A Culture Strategy for Scotland

A Culture Strategy for Scotland shows how important culture is to Scotland’s prosperity and sets the future direction for supporting culture in Scotland.

3. The Vision for Scotland

Title: Crawick Multiverse, an artland visitor attraction and events venue in Dumfries and Galloway
Credit: Photographer - Kenny Lam. Reproduced courtesy of VisitScotland

Crawick Multiverse, an artland visitor attraction and events venue in Dumfries and Galloway

Scotland is a place where culture is valued, protected and nurtured. Culture is woven through everyday life, shapes and is shaped by society, and its transformative potential is experienced by everyone. Scotland's rich cultural heritage and creativity of today is inspired by people and place, enlivens every community and is celebrated around the world.

The national culture conversation

This is the first culture strategy for Scotland in more than a decade. The strategy draws on the themes raised by the many people across Scotland who took part in our national culture conversation which began in 2017 and led to a public consultation in 2018[1]. It sets out a collaborative vision for culture and the guiding principles, ambitions and aims which will enable it to continue to flourish, evolve, and help to stimulate its transformational power across society.

A Culture Strategy for Scotland is an overarching strategy and sits in synergy with existing strategies for Scotland's historic environment, museums and galleries and libraries.

Vision for culture in Scotland

Culture must be valued first and foremost in and of itself. It is central to who we are and who we seek to be. It is Scotland's strength, and it is abundant.

Across Scotland, the cultural contribution of past generations is everywhere to see, hear and inspire, from our landscape to our smallest most rural communities to our largest cities. Cultural activity takes place across the country every day and is expressed in a wide variety of ways from the established to the informal, emerging and grassroots.

Culture should be free to challenge and inspire, enjoy independence and enable self-expression. Nurturing culture and enabling it to flourish is an essential and powerful part of the fabric of any society.

We recognise culture's unique contribution to society, and the valuable role of artists, designers, creative practitioners, producers and business and cultural organisations. We value the specialist skills, knowledge and expertise of our world-class heritage sector.

Shared cultural experiences foster inclusivity, creativity and understanding. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in, develop and enjoy culture which, in turn, helps individuals and communities to thrive in Scotland.

Cultural engagement has a significant impact on wellbeing and delivers many benefits. It should be central to how we imagine new transformative possibilities for individuals, communities, the economy, businesses and society.

This vision for culture in Scotland is underpinned by a series of ambitions and aims. It sets out the priorities for action which will shape how culture is supported in Scotland over the coming years.

Guiding principles

How a nation values its many cultures and heritages, its artists, creative people and its communities is an insight into its wider values and priorities. The values and views expressed by people throughout the development of this strategy consistently acknowledge the intrinsic value and reach of culture, reflected in the principles below:


  • Culture in Scotland is valued in and of itself
  • Culture is free to be inspiring and to challenge
  • Culture is central to the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland - cultural, social, economic and environmental
  • We celebrate the diversity and excellence of cultures in Scotland and the value of open exchange with the wider world
  • Everyone has the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits (Article 27, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)[2]
  • Place - community, landscape, language and geography - is important and reflects the creativity of the past and provides inspiration for cultural expression today

National outcome for culture

The inclusion for the first time of a dedicated outcome for culture in the National Performance Framework in its 2018 refresh raises the strategic profile of culture across both national and local government, affirms Scottish Ministers' commitment to culture and encourages a stronger focus on activity across the culture sector[3] to contribute to the culture outcome and many of the other outcomes where culture has a contribution to make[4].

A National Outcome for Culture

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

Case study: Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow

CCA is an arts centre with a core programme of visual arts and residencies and a wide, open source, partner programme where spaces are offered to other groups and individuals for free.

Audiences at CCA are incredibly varied. The CCA have over 300 partner programmes and host 26 festivals annually which attract audiences from diverse communities and a variety of backgrounds.

They open up their space to a wide spectrum of the population - not only to come to the space as an audience, but to take ownership of the space and programme their own events for their own communities. The constant mixture of different audiences and communities has led to an organic crossover as one group discovers another.

Title: Fish Police, Counterflows at CCA Glasgow, 2016.
Credit: Photographer - Pavel De

Fish Police, Counterflows at CCA Glasgow, 2016


Email: culturestrategyandengagement@gov.scot

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