2. Foreword by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture
How a nation values its many cultures and heritages, its artists, its creative people and its communities gives an insight into its wider values.
In Scotland we are deeply and passionately proud of our culture. We value culture in and of itself and recognise and celebrate the creativity of our artists and producers across the country. Our culture defines who and what we are: it is the way we talk, the way we think and the way we treat one another. It is everywhere in and around us individual and unique but it is sometimes hard to define or put into words.
In my ten years as Culture Secretary I've had the enormous pleasure of experiencing first-hand the sheer transformational power of culture in Scotland. I've seen whole communities brought together in celebration connecting them to their past. I've witnessed the expression of deep emotions. I've been moved and astonished at beauty, fulfilment and joy found in surprising and inspiring ways. Culture is the life force that energises individuals and communities to grow.
This culture strategy builds on the national culture conversation, acknowledging the indisputable place that culture must have at the centre of society and government. We want to harness the power of culture to strengthen communities and to transform lives; to improve health and wellbeing; to contribute to growing the economy with products, services, jobs and investment and to bring creative approaches to design better communities.
I am grateful to the organisations and communities, artists, musicians, creative people and everyone who values culture who have taken part in the national culture conversation to help shape this strategy and helped identify the challenges and barriers which still need to be broken down. I also welcome the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee's 2019 inquiry into the future of funding for the arts in Scotland which took evidence from a broad range of sources and has added a valuable contribution to the national culture conversation.
I want this strategy to empower people everywhere to celebrate and recognise culture in its many forms. It sets out the principles we will use to guide future policies and initiatives. It sets out a suite of ambitions to be realised for culture to thrive.
The context of the strategy is a time of unprecedented financial and societal challenges. It has never been more important to develop new, and strengthen existing, partnerships and local and national leadership. We in the Scottish Government want to support the work in communities, organisations and by individuals to boost the benefits of culture's role for wellbeing.
I want the conversation to continue and for words to become actions. That is why I am establishing a National Partnership for Culture to take a comprehensive view of our cultural landscape and advise my fellow Ministers and I on how we can support culture more effectively. The partnership will seek views from across the culture and other sectors to create better understanding and synergies. And we will continue that cultural conversation as we strive to strengthen, transform and empower.