rich media report - Applied Arts Scotland

Sustainable AmbITion Project – Our Journey
Who are we?
We are a maker organisation made up of a board of applied arts
professionals from across Scotland’s landscapes and craft disciplines.
Why did we apply for an Sustainable AmbITion award
from AmbITion Scotland’s Make:IT:Happen fund?
Here’s the official text…
“Applied Arts Scotland (AAS) is a membership organisation which supports the professional
development of Scottish applied artists.
AAS is going through fundamental change in the way it delivers its services and wants to
take the opportunity to rethink communication and administration systems in order to be
efficient and environmentally responsible.”
But what does that mean?
Well it means that we believe in the talent and skills that Scotland's makers have to offer,
not just in producing beautifully crafted work but also in running businesses in an
environmentally responsible and sustainable way.
As makers ourselves we are aware of the challenges that todays applied artists face and so
thought we could take use the AmbITion Scotland Make:IT:Happen fund Sustainable
AmbITion award as an opportunity to show leadership within our sector and pave the way
for more of us to become more eco friendly in the way we use our digital resources.
We also saw it as an chance to digitally grow as an organisation, improve
communications, reduce our carbon footprint and get a shiny new website.
Here’s the official diagram we created in our recent business planning session.
Here’s the shiny new website
But it’s more than just a website…
• It’s a place where people can be a part of
the digital network and growing
Applied artists community that is AAS.
• By becoming a member users can add their
own events and exhibitions to the
calendar, communicate with each other
through the internal network and
browse through our growing resource of
professional development videos.
About those videos we mentioned…
We are aiming to record professional
development talks by makers at each of our
training events. By recording the content and
publishing it on the website we are
making them accessible to a more Scotland
wide audience. And as people
may not have to travel so far to develop their
practice we are also reducing our
carbon footprint.
To access the presentations just visit our resources page on
the website.
Let’s think about the environment.
As part of our overall development AAS wished
to create an environmental policy which would enable us to grow
as an organisation whilst also being more environmentally friendly.
Through working with Creative Carbon Scotland and
researching the policies of other organisations we have
written our very own. It’s still being tweaked though
and will be added to the website soon so keep your
eyes peeled.
Through working with Creative Carbon Scotland we were able to access
free training on carbon measurement and reporting. We attended workshops and
also accessed 1:1 advice.
We signed up to their green arts portal and learned how to use the Julie’s
Bicycle tool to measure our carbon footprint going to and from meetings.
Which is great because this meant we could start working on reducing it.
Using the Sustainable AmbiITion award we have put in to place digital systems to enable
board members to communicate more effectively. It also means that board members can
digitally attend meetings. As many of us hail from across the lengths and breadth of
Scotland it means that this will reduce our carbon emissions substantially.
In fact in putting these measures in place we have managed to recruit 2 new board
members form the Highlands and Islands. They may not have been so keen if they knew
they might have had to travel a round trip from Orkney to Edinburgh for every meeting.
In fact we have several new board members from across Scotland.
Welcome on board everyone.
Merlin Planterose - Lochbroom
Hilary Grant - Orkney
Caroline Finlay - Fife
Lise Bratton - Kelso
But as with any new project we have faced challenges
So what were they?
• Just having training in the digital communication systems wasn’t enough. It needs to
be used and promoted proactively within the organisation and this is something we
will endeavour to improve on.
• Things always take longer than you expect.
• Technology can sometimes hinder communication
and things can be lost in translation. We have
learnt that it is here to aid us in our communication
not completely take over or be relied upon over
face to face.
But we’ve come so far and learnt so much. It’s been a learning curve for us and one
which we hope to continue along.
Although we do need to give some time for all these new skills to bed in we
have effectively up-skilled Board members to use new technology effectively and
realise the benefits to themselves as well as the organisation.
Having the tech in place also proved attractive to recruiting new Board members
from further afield and fitted with our environmental policy giving us a real win:win
So what’s next for Applied Arts Scotland and our overall and digital development?
Well as our organisation continues to grow we have a number of objectives which we
Would like to put in to place.
• We would like to embed the digital tech into the Board activities to improve
effective internal communications and performance.
• We would like to share our learning with the sector possibly through an event with
In partnership with agencies such as Zero Waste Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland
• We will aim to kick off the membership recruitment drive detailing the features and
benefits of our new website, encouraging members use, engagement and sharing to
feed into the sector development.
Overall we have learnt and gained a lot from our experiences and are hugely
grateful to have received a Sustainable AmbITion award which allowed us to do so.
We will aim to continue to develop as an organisation and continue to work to
improve the Applied Arts Sector as a whole.
Thanks AmbITion Scotland

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