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Widening Access to the Arts and Culture

The Scottish Government is fully committed to widening engagement with culture for all communities and individuals across Scotland. The policy is: for access to, and participation in, cultural activities to be as wide as possible, and for culture and creativity to be applied across the policy spectrum to help address key priorities such as education, health and enterprise. At local authority level, this can be promoted by including cultural activities within the community planning process.

We are taking this forward in partnership with local authorities and other stakeholders, many of whom have discovered the benefits of working with, and through, creative and cultural activity. Local authorities already make a major contribution to cultural delivery, and we work closely with their representation bodies (and with authorities directly), regarding ways to build on this and to strive for continuous improvement and excellent outcomes for people across Scotland.

Culture and Creativity Summit - A Partnership Approach

  • A summit entitled Culture and Creativity - A Partnership Approach was held on 15 March 2010 in Glasgow which was hosted by the Scottish Government, COSLA and Creative Scotland 2009 Ltd (the body set up to make arrangements for the introduction of Creative Scotland).
  • This event provided a unique opportunity to examine culture's place in future policy making and delivery and also to explore the optimal 'partnership' roles of Scottish Government, Scottish local government and the new body, Creative Scotland. Those present included representatives of local government, Scottish Government, Creative Scotland 2009 Ltd, the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Screen, the enterprise sector and other public sector stakeholders. The report of the Summit sets out key themes from the discussion which took place at the event.

Education and Culture Seminar

  • A seminar on Education and Culture was held on 15 December 2009 in Edinburgh which was jointly hosted by the Minister for Schools and Skills and the Minister for Culture and External Affairs. The event brought together key stakeholders from both sectors
  • The event highlighted recent progress on the education and culture agenda, including the development of the Co-Create projects, which aim to bring more arts resources into the classroom through Glow, the national schools intranet. The means by which the arts, culture and creativity can support education and learning, enriching the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence. The report of the summit sets out key themes from the discussion which took place at the event.

Local Government and Culture Sector Initiatives

Recent collaboration with local government, and the culture sector has focused on developing new ways to engage those who do not participate in culture; forging links with Community Planning; promoting quality assurance; and building the policy evidence base. Links to current and recent initiatives and associated information resources include:

How Good Is Our Culture and Sport?


  • A new unified Quality Improvement Framework (QIF), with its strategic element, " How Good Is Our Culture and Sport?" (HGIOCS?) has been drafted to assist local authorities and other service providers to evaluate the quality, effectiveness, efficiency and inclusiveness of their culture and sport provision. For more information on the HGIOCS? click here.

Toolkit for Community Planning Partnerships

  • Collaborative activity to develop a toolkit for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) on working with culture - to build on "Culture Delivers" (see above) - is an ongoing project. The draft on which we are consulting with local government, culture bodies and selected Community Planning interests is underpinned with practical advice and evidence, and will contain good practice examples. The desired outcome is to help CPPs appreciate, and act on their understanding, that the use of culture can be a complementary, or new, and effective tool for advancing their 'well-being' agenda and improving the life of the community - in particular those who are disengaged and/or marginalised and (probably also) under-represented in terms of cultural participation.
  • The present draft was produced working with a secondee from local government. The principal intention is for local authority culture and leisure teams to use/quote the Toolkit in their partnerships with, and advocacy to, Community Planning sectors and managers of other services. On publication, it should also be available 'on-line' to those services and sectors, as an aide memoire. We look forward to feedback on the messages and content in this draft version. The logic models at the end can be inserted into the relevant sections, and more examples/case studies are needed for the boxes in the body of the text. A few are suggested, but consultees from the local authority and culture sectors etc will need to help us here.

Culture Delivers

  • The document " Culture Delivers" (December 2008) sets out a wide range of ways in which culture and creativity can contribute positively to outcomes and objectives across the policy spectrum. It is intended as a useful resource for those developing the service plans that deliver the national and local outcomes set out in the Single Outcome Agreements. It derives from - and provides links to - Literature Reviews (commissioned by Scottish Government and the Scottish Arts Council) which describe robust evidence of culture's benefits for the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

Cultural Pathfinder Programme

  • A strong example of partnership working between Scottish Government and local government in this area is the Cultural Pathfinder Programme. The programme of 13 projects was supported by Scottish Government (2006-08) and run by local authorities to explore effective and practical ways to get people involved in cultural activity. The projects reached out to groups who had previously faced barriers to participation. The Pathfinder Programme also explored links between cultural provision and Community Planning processes. The independent evaluation report of the Programme was published on 2 July 2009, with an associated Research Findings paper, 2/2009. The messages and good practice reported by the evaluation are being disseminated widely, to inform policy development and practice in engaging both marginalised groups and strategic planners.

Cultural Participation

  • Information on cultural participation is collected through a number of surveys including the Scottish Household Survey.

All culture providers require access to facts about their provision and its uptake, to inform their planning of provision with users', and potential users', aspirations in mind. Local authorities contribute information about their provision of culture (and sport) in an annual return, "Cultural Statistics in Scotland" to the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy. That survey collects data relating to culture and sport regardless of the service budget or source in which they arise - including expenditure administered by trusts. The 2009 survey will collect data on 2008-09 actuals and 2009-10 estimates. A Cultural Statistics Working Party reviews the operation of the survey and its completion, providing clarification and refining the notes to aid completion. It aims to promote accurate reporting of data. Any local authorities which have comments for the Working Party, or who would like to attend its annual meetings, are encouraged to come forward and contact Kenneth.humphreys@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

  • A SHS Culture Statistics User Event was held on 1 April 2010 to provide users and potential users of culture statistics with the opportunity to learn more about cultural statistics available from the SHS and users had the opportunity to express their views and discuss priorities for future analysis and publications. Further information and the report from the event is available here.
  • The Impact Database ( http://www.gla.ac.uk/ccpr/ ) is another useful resource relating to research on the social and economic effects of arts, culture and major events. It is developed and maintained by the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (University of Glasgow) under contract to the Scottish Government.