From March to April 2013, I was the facilitator and blogger for a remarkable process - the Creative Scotland Open Sessions. After a year in which the first head of Creative Scotland, Andrew Dixon, had resigned (with the opprobrium of Scottish artists ringing in his ears), the organisation wanted to open its policy doors to artists, and hear exactly what they wanted the agency to do for the arts.
We went from Borders to Hebrides, douce Edinburgh to bustling Easterhouse, and mixed polemical speakers with full audience participation, generating a hugely rich dossier of ideas, suggested policies and new vocabularies for Creative Scotland.
It was a fluid time - with government ministers on both sides of the border taking diametrically opposed positions on the relationship between art and commerce; and, over everything, the prospect of the independence referendum, and how art and culture might relate to that momentous process (with Alasdair Gray's "settlers and colonists" essay rumbling in the background).
My blogs are a reasonable summary of each event (the concluding blog is probably most useful), but do dig into the archive link of each event - some substantive and stirring presentations contained therein, in a variety of media.
As an example of how small countries can correct the direction of their national institutions quickly and effectively, given the proximity, awareness and willingness of major players in the situation, CS Open Sessions was (in my experience) pretty definitive. I left the process feeling that the essentials of Scottish governance are in good hands. Though as my final blog says, once you open a session with artists, you should never expect it to finish, or never be re-opened...