Publication - Consultation paper

A Culture Strategy for Scotland: draft for consultation

Published: 27 Jun 2018

Public consultation document seeking views on a draft Culture Strategy for Scotland developed following engagement with people across Scotland during 2017.

4. Ambitions, aims and actions

The following section sets out how the strategy proposes to realise the vision and make the necessary shifts to achieve the aims which will support culture to meet current and future opportunities and challenges. It considers the role of national government in helping to create the conditions for culture to flourish whilst recognising that, for everyone in Scotland to prosper through culture, everyone with an interest in culture in Scotland has a role to play.

A summary of the proposed strategy – its vision, aims, proposed actions and the new national outcome – is included below.

4.1 A Culture Strategy for Scotland: Draft Strategy Outline

The strategy is bold and ambitious. It is centred on the fundamental value of culture and its empowering and transformative potential. It is committed to long term change through greater collaboration and integration across culture, communities and policy development

Vision Statements

  • Culture in Scotland is innovative, inclusive and open to the wider world.
  • Cultural excellence – past, present and emerging – is celebrated and is fundamental to future prosperity and wellbeing.
  • Culture’s empowering and transformative power is experienced by everyone.

Transforming Through Culture

Recognising that culture and creativity are central to Scotland’s cultural, social and economic prosperity.

To

  • Place culture as a central consideration across all policy areas
  • Open up the potential of culture as a transformative opportunity across society
  • Position culture as central to progress in health & wellbeing, economy, education, reducing inequality and realising a greener and more innovative future.

By

  • Developing 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
  • Developing 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
  • Developing 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.

Empowering Through Culture

Opening up and extending culture so that it is of and for every community and everyone

To

  • Extend the view of culture to include the everyday and emerging, the established and more formal
  • Develop opportunities for people to take part in culture throughout their lives
  • Recognise each community’s own local culture in generating a distinct sense of place, identity and confidence.

By

  • Promoting an inclusive and extended view of culture which recognises and celebrates the value and importance of emerging, everyday and grassroots culture and creativity
  • Developing an approach that supports long term partnerships between cultural and creative organisations, businesses and organisations in Scotland’s most deprived communities, including schools, care homes and organisations working towards achieving social justice
  • Exploring ways in which people can have a greater say in shaping the cultural life of their communities including participatory models of decision-making and community ownership.

Sustaining Culture

Sustaining and nurturing culture to flourish and to evolve as a diverse, positive force in society, across all of Scotland.

To

  • Develop the conditions and skills for culture to thrive, so it is cared for, protected and produced for the enjoyment of all present and future generations
  • Value, trust and support creative people – for their unique and vital contribution to society and the economy
  • Encourage greater openness and diverse cultures to reflect a changing Scotland in the 21st century.

By

  • Exploring new funding models to support the culture sector and to develop the creative economy that includes new partnerships and examining the potential of Scottish Government powers such as Scottish National Investment Bank, devolved tax and legislative powers that will generate a collective responsibility to supporting culture in the long term
  • Developing programmes to support skills development, leadership and innovation to prepare for the future including digital
  • Supporting the freelance cultural workforce and nurture skills, talent and excellence by exploring ways to improve their economic and social status and adopt a broad and long term approach to supporting skills development from early years onwards
  • Increasing inclusive opportunities to broaden the backgrounds of those working and volunteering in the culture sectors
  • Developing a longer term and more strategic approach to supporting international ambitions and partnerships across the breadth of the culture sector.

Outcome We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely

4.2 Realising the vision and the role of government

The Scottish Government has facilitated the development of this draft strategy in an open and collaborative way so that it is reflective of, and responsive to, the views of others rather than affirming a government position.

The Scottish Government has levers and responsibilities that it can deploy to support culture, such as: taking an overview of national ambitions, outcomes and priorities and working towards an overall vision for society in Scotland; setting budgets and distributing funding; articulating a national and international outlook which has the ability to influence and convene; and using devolved powers to support the outcomes set out in the National Performance Framework.

Culture exists with or without government-led strategies or interventions.

It is only through working together that the vision for culture in Scotland will be realised. It depends upon the support of a wide range of bodies, organisations and individuals working across the culture sector and also other sector bodies, community groups and local champions/cultural leaders who help to make culture happen across the country.

Culture must be free to be inspiring, disruptive and plural.

This Government greatly values this freedom. The Scottish Government understands its role along with many other stakeholders, partners, businesses, audiences, participants and funders to ensure that culture is: supported to develop; to be diverse; to protect and care for culture and heritage; to question and to shape society; and to encourage debate about the ideas that influence society and offer new perspectives and stories about the challenges it encounters. It also has a significant responsibility to enable as many people as possible to prosper from culture. The role of government in supporting culture should continue to be part of ongoing debate and scrutiny.

4.3 Transforming through culture

Ambition:
Recognising that culture and creativity are central to Scotland’s social and economic prosperity.

Installation view, Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017. Courtesy Scotland + Venice. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh Credit: Photographer – Patrick Rafferty

Title: Installation view, Rachel Maclean, Spite Your Face, 2017. Courtesy Scotland + Venice. Commissioned by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh
Credit: Photographer – Patrick Rafferty

Aims:

  • Place culture as a central consideration across all policy areas.
  • Open up the potential of culture as a transformative opportunity across society.
  • Position culture as central to progress in health and wellbeing, economy, education, reducing inequality and realising a greener and more innovative future.

Profile and strategic potential

The draft strategy is an opportunity to raise ambitions around the potential and profile of culture and to recognise that culture can be at the centre of wider societal shifts. It places culture as of equal importance alongside other areas such as the economy, education, environment, health and tackling inequality, and values culture for the unique perspectives it can bring.

A more strategic approach is required to acknowledge the role culture can play in transforming opportunities for individuals and society.

This view should be embedded into broad policy decisions. A more collaborative approach to supporting culture will require joining up and working across sectors.

Critically, it is through culture and creativity that ideas are often developed, new possibilities are imagined, innovation occurs, and different perspectives are offered on the world.

Bringing different types of knowledge and perspectives together to address society’s wider challenges and to prepare for the future is essential. This is a future which will be underpinned by technological advancements, demographic change, economic instability and climate change. Responses to these challenges will rely on creative skills, creative careers and cultural communities.

The creative industries also have a valuable role to play in innovating for the wider economy across all areas of business. A key priority is therefore also to ensure productive connections across sectors, with creative industries adding value in terms of inventiveness, agility and creativity.

Culture and health

Health is not just an absence of illness, but a resource that enables people to live long, full and active lives. There are a broad range of factors that influence the health of Scotland’s population, inequality being one of the most important. According to the Chief Medical Officer’s 2018 report, a recent Scottish Burden of Disease study found that if ‘everyone in Scotland enjoyed the same level of health as the most affluent group, Scotland would be one of the healthiest countries in Europe.’ [44]

The medical care requirements of older populations continue to change and evolve, and are characterised by an increasing incidence of cancer, dementia and other long-term and complex requirements including poor mental health (such as stress and depression). An ageing population, however, also brings with it many advantages, and culture can help to challenge perceptions of age by celebrating age as a powerful dynamic in society.

There is an increased emphasis on adopting preventative approaches that require increased long-term investment at a time of reducing budgets. Culture contributes to health and wellbeing in a myriad of ways, from improving the overall environment for individuals and communities, to offering alternatives and complementary activities that support treatment and care. It also offers new and creative perspectives on distinctive solutions to some of society’s major challenges. Alternative activity to support treatment and care can keep people mentally and physically well, for example, through dance and singing, increasing confidence and resilience, and empowering individuals and communities with a sense of agency.

Community culture has also been found to play a role in helping the mental wellbeing of adults who experienced stressful and adverse experiences ( ACEs) in their childhood.

Challenges faced by people experiencing chronic social isolation, poor physical and mental health and a lack of autonomy, and children who are exposed to ACEs (which may have long-lasting impacts on their ability to think, interact with others and on learning and health throughout their lives), can be helped by a multi-disciplinary approach that includes culture. This sort of approach offers hope, builds wellbeing, strengthens social networks, challenges public perceptions and enables people’s voices to be heard. Public Health Wales [45] recently looked at what helps children and adults to be resilient in the face of ACEs and found that ‘enjoying community culture and traditions’ was associated with lower levels of mental illness. Glasgow Centre for Population Health [46] has also reported on evidence about social connections and health, concluding that cultural and creative programmes promote positive ‘social relations, social cohesion and reduced levels of isolation’, as well as nurturing ‘trust and reciprocity’ and fostering ‘tolerance and awareness of other races, religions and cultures within multicultural communities’.

The Tallest by Mamoru Iriguchi for the opening of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival Credit: Photographer – Alan McCredie

Title: The Tallest by Mamoru Iriguchi for the opening of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival
Credit: Photographer – Alan McCredie

Culture and education, children and young people

Education is a key public service which directly impacts on the life chances of the 689,000 pupils in primary, secondary and special schools, [47] as well as being a significant employer. Education is at the heart of achieving a fairer Scotland and ensuring that every child is able to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they will need to flourish in life, learning and work. All children in all parts of Scotland, whether in the least or most affluent areas, should enjoy good health and wellbeing, and have a fair chance to succeed. Schools and other education establishments are cultural organisations, acting as a critical part of the overall cultural infrastructure, with such establishments often being the first time a child is introduced to arts, culture and the importance of sharing and debating ideas. It is often where talent is spotted and supported. The Curriculum for Excellence supports the teaching of critical, creative thinking and arts subjects as well as using local culture and heritage as a foundation for learning across all subjects.

Culture and creativity helps young people grow confidently as citizens and can play an important role in helping children cope with stress and adversity that they may be experiencing in their lives. Creative and cultural education fosters young people’s critical thinking, problem-solving and visual and literacy skills that are essential for 21st Century society.

Culture and creativity empowers young people, building their self-confidence, enabling them to express their thoughts and emotions, and encouraging them to work collaboratively with others. It can lead to positive learning experiences which can change the way young people feel about themselves, school and education. Youth culture can provide an insight into what future society might be like. It is dynamic and open minded – digitally, politically, globally and civically engaged – but is also experiencing real challenges around educational attainment, employment opportunities, and mental health and anxiety. [48]

Culture, poverty and low income

Poverty, and the inequality it brings, spans child poverty to pensioner poverty. Child poverty is predicted to rise over the coming decades unless firm action is taken. [49] The Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22 [50] sets out a range of actions to make progress towards the targets in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. The focus is on the three main drivers of child poverty (income from work and earnings; costs of living; and income from social security) and on preventative action to help children and young people in poverty now avoid bringing up their own children in poverty in 2030. Those living in poverty, facing fuel poverty, or on a low income often have less opportunity to engage in certain types of culture than their wealthier counterparts. This can apply to cultural activities that are free to access but include hidden costs like transport or food costs. [51] It affects individuals, children and families across Scotland’s rural areas, islands, towns and cities. Culture can help children and adults make valuable social connections, improve self-confidence, develop creative skills, offer employment and volunteering opportunities and provide a means of exploring difficult issues as well as offering an enjoyable and fulfilling mode of self-expression. Culture can improve the life chances of all children, and people, in Scotland and therefore is an important element of any action taken to reduce poverty.

Culture and technology

Digital technology is changing the way people live and work. It has democratised broadcasting and publishing, created worldwide communities of interest and introduced disruptive and innovative business models. The speed and degree of change in technology and artificial intelligence are unparalleled and can have a positive impact on how people live, work and socialise. In terms of employment, an increasing number of roles and functions may become automatised and others computerised. New types of jobs will emerge requiring new forms of education and training, with creative thinking and skills becoming more important and vital. Creative jobs are some of the least likely to become automatised as the ability to imagine and innovate is the least likely to be replicated. Many artists, creative practitioners and producers who work in the service industries, for example, to support their creative work may find that these roles become redundant in the future.

Societies where creative skills are prioritised and creative occupations make up a large proportion of the workforce may be better placed to develop their organisations and business in light of the future direction of technology.

This highlights the benefits of focusing on creativity in education and expanding creative employment opportunities. [52] Creative and design skills are an essential skillset for digital products and services design. Digital society is opening up new kinds of opportunities for creative professionals – from creative writing, sound design, storyboarding and visual art skills needed in the computer games industries, through to graphic design, writing, and interaction and service design skills needed in digital service and product design.

Technological change is also transforming how culture is developed, produced, delivered and experienced, such as online streaming, digitisation and in online communities. [53]

It is likely that the next generation will have a radically different relationship to culture that takes place in buildings and at events from previous and current generations.

Technology offers both new opportunities for expanding culture, and improving access to certain types of culture. Culture has the potential to draw people in to gain the skills, to participate creatively in the digital world, to produce a virtuous circle of new opportunities, and to increase civic engagement. Technology and the future social and economic potential of Scotland may rest within innovation. Technology has the potential to improve access to many forms of culture for a broader range of audiences, to support new and interesting forms of cultural and creative expression, production and activity and by demonstrating what can be achieved through creative uses of technology. However, knowledge about the potential uses of technology appears patchy across the sector and not everyone has the skills and expertise to access everything that it has to offer. [54] There are also concerns around how live streaming and other forms of digital content may impact on live performance, ticket prices and copyright. It is important, therefore, that the sector is supported to explore and evolve, in order to make the best of the opportunities afforded by a technological future.

Culture and climate change

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of the age, with implications for the way people live.

The culture sector can play a major role in influencing behavioural change, providing leadership through debate and helping communities to imagine the possibilities and potential of a green future where there are reduced demands for energy, increased energy efficiency, and renewable and local energy systems are the norm.

There is growing awareness across the culture sector as a whole of the role that it can play in influencing behavioural change and providing guidance and leadership through practice which could better support society’s green ambitions. This role can help to achieve a broad range of environmental goals where behavioural change is needed to make progress. Historic Environment Scotland undertakes vital monitoring and research to inform approaches which will equip the historic environment to meet the challenges of climate change. The culture sector can also play an important role in helping people in Scotland to reconnect with nature, inspiring people to spend time in the outdoors and helping to create a sense of place and cultural identity.

The overall context provides an opportunity to consider how culture can offer leadership and imaginative ways to empower communities, as well as adapt and respond to cultural and social change. The strategy aims to place culture and creativity at the heart of a progressive and innovative society where much will be automated and where the struggle against climate change will become even more vital and relevant to everyone.

A national outcome for culture

In addition to the annual Programmes for Government, the Scottish Government’s work has been guided by the National Performance Framework ( NPF) since 2007.

The NPF sets out a vision of national wellbeing for Scotland and charts progress towards this through a range of social, environmental and economic outcomes which are measured by indicators.

Ten years after its inception, with the outcomes approach placed in statute through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) 2015 Act, the Scottish Government embarked on a public review and refresh of the NPF.

A completely revised NPF has now been developed in consultation with people across Scotland to reflect national values and aspirations for the future. It has also been formulated to link with and promote Scotland’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals which are aimed at improving wellbeing across the world.

There are now 11 National Outcomes and these include new outcomes on human rights, fair work and poverty as well as a re-focusing of an outcome for children with more emphasis on children’s own voice and perspective. The decision to develop an outcome for culture was in part in response to feedback from partners and stakeholders across Scotland that culture should have equal prominence in the NPF with the other policy areas. It also reflects the growing recognition amongst Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Government of the strategic significance of culture in Scotland, and their desire to encourage other policy areas to consider how their policy work can help to meet cultural outcomes. The inclusion of the new national outcome is of immense significance and will:

  • Improve the strategic visibility of culture and enable progress towards this outcome to be monitored more robustly.
  • Demonstrate increased commitment of Ministers to culture and creativity.
  • Foster better cross-government working and help to ensure that culture is included in policy development across other areas.
  • Continue to foster an outcomes-focused approach across the sectors.
  • Help other policy areas to consider culture in the development and delivery of their policies and strategies.

The new culture outcome is:

We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely.

Collaboration, cooperation and policy integration

The aspiration to forge better connections across government and improve links between cultural policy and other policy areas such as health; education; tourism; energy; community development; international relations; the economy; and with the private sector and local government, was one of the ambitions most frequently raised throughout the engagement phase. Developing a more collective understanding of what culture does will mean that culture will be better integrated across other policy areas. This should help to:

  • Raise the profile, value and relevance of culture within the bigger picture of social change.
  • Identify policy synergies and create a united sense of purpose within the context of challenging resources.
  • Develop a learning culture whereby different skills and types of expertise are respected and can achieve more when brought together.
  • Ensure cultural considerations are included at an early stage of decision-making in other areas to make sure it is protected and enhanced.
  • Support risk taking and innovation as well as information, skills and resource sharing.
  • Allow creative thinking and fresh perspectives to enhance policy formulation and decision-making across government.

Culture is already embedded within many Scottish Government policies but the full potential of culture to transform the lives of individuals and communities as well as contribute to the overall wellbeing of the nation is not always recognised.

The model at Annex C summarises the key areas of government policy where culture makes, or has the potential to make, a significant contribution.

Transforming through culture: Actions

The cultural and creative sectors are a significant and unique force within society that contribute to physical wellbeing, mental health and community strength. Yet this contribution could be significantly boosted by better inter- and cross-sector partnerships that plan for the long term.

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

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.

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.

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.

What is your view of the ambition ‘Transforming through culture’?

What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition.

4.4 Empowering through culture

Ambition:
Opening up and extending culture so that it is of and for every community and everyone.

Strip the Willow, Helmsdale, Sutherland. Translocation Festival programme Credit: Timespan

Title: Strip the Willow, Helmsdale, Sutherland. Translocation Festival programme
Credit: Timespan

Aims:

  • Extend the view of culture to include the everyday and emerging, the established and more formal.
  • Develop opportunities for people to take part in culture throughout their lives.
  • Recognise the importance of each community’s own local culture in generating a distinct sense of place, identity and confidence.

Empowering Scotland’s communities

As well as language and landscape, Scotland’s array of historic and contemporary buildings, from the fortified castles, to domestic architecture of brochs, farms and village dwellings, to cultural and civic buildings and places, contribute to a strong sense of place and identity. Scotland has long celebrated its world-renowned architecture and design which enhances the lives of local communities and forms the backdrop to where people live, work and visit every day. It is clear from the many culture conversations that were held across Scotland as part of the engagement phase that people are proud of their local heritage and cultures – each place is culturally distinctive and what people value about culture in their area is very personal.

Advances in technology and urbanisation have a clear impact on how communities interact with each other. In addition, increasing living and housing costs, as well as more demanding jobs, have resulted in longer commutes and shifting boundaries of communities. [55] Urban areas and cities are becoming busier and more diverse, which can create issues around integration and affect people’s sense of belonging. [56] Social isolation is increasingly a challenge for some, especially those living in rural areas, disabled and older people and newcomers including refugees. [57] Culture offers a way for people to come together around particular cultural activities in a range of different settings, including online. This supports the development of important social networks and relationships and enables those from different backgrounds to come together around a shared interest or activity.

Opening up and extending culture

People engage with culture in a huge range of ways, formal and informal, traditional and emerging, both in ways that are highly visible and in ways that are more discreet and personal. If the view of culture is expanded, it becomes clear that peoples’ participation and engagement in culture is diverse. Culture belongs to everyone and everyone has their own cultural identities – everyone is leading plural cultural lives.

For many in Scotland, culture is part of everyday life, many have satisfying jobs in the sector and many more access and participate in culture in many and diverse ways on a regular basis. However, there are growing challenges.

Culture is sometimes seen as an embellishment, or is regarded as being for and of a few, therefore not representing all of society. For many people and communities across Scotland, some of the more established cultural riches that Scotland has are out of reach, and the cultural life experienced within local communities is too often viewed as a secondary part of culture. Yet it is often through local, community-led culture that the greatest transformations can occur.

Access, participation and engagement

Some groups are not engaging in culture (as it is currently measured) to the same extent as the wider population, including people on low incomes, communities in areas of multiple deprivation, and those who do not have higher education qualifications. However, this data is based on a relatively limited list of cultural activities which may not reflect the wide range of activities people participate in. [58] Other research demonstrates that people in all communities, from all backgrounds, are culturally engaged but in ways that may not be currently measured or perhaps valued. [59] The way that cultural engagement is measured therefore needs to be reconsidered.

There is a major challenge with the lack of resources and opportunity that poverty causes. Children living in poverty do not have the same opportunities to participate in culture as their better-off counterparts, even though early engagement in culture and creativity has lifelong benefits for all, whether a creative career is the outcome or not. [60] Evidence shows those who engage in cultural activity in earlier years are more likely to participate and attend when they are adults. They become the audiences of the future, regardless of parental background of wealth or poverty. It is vital, therefore, that the conditions are created to enable access to, and engagement in, culture in communities and within individual families from as early as possible and for as long as possible.

More reflection and action based upon an understanding of the experiences of communities, particularly in more economically deprived areas, is needed. With the question ‘are communities hard to reach or is it the cultural organisations that are hard to reach?’ relevant to the whole culture sector as a means of exploring the sector’s civic responsibility.

Ageing, health inequality and disability are further factors that limit access and participation. Yet culture can be hugely beneficial for older people, people with health needs or disabled people. [61]

Keeping mentally active and socially engaged are as important as maintaining physical health, and culture can, and does, offer huge opportunities for individual and community wellbeing.

Scotland is considered by many as being at the forefront of supporting disabled artists yet more can be done to make sure that all communities are supported not only to participate in but also to forge a career in culture if they choose to do so. In some cases, specific provision may be needed to support these aspirations, for example for British Sign Language ( BSL) Users and those with learning difficulties or Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD).

Communities and geography

The latest population estimates reveal that for the eighth year running, Scotland’s population has continued to increase and stands at a record high of 5.42 million (as at 30 June 2017). [62] The central belt is experiencing the highest population increase, with the areas of Midlothian, City of Edinburgh, and East Renfrewshire seeing the largest increases between 2016 and 2017. The figures also show that the population continues to age, with just under 1 in 5 people (19%) aged 65 and over, compared to 16% in 2007. Positive net migration is the main reason Scotland’s population is increasing, whilst natural change (births minus deaths) has not contributed to Scotland’s population growth in the last 10 years. The growth rate is slowing even though the overall population increased by 0.4% over the year. The growth rate has slowed compared to previous years due to a reduction in overall net migration. This dependence on migration for population growth draws further attention to the challenges and uncertainties that Scotland faces in light of Brexit and changes to UK immigration policy which are likely to have serious implications in the future. At the same time, certain parts of the country like Argyll & Bute and Inverclyde are experiencing population decline, raising questions about how to retain populations, especially young people, in certain communities through job availability. [63]

Current and projected demographics demonstrate the important role that communities should play in determining how culture is supported to meet the specific needs of all of the distinctive and diverse communities across Scotland. There is a need to understand the implications of the challenges faced locally, which are in part driven by population change, and how culture can help to bring communities together to adapt to those challenges and changes. The diversity and accessibility of cultural opportunities in an area not only builds community cohesion generally but can often promote mutual understanding between and mutual respect for the cultural expression of, for example, younger and older generations and between newcomers and existing communities. Cultural opportunities also help to retain local talent across the country rather than clustering opportunities in Scotland’s major cities, making Scotland’s towns, villages and islands more desirable places to work as well as live. This supports the Scottish Government’s drive for greater geographical equity which is being underpinned by legislation like the Islands (Scotland) Bill [64] which will seek to ensure that island communities see as much benefit from policies as their mainland counterparts. Culture can create opportunities that take jobs into remote rural areas, as well as harnessing the indigenous skills in places, encouraging cultural excellence to develop across the whole country.

Commonwealth Ceilidh, Aberdeen. The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society Credit: Photographer – Colin Thom

Title: Commonwealth Ceilidh, Aberdeen. The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
Credit: Photographer – Colin Thom

One of Scotland’s strengths and opportunities is its diverse geography and the communities that inhabit it. The importance of understanding that each place is distinctive and different, and requires different approaches to supporting and developing culture from within communities, is paramount.

The heavily populated central belt receives the most public funding and also offers the most cultural job opportunities. [65] Cultural buildings and events are often at the centre of communities across all of Scotland and offer safe, welcoming public places and civic spaces where people can come together. Public libraries, for example, remain one of the few buildings left with no shop or commercial expectation from its visitors. Publicly-funded cultural buildings are part of communities and belong to each citizen and resident. Sustaining and protecting cultural places and spaces into the future will require organisations and communities to work together so that building, spaces and places evolve as society changes.

Geographic inequality is also found within the central belt itself with activity focused in cities rather than the suburban areas and smaller towns in between Glasgow and Edinburgh. There is also inequality within cities and across many rural areas too, with funding and infrastructure concentrated in city centres.

The importance of considering the community view and experience of culture is critical, as is recognising the importance of each community’s own forms of local culture in generating a sense of place and identity, an ethos which underpins the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. [66]

Similar to hidden costs in relation to poverty and low income, often practical barriers such as travel costs were cited as significant barriers to those living out with major centres. Transport for disabled children and young people is often overlooked in regions with large geographic terrains and in outlying urban communities, with the expectation that people should travel to culture rather than it occurring where it suits communities most. There are many innovative programmes engaging with children and young people but access remains an issue with transport costs and travel times a significant barrier for rural/remote schools. Time to Shine’s supporting document, What’s Behind It, highlighted that transport costs are a major barrier to engagement for young people in both rural and urban areas. [67]

It is also important to note that the notion of community has expanded to include virtual online communities as well as those that are formed in relation to specific interests or for mutual support, extending beyond local areas. People who identify with the same culture or cultural activities may not always be living side by side.

Scotland is home to a wide variety of communities and cultures including different faith and belief communities; minority ethnic and migrant communities, refugees and asylum seekers; gypsy traveller communities; deaf culture and British Sign Language ( BSL) users; and youth culture.

Empowering through culture: Actions

Culture is for, and of, each and every community across Scotland. Everyone should have the opportunity to flourish through culture.

Empowering Through Culture

Ambition: Opening up and extending culture so that it is of, and for, every community and everyone.

Aim 1:
Extend the view of culture to include the everyday and emerging, the established and more formal.

Action 1:
Promote an inclusive and extended view of culture which recognises and celebrates the value and importance of emerging, everyday and grassroots culture and creativity.

Aim 2:
Develop opportunities for people to take part in culture throughout their lives.

Action 2:
Develop an approach that supports long-term partnerships between cultural and creative organisations, businesses and organisations in Scotland’s most deprived communities, including schools, care homes and organisations working towards achieving social justice.

Aim 3:
Recognise each community’s own local culture in generating a distinct sense of place, identity and confidence.

Action 3:
Explore ways in which people can have a greater say in shaping the cultural life of their communities including participatory models of decision-making and community ownership.

What is your view of the ambition ‘Empowering through culture’?

What do you like or dislike or what would you change?

Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition.

4.5 Sustaining culture

Ambition: Sustaining and nurturing culture to flourish and to evolve as a diverse, positive force in society, across all of Scotland.

Edinburgh Printmakers Studio Credit: Edinburgh Printmakers

Title: Edinburgh Printmakers Studio
Credit: Edinburgh Printmakers

Aims:

  • Develop the conditions and skills for culture to thrive, so it is cared for, protected and produced for the enjoyment of all present and future generations.
  • Value, trust and support creative people – for their unique and vital contribution to society and the economy.
  • Encourage greater openness and diverse cultures to reflect a changing Scotland in the 21st-century.

Economy, funding and support

Economic growth is hugely important, but it must be matched by improvements in environment, in people’s quality of life, in the opportunities available to people and the public services they have access to. There is a clear commitment in Scotland to grow and diversify the economy whilst also tackling increasing inequality between rich and poor by developing an inclusive economy. [68]

Employment levels are currently robust but there is growing evidence of under-employment and low pay. [69] The increasing ageing population results in a higher dependency ratio in terms of tax take (there are fewer people of working age to support a larger number of non-working older people). The high level of UK debt following the recession has resulted in strict austerity measures, which have brought about reductions in public sector expenditure and reduced budgets across the UK and in Scotland.

Scotland needs to continue to grow and diversify its businesses, re-industrialise, strengthen the role of export-generating sectors, and focus on encouraging firms to invest, innovate and export.

The culture sector, including export products with strong cultural relevance such as food and drink, are key to both local and national economies in Scotland. This is particularly true around culture and heritage tourism, the culture sector more broadly, and the creative industries, which all provide a range of employment locally as well as attracting an international workforce.

The fundamental nature of creative skills and creative thinking means that the culture sector is innovative and can often test and suggest new approaches and open up new ways of doing business across the country.

On many levels culture in Scotland is successful – locally, nationally and internationally. Yet not everyone prospers from this success. According to an increasing number of reports and from feedback received during the engagement phase of the strategy, many in the culture sector often feel vulnerable, undervalued and unable to reach their potential in terms of creative ambitions, economic potential, organisational development and extending (or deepening) reach. [70]

In terms of overall budget, culture is allocated relatively small amounts yet it achieves much for many.

The public funding of culture reflects its value and contribution to society with creative people, cultural organisations, buildings and places and events emanating from the heart of communities and enhancing community and national life. It positions culture as an essential part of public and civic life.

The cultural sector and wider creative economy is a significant employer and generates ideas and innovation, creates distinct identities for communities – making them attractive to live in, work in, study in, invest in and visit. [71]

The power of culture to stimulate economic growth across the creative industries is widely recognised. Growth within the creative industries in many ways relies on a strong and evolving culture sector supported by public funding.

Often lines are drawn between the public and the private sectors, and the subsidised and the commercial, in terms of the perceived appropriateness of some commercial sponsorship and commercially successful cultural activities. These lines can be rooted within ideas of quality and ethics, and the debate about how the public and the private sectors both support society are an important part of overall culture. In reality, public funding provides a base from which individuals and organisations can co-exist and operate inter-dependently across public funding and commercial opportunities and support.

There is a significant opportunity to rethink the boundaries between public, private and community so that new ways of working together, in genuine partnership, to support culture can be explored.

Evidence from funders and applicants, and from feedback received during the engagement phase shows that demand and competition for funding from all sources (public and private) is extremely high. This causes a complex set of challenges in terms of:

  • Narrowing the diversity of the sector as current approaches to funding may unfairly advantage those who are already established and have existing networks.
  • Limiting the sustainability of organisations and overall potential of the sector to develop as funding is insecure, short term and often requires high levels of administration to apply for funds and secure partner funding.
  • Impacting negatively on individuals and smaller organisations who cannot navigate the funding landscape as successfully as larger counterparts, and potentially creating a risk-averse funding culture that leaves individuals and smaller organisations to absorb business risks.
  • Applying pressure on a limited number of funders to manage processes of funding, rather than exploring and developing alternative approaches and seeking out partnership and collaborative approaches to funding and support, including learning from other sectors.
  • Developing international opportunities across the culture sector.
  • Enabling larger organisations with more sustainable funding to exploit international opportunities.
  • Not providing clear, dedicated plans for developing and supporting talented individuals (from a range of backgrounds) from early years through to further education and on to a professional career.
  • Increasing pressure on local authority budgets.

Brexit adds another complex set of challenges and was raised by many contributors as a concern. In early 2017, Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland commissioned work to analyse the extent of EU funding received by the Scottish culture and historic environment sectors over the period 2007-16. This analysis suggests that at least £59 million, supporting around 650 projects, was received by organisations in Scotland from EU sources during this period. While the EU’s funding programmes provide significant financial resources for the cultural and creative sectors, of equal importance is the cultural collaboration and exchange that is encouraged and facilitated by the framework and freedom of movement provided by the EU. [73]

A reduction in capital funding is another source of pressure.

Maintaining capital investment in the culture sector remains strategically important and can often be successful in helping to secure significant additional investment from other sources across the public, private and third sectors.

Scotland’s capital allocation from the UK Government was cut by around 35% in 2010-11, presenting a significant challenge to the culture and heritage organisations, many of whom welcome visitors and audiences to some of Scotland’s most cherished and inspiring buildings and places. The sector depends on the quality and range of its assets, both physical and virtual. A reduction in capital support impacts on both sustaining and creating buildings, historic sites, landscapes, monuments and public art and sculpture, often the most visible forms of culture in communities and landscapes. To sustain buildings, maintain visitor numbers and international reputation these assets need to be of high quality and a magnet for the 21st-century visitor. Over recent years investment has also been targeted to fund digital initiatives for the culture and heritage sector which support the expansion of on-line public access systems and expand the potential contribution and impact of cultural assets, in many cases expanding their reach across Scotland and internationally.

Capital investment stimulates engagement with a wide variety of communities and the welcoming of schools and community groups into the cultural environment provides unique and exciting experiences and opportunities for learning and interaction.

Challenges and opportunities identified by contributors to the engagement phase included:

  • Mitigating recent reductions in lottery funding affecting investment in capital to protect the cultural and heritage infrastructure, whilst maintaining the sustainability of existing cultural and heritage buildings and sites, and supporting them to adapt to wider societal and environmental shifts.
  • Ensuring maximum contribution from the sector to manage the transition to a low carbon economy and delivering climate change targets.
  • Charging VAT on reusing existing buildings but not on new developments.

Of course support for culture is not all about financial support. Robust policy and legal frameworks; support for volunteering and day-to-day cultural activity; making space available for culture to happen; and providing guidance, expertise, mentoring and other forms of support are needed as well to ensure culture continues to thrive.

Working together and leadership

Opportunities for greater cooperation and joined-up working across the culture sectors, and other sectors, were viewed by many during engagement phase discussions as a key area of potential.

It was widely acknowledged that there are models of best practice taking place across the country and that more could be done to highlight and embed these more broadly.

These conversations highlighted that the strategy could help to support the potential of the sector to increase peer-to-peer support and collaboration for the benefit of all by developing more joined-up and cooperative approaches to funding, planning and developing the sectors overall potential – its people, organisations, infrastructure, networks and audiences.

Potential benefits include:

  • Sharing information and resource sharing.
  • Mentoring and skills sharing.
  • Improving communication and learning.
  • Supporting leadership.
Woman costume cutting. Scottish Opera Credit: Photographer – Liz Lees

Title: Woman costume cutting. Scottish Opera
Credit: Photographer – Liz Lees

Cultural workforce and developing excellence

Scotland’s workforce is directly affected by demographic and social changes with corresponding economic and societal challenges. The way that people work is expected to continue to shift from office based 9-5 work to increased flexibility (due to technological developments) with increased blurring of boundaries between work, home and travel. The culture sector is in many ways pre-empting these wider shifts in working patterns as it is underpinned by a freelance workforce that already experiences the benefits and challenges of a freelance life.

The culture and creative sector in Scotland comprises a growing, highly flexible and expert workforce. It is underpinned by a large freelance contingent working alongside sole traders, small to medium enterprises and those leading and employed by publicly-funded organisations, as well as wider support and related roles that reach into many other sectors. It is often defined by the issues, barriers and risks facing those working in the sector rather than by its potential to be an inclusive and socially diverse workforce populated by leaders and innovators. It has the potential to model best practice, in terms of freelancing, as more sectors move towards freelance models of working.

The financial challenges facing freelancers, including artists and creative producers, is a major issue that was raised at almost every event held during the Engagement Phase. Many felt that the people who create, their contribution to society, and the creative process itself could be better recognised and valued.

Artists and other freelance workers often:

  • Experience challenging working patterns and uneven rates of pay.
  • Experience instances of being expected to work for very little or for free.
  • Face expectations that people starting out in creative careers should undertake unpaid internships. (This gives an advantage to those with the means to apply and fulfil these positions and with the relevant contacts and networks which continues to reinforce inequality of opportunities.). [74]
  • Report that a freelance career can be unsustainable over a long period of time without some other means of support, with many juggling multiple jobs as well as caring responsibilities. [75]
  • Report being disadvantaged by current funding programmes due to the competitive nature of funds, onerous applications and complex reporting requirements.
  • Experience few opportunities and absence of coordinated support across Scotland when starting out in a freelance career.

The status of the cultural workforce and ways to improve their economic and social position – in particular, helping ensure cultural incomes are above the poverty threshold wherever possible – is a major challenge that this draft strategy seeks to address. Scotland is poorer without the diverse ideas and contribution of artists and creative people.

The impact of volunteering is visible across the culture sector. Many organisations, events and boards of cultural organisations are made up of, and benefit from, the knowledge and expertise of volunteers, many of whom have previously worked professionally in the culture sector. It is vital that these volunteering and cultural leadership opportunities are open
to all.

Culture and diversity

During the engagement phase, contributors felt that geographic, ethnic and social inequality appears to characterise culture in Scotland in terms of the sector itself and those that have the opportunities to access and participate in it. This is backed up by recent research reports.

All levels of cultural delivery and decision-making could benefit from greater diversity to enrich all areas of the culture sector and society.

Major challenges highlighted by contributors include the need for:

  • greater diversity among employees in cultural organisations and funders including senior teams, boards and volunteers. [76]
  • a broadening of those entering arts and creative education in terms of background and then working in culture more broadly. [77]
  • more development opportunities including access to funding and support with current approaches being perceived as favouring the more established. This would encourage greater diversity in programming, output and audience. [78]
  • greater availability or better access to cultural spaces, facilities and buildings, [79] including access to unused spaces in empty buildings in cities, towns and villages.
  • more visible role models across civic life from schools to media. Cultural role models are increasingly crucial to enable a wider range of people to identify with, and be inspired by, people who are from a more diverse range of backgrounds in terms of: age; socio-economic background; gender; ethnicity; race; disability and sexuality. [80]

Debate around whether a career within culture is largely accessible for those from a white, middle-class background only continues apace. The UK-wide Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission reporting in 2014 concluded that many of the highest earning jobs in the UK were disproportionately filled by privately educated people compared to the general profile of the UK population. It reported that although only 7% of the UK population were privately educated, 44% of the top jobs in film, TV and music fell to those with a private education. [81]

In recent years the trend has been to analyse audiences rather than also looking at the diversity of the sector itself. It is clear from engagement phase discussions that people from all communities do engage culturally, but major organisations and institutions may not value or recognise different ways of working, developing and expressing culture. In the engagement phase artists and creative producers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds expressed concern at the limited availability of opportunities in the sector due to the limited scope of programming across many cultural organisations. Contributors from various communities right across Scotland discussed the relative merits of outreach programmes by major cultural organisations and there was an overriding sense that there were many excellent programmes and approaches but that this approach alone was not diversifying and broadening participation in some types of culture.

One potential driver of audience diversification, of encouraging audiences to evolve to become more representative of society in Scotland today, is likely to be through the sector itself becoming more diverse and its make-up changing to be more inclusive and equitable at all levels.

All public bodies are required to report on workforce equality and show how they are working towards tackling inequalities and promoting diversity. Much good work is already underway. For example, Creative Scotland’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan published in 2015 sets out their approach. This strategy seeks to build on the commitments already being undertaken across the sector and to look for new ways to ensure that new and dynamic approaches are considered and tested which can lead to meaningful change.

International working

The world is increasingly global, connected
by advances in developments in technology and transportation. People, objects, ideas and news stories can move and be disseminated at an unprecedented speed, intensity and distance. The movement of people from different backgrounds across the globe (as migrants and tourists) enhances exchange, sharing and integration of cultural ideas, values and attitudes.

As set out in the 2018 refresh of Scotland’s International Framework and supporting Policy Statement, [82] culture is fundamental to Scotland’s positive international reputation as an open, creative, welcoming and confident nation. Cultural engagement builds trust and strengthens understanding of other nations and cultures, and the ensuing relationships are a cornerstone of international activities.

The implications of the UK Government’s decision to leave the EU will impact directly on the culture and creative sectors in Scotland. The Scottish Government firmly believes that Scotland’s future is best served by continued EU membership. Currently, Scottish organisations have significant success in accessing European Funding Programmes, benefiting from the open borders which enable Scottish creative professionals to develop relationships with counterparts across Europe and take their work to international markets and audiences. Scotland enjoys international culture that tours to Scotland and international audiences come to Scotland to enjoy what Scotland offers culturally. A skilled and vital workforce of non- UK EU nationals works right across the culture and creative industries sector in Scotland. The single market and customs union allows creative companies to export goods and services to a market of over 500 million people and European Regulatory frameworks provide security, support and set standards that support culture, creativity and heritage across Europe more generally, for example, intellectual property and copyright; broadcasting; environmental regulation; and building standards. Cultural collaboration lies at the heart of Scotland’s relationship with the European Union, though cultural exchange with Europe has a longer and illustrious history. It is critical to ensure that this spirit of openness and collaboration will endure through a future relationship with the EU. [83]

Scotland is often viewed as being culturally excellent – its cultural venues, traditional music and dance, festivals, visual art and heritage attractions are internationally renowned.

Culture, and artists, play a key role in international diplomacy and culture is widely recognised as being critical to how Scotland is viewed internationally.

Scotland is respected as an outward-looking and globally aware country that has a long history of cultural collaboration, not least via the Scottish diaspora who have made their homes across the world. It is important that these international ties are nurtured and valued for the way that they connect Scotland to the wider world and foster mutual understanding.

International collaborations also push the boundaries of what is possible culturally and technically, driving innovation and encouraging cultural excellence. Culture is one of Scotland’s greatest exports.

More can be done to ensure that the international successes enjoyed by a relatively small number is shared more broadly, particularly beyond the central belt where there are aspirations to either work internationally, or to have the international work already carried out by many, recognised more broadly. There was also a strong desire expressed throughout the engagement phase to ensure that when culture is represented overseas, it is done so in a way that is authentic and representative of the diversity of culture in a 21st-century Scotland, both mainstream and alternative views; formal and informal; the many heritages as well as the contemporary and emerging.

Sustaining culture: Actions

A collective approach to sustaining culture in Scotland which recognises the central importance
of culture to society and faces the economic challenges.

Sustaining Culture

Ambition: Sustaining and nurturing culture to flourish and to evolve as a diverse, positive force in society, across all of Scotland.

Aim 1:
Develop the conditions and skills for culture to thrive, so it is cared for, protected and produced for the enjoyment of all present and future generations.

Action 1:
Explore new funding models to support the culture sector and to develop the creative economy that includes new partnerships and examine the potential of Scottish Government powers such as, Scottish National Investment Bank, devolved tax and legislative powers that will generate a collective responsibility to supporting culture in the long term.

Action 2:
Develop programmes to support skills development, leadership and innovation to prepare for the future including digital.

Aim 2:
Value, trust and support creative people – for their unique and vital contribution to society and the economy.

Action 3:
Support the freelance cultural workforce and nurture skills, talent and excellence by exploring ways to improve their economic and social status and adopt a broad and long-term approach to supporting skills development from early years onwards.

Aim 3:
Encourage greater openness and diverse cultures to reflect a changing Scotland in the 21st-century.

Action 4:
Increase inclusive opportunities to broaden the backgrounds of those working and volunteering in the culture sectors.

Action 5:
Develop a longer-term and more strategic approach to supporting international ambitions and partnerships across the breadth of the culture sector.

What is your view of the ambition ‘Sustaining culture’?

What do you like or dislike or what would you change?

Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition.

The final culture strategy will highlight where individuals, communities, and organisations are already working towards the vision, ambition and aims of the strategy. Please provide details of any examples of good work and best practice, from Scotland or internationally, that you think could be included in the final strategy. We are interested in a range of different approaches.

What can you or your organisation do to support the vision, aims, ambitions and actions of the strategy?


Contact