A Culture Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan

A Culture Strategy for Scotland was published in 2020 and its vision and values remain important. This action plan provides detail on how we will deliver the ambitions of Culture Strategy.

Chapter 2 – Strengthening Culture

S1: Continue to make the Culture and Heritage Sectors part of Scotland as a Leading Fair Work Nation by 2025.

Fair Work First criteria have been applied to over £4 billion of public sector funding since 2019 – driving fair work practices across the labour market. On 6 December 2022 we announced the strengthening of our conditionality approach, and from July 2023, recipients of public sector grants issued from that date are required to pay at least the Real Living Wage and provide appropriate channels for effective voice. All direct recipients of Scottish Government grants currently pay the Real Living Wage and recognise channels for effective workers voice. We are also working closely with our public bodies who distribute grants on behalf of Scottish Government to ensure that all their grant recipients pay the Real Living Wage and recognise effective workers voice.

Through the Fair Work Action Plan, the Scottish Government will develop a communications strategy to highlight and promote the benefits of Fair Work and a diverse workplace to employers including: tackling the gender pay gap; and recruiting, employing and supporting disabled people and workers from racialised minorities.

Fair Work is central to the strategies of our agencies. The wellbeing economy is a priority of Our Past Our Future: The Strategy for Scotland’s Historic Environment – with an outcome that: “The historic environment provides Fair Work”. Museums Galleries Scotland lists inclusivity as a driving force, with workforce being a thematic strand with an aim to “ensure jobs and workplaces are effective, fair and fulfilling for all.”

Fair Work is one of Creative Scotland’s three strategic priorities and one of their funding criteria. Creative Scotland have worked with creative practitioners to produce and publish guides for employers including the Fairer Recruitment Guide produced by Creative and Cultural Skills and the Illustrated Fair Work Guide for Employers by Culture Radar.

In 2022, a Review of Fair Work in the creative and cultural sectors in Scotland, conducted by Culture Radar and commissioned by Creative Scotland, was published. The key recommendation for the Scottish Government was to establish a Creative and Culture Sector Fair Work Task Force. This recommendation aligns with the Programme for Government commitment to introduce: “sectoral Fair Work agreements, and improving outcomes by delivering the Fair Work Action Plan.” The Scottish Government therefore will establish a task force with the remit to set the direction of implementing Fair Work in the sector, potentially through agreeing sector standards through development of a Fair Work Charter.

S2: Develop and implement a long-term strategic approach to making improvements to the data landscape for culture, working closely with expert partners.

Following engagement with the National Partnership for Culture’s Measuring Change Group and the Scottish Culture Evidence Network, we have updated the National Performance Framework indicators for culture. The data for the renamed indicator ‘People working in arts and culture’ is now sourced from the Office of National Statistics Annual Population Survey, allowing for better coverage of freelancers and disaggregation by socio-economic and protected characteristics. We can see examples at a regional level that extend our understanding of the sector. South of Scotland Enterprise have developed a mapping tool on the creative economy to assist policy development and service delivery, and Creative Informatics have produced an interactive visualisation that allows creative freelancers to add themselves to a map of the Edinburgh region, asking them to identify the Standard Industrial Classification code with which they most closely identify.

We will work with sector partners to make improvements and respond more broadly to the recommendations set out by the National Partnership for Culture with a view to reviewing existing evidence and data sources in liaison with key stakeholders to produce a baseline review which will inform research priorities for the sector going forward. We will also support the sector to develop and agree common methodologies and standardisation of data collection and how best to enable data sharing going forward. These two key building blocks will provide firm foundations on which to agree genuine research priorities for the sector. This will enable a central repository for sector data and research to be established, presented, interrogated and aggregated to present an ongoing national picture of the state of culture in Scotland, and inform policy and funding priorities as well as evidencing the value and impact of culture across portfolios and society as a whole.

S3: Work in partnership to increase diversity in the sector, sharing new approaches and codes of practice that ensure skills development and board membership have diversity at their core, including helping recruitment diversity by introducing appropriate remuneration for board members of national culture and heritage public bodies.

In their review of Fair Work in the sector, Culture Radar highlighted “freelancers, disabled workers, under 25-year-olds, women, parents, and workers from low socio-economic background” as priorities for Fair Work and COVID-19 recovery. The work undertaken by the Fair Work Taskforce that we have set out in S1, will look at existing barriers to fair pay, seen as crucial to achieving greater diversity in the creative workforce. The membership of the taskforce itself will be examined to ensure it reflects the sector and society.

We will learn from existing examples of good work such as that of the National Galleries of Scotland. Engender commends the transparency of the National Galleries of Scotland around its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion commitments, pertaining to governance, culture, decision-making and curation. The National Galleries of Scotland Mainstreaming Equalities Report reviews ongoing delivery of its Equality Outcomes, including self-monitoring of Board positions and proactive engagement with the Scottish Government’s Public Appointments Team to diversify its membership.

A Fairer Scotland for All: An Anti-Racist Employment Strategy acts as a call for action and a guide to address the issues and disadvantage experienced by people from racialised minorities in the wider labour market in Scotland. The Minority Ethnic Recruitment Toolkit can be used to improve the diversity of a workforce by recruiting more people from minority ethnic backgrounds. We will make connections with these and other relevant Scottish Government strategies to ensure national policy takes effect within the Culture Sector.

At a sector specific level, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is one of Creative Scotland’s three strategic priorities. Their website hosts a range of resources and toolkits. Practitioners from the Culture Collective programme, funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Creative Scotland, have recently produced Our Voices: A Diverse Artists’ Guide. We will learn from the insights in this publication and adapt our approach going forward.

Scotland’s revised Strategy for the Historic Environment ‘Our Past Our Future’ sets out as one of its nine priority outcomes that “The historic environment is more diverse and inclusive”. Historic Environment Scotland has set out its vision to tackle inequalities and increase access to and participation in Scotland’s historic environment with publication of its Equality Outcomes for 2021-25. The plan outlines the actions the organisation will take to deliver its equalities commitments and continue to challenge inequality and discrimination; celebrate diversity and inclusion; and realise its vision of ‘heritage for all’.

Screen Scotland launched the British Film Institute Diversity Standards – Screen Scotland Pilot in April 2022, for an initial 12 months. The pilot has now been extended for a further 12 months until April 2024. This will allow time for a complete evaluation of the pilot, ensuring that the final version of the British Film Institute Diversity Standards – Screen Scotland best represents and delivers against our commitment to equalities, diversity and inclusion within the Scottish screen sector.

S4: Develop and implement a long-term strategic approach to skills development in the culture sector and creative industries.

A successful system of skills development is already recognised as crucial to delivering a wellbeing economy in Scotland in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

As part of delivering the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, an independent review of our lifelong education and skills system made a case for change and highlighted the need to reflect on lessons learned as we rebuild and reshape the ways in which this system works. The Scottish Government’s Post-school education, research and skills – purpose and principles sets out the framework for decision making for post-school education, skills and research to ensure the system is fit for the future, delivering the best outcomes for learners, employers and the public investment we make.

We will work with colleagues across government, the skills system, and industry, to ensure that tangible and intangible creative and cultural skills are recognised and embedded within Scotland’s education and skills systems, while also ensuring the Creative Sector is considered as a rewarding career.

The demand for skilled workers in the creative industries is only predicted to grow. Skills Development Scotland estimate in their latest Sectoral Skills Analysis that in the mid-term (2023-2026), the number of people in employment in the sector is forecast to grow by 4.0% (4,300 people). This is a larger percentage growth than is forecast overall across Scotland where employment is predicted to rise by 2.2%.

Enabling the creative workforce to keep pace with continuing digital innovation is a priority. We will consider learning from the Creative Digital Initiative to support the development of a skilled and resilient creative workforce and meet the needs of the future. We will work closely with our Digital Economy Directorate, and partners including the enterprise agencies, Creative Scotland and Skills Development Scotland, as well as the wider sector, to understand future requirements.

We also must ensure we have the right traditional skills to sustain our historic environment and progress our journey to net zero. Historic Environment Scotland continue to champion traditional skills and are working with stakeholders to address traditional skills gaps to help ensure Scotland’s historic buildings can thrive as part of the country’s sustainable future.

S5: Work to tackle modern-day racism by reinterpreting aspects of our hidden or contested heritage.

On 10 June 2020 a motion was passed in the Scottish Parliament showing solidarity with anti-racism, with an amendment that Scotland should ‘establish a slavery museum to address our historic links to the slave trade.’ We will respond to this, and have partnered with Museums Galleries Scotland and race equality and museum sector stakeholders to identify the ways we can reinterpret aspects of our hidden or contested heritage, to present a more accurate, complete picture of the past.

The project ‘Empire Slavery and Scotland’s Museums: Addressing Our Colonial Legacy’ formed an expert group led by Sir Geoff Palmer which delivered recommendations in June 2022 concerning our hidden past and how to take forward work to consider a national museum. The independent group which made these recommendations was made up of a diverse group of people, from varied backgrounds and disciplines.

As an initial step, we provided £68,000 to MGS in 2022-23, as the museums development body in Scotland, so that they can begin to support the sector to address these recommendations.

We will provide £250,000 to help Museums Galleries Scotland support the delivery phase of the ‘Delivering Change’ project from September 2023 - September 2026, covering four financial years. This project also received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. ‘Delivering Change’ aims to support between 70 and 100 museums from across Scotland to implement fully equitable approaches and to support them to represent previously unheard voices in Scottish museums. At the end of this project, we expect to see clear changes in the ways in which participating museums work, especially around how they use participatory approaches to involve communities. The project will take a Human-Rights based approach determined by an expert advisory group working with a Programme Manager and a Museum Galleries Scotland-based project team and will develop more equitable and inclusive practice across under-represented communities including all protected characteristics.

S6: Publish our International Culture Strategy.

We will publish an International Culture Strategy next year to support the international aims and ambitions of Scotland’s cultural and Creative Sector. The strategy will set the direction for international cultural exchange, in order to share experience and explore common challenges. Taking this strategic approach, we aim to open new markets and develop new audiences, supporting the Culture Sector’s financial resilience.

Earlier this year we undertook a public survey exploring stakeholder views on the International Culture strategy. Emerging themes and challenges raised by respondents have been outlined in the recently published International Culture Strategy consultation analysis report, which will help inform the development of the strategy.

S7: Champion the economic impact of culture, in particular within the context of community wealth building and creative placemaking.

Through our discussions with the Culture Sector in developing actions, it was clear that there is a need to foster the links between wider Scottish Government priorities, as set out in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

The Scottish Government has embraced the internationally recognised Community Wealth Building approach to economic development as a key tool to transform our local and regional economies. Supporting the ownership of local assets - whether these are business, land or property - provides communities with a greater stake in the economy and supports economic resilience.

Community Wealth Building encourages actions that support local economies to be resilient and thrive by developing local supply chains, stimulating procurement opportunities, supporting the flows of finance, offering businesses the opportunity to grow, and ensuring fair employment opportunities are available for people. The model promotes actions to support community ownership of assets and employee ownership of businesses, helping to keep wealth local.

These Community Wealth Building actions, and the wider economic transformation it offers, can support areas to retain and attract people to their localities. In doing so, this provides a framework for harnessing local economic opportunities to address a range of challenges linked to addressing depopulation, regardless of whether affected communities are found in rural and island areas, or urban.’

There is a clear link with the principle of creative placemaking, which we know has tangible benefits for communities. For example, The Stove Network’s work across the south of Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government via the Culture Collective project ‘What We Do Now’, connects artists and community organisations to co-develop creative plans for the future of local places. We will learn from the outputs of this work and consider ways of scaling up the approaches taken.


Email: culturestrategyandengagement@gov.scot

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