Arts, culture and heritage

Creative talent and engagement

We are committed to supporting, developing and promoting Scotland's creative talent, and ensuring that Scotland's culture reaches a wide audience at home and abroad.

This includes:

  • supporting our artists and performers to collaborate and to reach a wide audience through the Edinburgh Festivals
  • ensuring that  schools and communities are able to discover their creative talents and reach their full potential
  • showcasing Scotland’s amazing cultural wealth to the world and maintaining Scotland’s reputation as a world leading arts festival destination

Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund

We established the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund in 2007 to:

  • help maintain our festivals' global competitive edge
  • increase the funding available to Scottish artists and practitioners
  • encourage creative collaborations

Up to 2022, the Fund has provided members of Festivals Edinburgh with more than £30 million to create a legacy of important new work and to promote Scottish artists internationally.

The following Festivals and Festival organisations received EXPO funding for 2022:

  • Festivals Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Arts Festival
  • Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • Edinburgh International Festival
  • Edinburgh International Fringe Festival
  • Edinburgh Book Festival
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Edinburgh International Children’s Festival
  • Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival
  • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
  • EXPO funded element of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay
  • Glasgow International
  • Celtic Connections

Both funding and the assessment process are administered by Creative Scotland.

Platform for Creative Excellence (PlaCE)

PlaCE is a partnership between the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals. This partnership renews the Festivals’ ambition and purpose after the defining moment of their 70th anniversary in 2017 through a range of creative and community projects.

PlaCE focusses on supporting the following three objectives:

  • sustained and strengthened programming innovation
  • increased creative development opportunities across Scotland
  • improved lives for citizens and communities through cultural engagement

The programme is funded by the Scottish Government, the city of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and is supported and administered by Creative Scotland. We have provided £1 million per year since 2018 for this programme.

The following Edinburgh Festivals received PlaCE funding for 2022:

  • Edinburgh International Science Festival
  • Edinburgh International Children’s Festival
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
  • Edinburgh Art Festival
  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Edinburgh International Festival
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Specific COVID related support for festivals

In addition to the open funds that have been made available to cultural organisations, including festivals, we also provided the following targeted support to our Festivals:

EXPO and PlaCE and the COVID Pandemic

Since COVID-19 restrictions have been in place, we have worked closely with partners and stakeholders to explore ways to strengthen festival resilience. This included ensuring that as many existing commitments with artists and freelancers as possible are honoured, as well as promoting core stability amongst these organisations. We repurposed our EXPO and PlaCE funding accordingly, and continue to put measures in place to allow flexibility based on changing circumstances.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society (EFFS)

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has received a £1 million interest-free loan from the Scottish Government, to be repaid over 10 years, to assist with Covid-19 related core resilience costs for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society as part of our commitment to support cultural, social and economic recovery. This has been awarded under SC10542 using the EU/UK Trading Cooperation Agreement.

Festivals – gateway events process 2021

We worked closely with EventScotland, City of Edinburgh Council and clinicians to deliver plans to allow certain exemptions to existing COVID-19 guidance in 2021. This was for a small number of outdoor cultural events at the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe, in 2021. This looked closely at COVID-19 mitigations at these events and the status of the pandemic.

Producers and venues were awarded £1 million to support the safe return of live events at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. We provided funding for the creation of outdoor performance spaces, as mitigation for additional costs faced by producers due to the pandemic.

It was distributed between the Edinburgh International Festival and nine Fringe producers, alongside a further £300,000 from City of Edinburgh Council.

This was awarded under SC10331 using the EU/UK Trading Cooperation Agreement. The funding was awarded to the following seven operators:

  • £300,000 to Edinburgh International Festival
  • £230,696 as a Consortium award - Gilded Balloon, Zoo, Traverse Theatre, Dancebase
  • £169,619 to Pleasance
  • £166,780 to Summerhall
  • £106,681 to Space UK
  • £162,962 to Assembly
  • £162,962 to Underbelly

Economic benefits of the Edinburgh Festivals

The Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study of 2015 showed that the Edinburgh Festivals generate more than £313 million of additional tourism revenue for the Scottish economy each year, and attract an audience of more than 4.5 million.

The Edinburgh Festivals sustain 5,660 full-time equivalent jobs in Edinburgh and 6,021 additional jobs in Scotland.

Find more information about Scotland's festivals on our tourism and events page.

Youth arts

Our work with young people in the arts, as underpinned by our Time to Shine: Scotland's youth arts strategy, aims to ensure that no-one's background is a barrier to taking part in cultural life and the arts.

We are supported in this work by initiatives including the Youth Music Initiative, CashBack for Creativity and Sistema Scotland.

Youth Music Initiative

Our continuing investment in the Youth Music Initiative (YMI), which totals £109 million since 2007, has made a big impact in helping young people across Scotland to develop their skills. Between 2015 and 2016, the YMI provided music-making opportunities for more than 265,000 young people in and out of school.

Read about YMI funding on Creative Scotland's website.

CashBack for Creativity

Between 2008 and 2020 we invested £23.2 million in the CashBack for Creativity programme. This gave thousands of young people across Scotland the opportunity to develop their creative skills, improve their employability and reach their full potential through engaging with the arts.

This funding was made up of money seized from criminals operating in Scotland.

Visit the CashBack for Creativity website.

Sistema Scotland

Sistema Scotland is a youth orchestra programme that aims to raise attainment and tackle inequality in disadvantaged communities in Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

We are providing Sistema with £2.5 million over the next four years to extend the programme's reach to 700 more young people in Raploch, Govanhill and Torry.

Visit the Sistema Scotland website.

Scotland's Makar

The role of Scotland’s Makar or National Poet for Scotland, is a is a unique Scottish Government appointment. 

It rewards an accomplished poet who can speak for the nation’s community of poets and to their readers, and who represents the diversity of Scotland.  The role of the Makar is to promote poetry in Scotland and encourage its reading and writing. 

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