Culture strategy for Scotland consultation: analysis of responses - summary

Report summarising analysis of the feedback to the public consultation on a draft Culture Strategy for Scotland.

Ambition 1: Transforming through culture

The draft strategy is structured around three key ambitions, the first of which focuses on transforming Scotland through culture.

Ambition 1 - Transforming through culture: Recognising that culture and creativity are central to Scotland’s cultural, social and economic prosperity.

Question 3: What is your view of the ambition, ‘Transforming through culture’ as set out above?

Question 4: If you have further comments on the ambition ‘Transforming through culture’, please provide them below. What do you like, dislike, or what would you change?

Table 3: Question 3 - What is your view of the ambition, ‘Transforming through culture’

  Support Do not support Don’t know Not answered Total
Academics, University, Higher Education or Further Education 6       6
Culture (arts, cultural heritage, creative industries) organisation, group or company 42 1 1 2 46
Faith Group 1     1 2
Local Authority or Culture Trust 13 1   2 16
National Collections and Performing Companies 9       9
Public Body 9   1 1 11
Representative or umbrella group 25   2 7 34
Third sector 13 1   2 16
Union or political party 4 1   1 6
Total organisations 122 4 4 16 146
% of organisations answering 94% 3% 3%    
Individuals 48 9 8 4 69
Individual (on behalf of a community) 1       1
Total Individuals 49 9 8 4 70
% of individuals answering 74% 14% 12%    
All respondents 171 13 12 20 216
% of all respondents 79% 6% 6% 9%  
% of all those answering 87% 7% 6%    

* If figures do not sum to 100% this is due to rounding.

A clear majority of respondents - 87% of those answering the question - supported the ‘Transforming through culture’ ambition. Organisational respondents were more likely to support the ambition than individuals (94% of those answering and 74% of those answering respectively).

The analysis below begins with comments made by those who supported the ambition and concludes with an analysis of comments made by those who did not. Issues raised by those who did not answer Question 3, or who did not know at Question 3, tended to raise similar themes to those who supported the ambition.

Views of those who supported the ambition

Respondents who supported the ambition often went on to stress the importance of placing culture at the heart of broader transformation. The power of culture to transform was noted, both in terms of the positive impact on individuals, communities and places, and in the potential of artists to lead debate on issues faced by society. A small number of respondents noted that they were pleased to see culture taking its place through a specific outcome in the National Performance Framework.

It was suggested that the draft strategy should also include cross-referencing between existing legislative and policy frameworks, such as the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Social Enterprise Strategy for Scotland.

The importance of ensuring that everybody can access cultural events and opportunities was also raised, and it was suggested that the draft strategy should articulate the barriers to culture so that they can be addressed more easily.

A number of other comments focused on the delivery of, or access to culture, through schools and included that it will be at the pre-school, primary and secondary school stages that the foundations enabling a lifelong appreciation of the inherent value of culture will be built. Free access to instrumental music tuition was a specific issue raised by a number of respondents.

Some respondents noted that their own organisation or sector is using cultural approaches to support people’s health and wellbeing. It was also reported that the culture sector can influence behavioural change with respect to climate change.

There was specific reference to the importance of recognising new and emerging technologies, including the growth of virtual reality, immersive technology and 360° filming, augmented reality, live streaming and performance capture.

Some respondents noted the importance of taking a collaborative approach, including suggesting that a more structured and sustained approach to collaboration across disciplines would be welcome.

Views of those who did not support the ambition

Some of those who did not support the ambition asked whether society needed to be transformed or queried the role of culture in that transformation. Some respondents also queried whether there is evidence about the use of culture to deliver other outcomes, for example, around health and wellbeing.

Further comments included that:

  • environmental sustainability is essential to cultural, social and economic prosperity.
  • culture does not always have to act in transformative ways to be of value and its intrinsic value should be recognised.

Question 5: Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

In their general comments at Question 5, some respondents made a broad statement of support for the various aims set out, with further comments including that they are all relevant or progressive. Others suggested that more specific and measurable aims or actions will be required.

Specific comments included that the actions outlined for ‘Transforming through culture’ all feel quite high-level and top-down, which runs counter to other aspects of the draft strategy which seek to empower individuals and communities in a new way.

Aim 1: Place culture as a central consideration across all policy areas.

Action 1: Develop a new cultural leadership post within Scottish Government, supported by strategic thinkers from across the culture sectors and beyond. The role will support creative and innovative thinking and highlight the benefits of a more connected and multi-disciplinary approach across all areas of government and its major stakeholders to consider the big societal issues faced in Scotland today and in the future.

Those who commented often made a statement of support for Aim 1, including suggesting that, if achieved, it could be critical in the delivery of key elements of the vision, especially that ‘culture is to be experienced by everyone’. It was also suggested that, in addition to policies, funding streams and grant-making responsibilities and their respective processes would need to be aligned and simplified.

Views were mixed amongst those who made specific reference to Action 1, the suggested new cultural leadership post. Many respondents made a clear statement of support, including suggesting that the role will be crucial to helping deliver the changes proposed. It was seen as essential for this post to have the influence and resources to work across all Scottish Government policy areas.

Fewer respondents disagreed with, or were not convinced as to the benefits of, developing a new post. Their further comments included that:

  • it could create another layer of bureaucracy.
  • the resources could be better used elsewhere.
  • the post holder might have insufficient authority to drive change.
  • it would be difficult to find one person to represent the interests of the whole culture sector.

Aim 2: Open up the potential of culture as a transformative opportunity across society.

Action 2: Develop a national partnership for culture that includes working with academic partners to develop new approaches to measuring an extended view of culture and better articulate the benefits of culture to society.

There were relatively few comments specifically about Aim 2, although some respondents noted their support for the aim.

Some wanted the draft strategy to recognise that evaluation and evidence gathering on arts and health is advanced and that it consistently articulates the societal value of creative and cultural engagement.

Respondents often noted their agreement with Action 2, including suggesting that the development of a national partnership is essential. There was a request for further information on the proposed membership of any national partnership and offers to participate in it.

There was a query as to why academic partners have been singled out, with a call for membership to be broadly representative. There was also a view that a national partnership is a top down approach, and something should be done to connect with communities and give them a say.

Aim 3: Position culture as central to progress in health and wellbeing, economy, education, reducing inequality and realising a greener and more innovative future.

Action 3: Develop alliances that support social change through culture and promote leadership and joined-up working across the culture sector, other sectors, local and national government and communities.

Respondents often welcomed the aim of positioning culture as central to progress in health and wellbeing, economy, education, reducing inequality and realising a greener and more innovative future. However, there were also queries about whether the aim is achievable within the current funding environment.

Respondents often gave their support for Action 3, with further comments including that alliances and joined-up working is crucial. It was frequently noted that there is already a lot of joined-up thinking and working across the sector. There was a call for existing alliances, often working slightly below the radar, to be sought out and strengthened before ‘the wheel is reinvented’.

In terms of how any alliances should be set up and run, further comments included that it will be important to design collaborations that can be sustained rather than being shorter-term and project-based.


Email: Donna Stewart

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