Delayed reopening threatens Glasgow's CCA

Venue finally receives payment after fire

by Jennie Kermode

Happier times in the CCA
Happier times in the CCA Photo: Max Crawford

The future of Glasgow's CCA continues to hang in the balance after it was denied permission to reopen this month. There is, however, some good news for the venue, which was closed following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art earlier this year, as it has finally received payment from the Fire Recovery Fund.

Eye For Film contacted the Scottish Government yesterday to enquire about the status of the payment and was told "CCA already receives significant public funding as an arts organisation, meaning that more time is needed to process their application for money from this fund. We recognise the very important work which CCA carries out and we will seek to resolve this application as soon as possible." The CCA's head of operations, Ailsa Nazir, subsequently confirmed that the venue had received payment that very day.

Structural engineers working on the School of Art had previously told the CCA that it would be able to reopen on the 14th of this month. That date has now been set back, however, due to structural concerns about the former building and a risk of falling debris. As a consequence the CCA has had to cancel all its September events, placing it in a financially precarious position with no income from visitors.

The venue plays a vital role in Glasgow's arts scene. It's one of the locations for the Glasgow Film Festival and it hosts the Glasgow Short Film Festival and Scottish Queer International Film Festival.

Scalarama coordinator and Matchbox Cineclub programmer Sean Welsh told us "Before the Mack fire, a substantial amount of Scalarama screenings this September would have been in CCA, and many of our exhibitors host events there all year round. We all love, and love working with, Saramago too. CCA’s open source programming puts all other local venues to shame in supporting artists, film clubs, independent exhibitors and festivals."

He went on to express his concern at Glasgow City Council's handling of the situation, and said "If it wasn't for CCA Glasgow, Cage-a-rama, Weird Weekend and most of Matchbox Cineclub's recent screenings couldn't have happened. Cage-a-rama 2 in January and the now-postponed KeanuCon hang in the balance if CCA Glasgow can't support them - along with countless fringe or niche screenings and events."

Blueprint Shorts organiser Hans Lucas was also critical of the council and said "The work I do with Blueprint - Scottish Independent Cinema would not be possible anywhere else in the city. As such CCA Glasgow already plays a vital role in developing Scottish cinema by providing exhibition for home grown films when no one else will. It is a vital partner to Scotland's rapidly expanding micro budget film makers."

Ailsa Nazir told us that the CCA now has meetings scheduled with the council for the coming week and has had a positive meeting with the engineers working on the damaged building. "Our key aim over the next week is to establish a date of re entry for us, our tenants and program partners," she said, stressing her concern about the Saramago café and its employees, and adding "Our priority in this has always been our staff and their job security and we've been well supported, and continue to be so, by our key funder, Creative Scotland, and our insurance company."

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