, marketing or VAT.  
Concludes Last: “CEO has always recognised the unique nature of early stage creative business and our aim is to help Scotland's vibrant creative community fulfil its potential - a success that will ultimately feed into the nation's cultural and economic life.”  

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