The Lighthouse, Scotland’s centre for architecture, design and the city, is reshaping its gallery space and has made six redundancies as part of a new business plan which aims to secure its financial future.
The Glasgow arts centre had been facing potential closure due to a projected annual shortfall of £300 000, which came after the Six Cities Design Festival, managed by The Lighthouse, was cancelled. Also, the Scottish Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennale, which was put together by The Lighthouse, reportedly cost more than the grant provided by the Scottish government.
The Lighthouse was forced to seek a loan of £250 000 and a £50 000 increase in annual core funding from Glasgow City Council – money which the council is now providing after approving The Lighthouse’s business plan last week.
A spokeswoman for The Lighthouse says the plan has seen six redundancies made at The Lighthouse, and three redundancies made at specialist skills agency Urban Learning Space, which is coming under The Lighthouse umbrella.
The spokeswoman adds that, along with the funding from the council, the Scottish government has agreed to allow flexibility in how the project funding it gives The Lighthouse is allocated.
Eleanor McAllister, chairwoman of The Lighthouse Trust, says the new plan will see galleries four and five in The Lighthouse’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed home become commercial hire space, while offices on the first floor will be converted to double-height gallery space.
McAllister says, ‘In a credit crunch we have to make sure we have a sound business model. We are making sure that the structure is sound and the future is sound.
‘The new funding package will see us through the next few years, regardless of the economic situation.’
Councillor George Ryan, executive member for development and regeneration services at the council, says, ‘The Lighthouse has experienced an unusual combination of financial difficulties this year.
‘It has implemented a new business model which will make it more commercially viable, and we have been assured that it is taking steps to restructure to allow it to cope with the challenges it is facing.
‘The Lighthouse plays an important role in the city’s cultural life, and we are keen to see this new set-up succeed, but we will be monitoring its financial situation closely.’
Forthcoming events at the Lighthouse
• Changing Classrooms, a handbook produced by The Lighthouse’s education team, is being launched on 5 December
• Work by design group Atelier is on show until 22 February
• In January The Lighthouse will show work by designer Donna Wilson and announce the winner of the Glasgow 1999 Design Medal and the Creative Entrepreneur of the Year