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.

4. Ambition 1: Strengthening culture

Title: The Stove Network: Nithraid River Festival, Dumfries (Salty Coo procession led by Jordan Chisholm and Dylan Coulthard)
Credit: Photographer - Kirstin McEwan

The Stove Network: Nithraid River Festival, Dumfries

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

Our aims are to:

  • Develop the conditions and skills for culture to thrive, so it is cared for, protected and produced for the enjoyment and enrichment 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
  • Foster international collaboration and build on Scotland's reputation for cultural excellence

To do this we will:

Consider ways to support the cultural workforce including through a new Arts Alive programme and advocating for fair work practices and a living wage for the cultural and creative workforce

  • Undertake a status review of cultural workforce and leadership development in Scotland, led by Creative Scotland
  • Continue to work on making the culture and heritage sector part of Scotland as a Fair Work Nation by 2025[5], looking at the potential impact of Fair Work criteria being part of relevant grant schemes
  • 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
  • Work with our partners to realise the vision and priorities in our Policy Statement for the Creative Industries[6]
  • Support Museums Galleries Scotland to build on their Skills for Success programme[7] by developing future approaches to diversify skills and widen access to careers in culture across the sector
  • Continue to work in partnership with the national culture and heritage bodies on support for creative people, Scotland's international profile including the international touring and festival appearances by the National Performing Companies supported by the International Touring Fund and international loans by and from the National Collections
  • Continue to press the UK Government for the much needed changes to immigration, trade and wider mobility issues for our cultural sectors to ensure that Scotland can continue to operate effectively as a cultural and creative leader on the world stage
  • Work with Creative Scotland and the network of Scottish Government offices outside Scotland to facilitate opportunities across the culture sector by working with stakeholders to promote and encourage international cultural exchange and collaboration, showcasing Scotland as a progressive, pioneering and creative nation
  • Establish a National Partnership for Culture to work with individuals and organisations across culture and other sectors to continue the national culture conversation - identifying opportunities and synergies, advising Ministers and building on this strategy and the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee's 2019 inquiry into the future of funding for the arts in Scotland.

Scottish Government support for culture

The Scottish Government believes in the intrinsic value of culture and we are committed to supporting it. We recognise the transformative effect that culture can have on individuals and communities, and we celebrate Scotland's cultural excellence including the work of our five National Performing Companies: National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Opera. Each of the companies demonstrates world-class excellence in, and provides access to, their respective art form across the length and breadth of the country. Through international touring and national community participation and engagement programmes, they share their excellence with the widest possible audiences. Public funding for culture will continue to have an important part to play and we will continue to set budgets and distribute funding in support of the aims and ambitions set out in this strategy.

Case Study: Scottish Ballet - Dance for Parkinson's Scotland

Scottish Ballet is spearheading a ground-breaking national Dance for Parkinson's programme, delivered in partnership with Dance Base. Established in 2016, the programme is designed especially for people living with Parkinson's, their families and carers.

Classes are suitable for people with no previous dance experience and develop confidence and creativity, whilst addressing Parkinson's specific concerns such as flexibility, gait and social isolation. Every week, around 130 participants take part in sessions delivered by Scottish Ballet in Glasgow, Dance Base in Edinburgh and with local hub partners in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Perth, Stirling, Peebles, Kilmarnock and Greenock. Specially trained Scottish Ballet and Dance Base artists lead participants to develop movement skills with particular focus on fluidity of movement, balance, coordination, expression, posture and rhythm. Classes are accompanied by live music and followed by tea, cake and a chance to reflect on the session together.

Title: Dance for Parkinson's Scotland
Credit: Photographer - Hazel Mirsepasi

Dance for Parkinson's Scotland

Our role goes beyond financial support. We will support our cultural organisations and Scotland's festivals, and promote the value of culture in shaping a more prosperous society for individuals and communities across Scotland.

Developing the conditions and skills

The culture sector, including export products with strong cultural relevance such as food and drink, is a major driver of both local economies and the national economy in Scotland.

Economic growth is important but should be balanced by improvements in the environment in which people live as well as the quality of life they derive from the opportunities available to them and the public services to which they have access. Scotland's Economic Strategy[8] sets out the Scottish Government's aspirations to improve Scotland's economic competitiveness and reduce inequalities by encouraging investment and innovation, supporting more inclusive growth and strengthening the international focus of Scotland's industries and sectors.

The cultural and wider creative economy is a significant employer, enhances the environment in which we live and generates ideas and innovation, often testing and suggesting new ways of doing business across the country.

The public funding of culture reflects its value to society and positions culture as an essential part of public life.

Maintaining capital investment in the cultural infrastructure, including digital, remains important and can often be successful in securing investment from other sources across the public, private and third sectors; but there is increasing pressure on capital and programme funding due to a challenging funding environment and increasing competition.

The Scottish Government and our public sector partners support the sector by advocating, championing, investing, and brokering relationships within the sector and with wider industry. We want to ensure that public sector support is used in a strategic way, achieving the best long term outcomes, and that creative businesses have the right advice, networks and opportunities to realise their full potential.

Scottish Enterprise published its new strategic framework in 2019 which sets out its new approach to supporting businesses and helping to build resilience in the economy[9]. This places emphasis on stronger partnerships, addressing regional opportunities and sets out an ambition to redesign its approach to business support as part of a connected public sector offering. Scottish Enterprise is currently considering how this new approach can best support the creative economy, which includes working closely with their partners, in particular, Creative Scotland. We will ensure the work of our partners is as joined up and aligned as possible to achieve maximum benefit for the creative sector.

We currently have a strong network of support for social enterprise in Scotland facilitated and supported through Senscot. Social Enterprise Networks (SENs), both local and thematic, have been set up across Scotland to ensure social enterprises have the support they need to start up, grow and prosper. This includes the Cultural SEN for cultural and creative social enterprises to make new connections, work collaboratively and share good practice. Building on this success, we are keen to support those creative practitioners and organisations interested in social enterprise to realise their ambitions.

Valuing artists and the wider cultural workforce

The Scottish Government recognises the fundamental importance of supporting artists and creative practitioners across the sector and of enabling access to culture in a range of educational and community settings. We recognise the importance of producing excellent work and ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to access culture of the highest quality across Scotland.

We are supporting a programme of activity across the country which will build on the model of the Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature programme to include other art forms.

Arts Alive

This pilot will be delivered in partnership with Scottish Book Trust and will build on the successful existing model where artists receive a fair and transparent payment to bring cultural experiences to communities via schools, nurseries and libraries. The programme will include creative residences in schools identified through the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation[10]. The programme will be evaluated, with learnings shared and consideration of further roll out.

Leadership development

Creative Scotland will lead a status review of cultural workforce and leadership development in Scotland, working in collaboration with key Leadership Programme deliverers including Clore and reporting to the National Partnership for Culture.

The culture sector in Scotland comprises a growing, highly flexible and expert workforce, with a large self-employed contingent working alongside sole traders, small to medium enterprises, charitable organisations and those leading and employed by publicly-funded organisations. Creative businesses, artists and creative practitioners make an important contribution economically, socially and culturally to Scotland.

Case Study: The Stove Network, Dumfries

The Stove is a fully accessible public arts space for the population of Dumfries and the wider region.

The Stove Network works with artists, young people, local people and community groups to make public art events and activities in Dumfries - supporting a network that creates opportunities and connections for the creative community and integrates with the local economy and wider society. The Stove aims to use the arts to engage and mobilise people as agents of change for themselves and the society and places they live in.

Title: The Stove Network, Back 2 Back, Dumfries
Credit: Photographer - Colin Tennant

The Stove Network, Back 2 Back, Dumfries

Employment in the creative industries growth sector stood at 87,000 in 2018, accounting for 3.3% of employment in Scotland and 5.6% of employment in Creative Industries across Great Britain. Employment in this sector increased by 13% over the latest year in Scotland[11].

The creative sector includes many small, often micro, businesses, freelance artists and self-employed creative practitioners. Many creative workers do not therefore have the safety nets of more established businesses. The culture conversation highlighted the financial challenges many creative workers face, as well as challenges around childcare, professional networks, pensions and cash flows. We will consider how people who create can be supported to overcome these challenges and earn a fair living from artistic and cultural professional work.

Fair work

The Scottish Government's vision is for Scotland to be a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025. We want fair work to be the norm for workers and employers in workplaces across Scotland - in all types and sizes of organisation and in all locations. Our approach to fair work is underpinned by the Fair Work Convention's Framework[12], which defines fair work as work that provides workers with an effective voice, opportunity, security, respect and fulfilment - in ways that balance the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers.

The Fair Work Action Plan[13] (February 2019) commits to mainstreaming fair work within Ministerial portfolios across the Scottish Government and working with sponsorship teams to embed fair work within all public bodies. Therefore, the culture and heritage public agencies Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, National Library of Scotland and National Museums Scotland all have an important leadership role to play in promoting and modelling fair working practices within their organisations and across the culture sector. As employers, the agencies should adopt fair working practices to ensure their staff are treated fairly and are fairly rewarded. As the providers of public service they should promote fair work to the organisations they work with and support, including through any public funding they award. As well as helping to enhance working life and wellbeing for those working in the sector, fair work can lead to improvements in service delivery, increased productivity and efficiencies within organisations.

Fair Work First

We will require all public bodies and agencies in the sector to adopt the terms of the Fair Work Agreement developed jointly by the Scottish Government and the relevant Civil Service Trades Union and to encourage the organisations they work with and do business with to do likewise. As the starting point they should commit to Fair Work First[14].

Fair pay is a fundamental aspect of fair work and we will continue to promote payment of the real Living Wage to ensure workers in Scotland receive at least the real Living Wage. Through our partnership with The Poverty Alliance we will continue to promote Living Wage Accreditation for employers and would encourage employers across the sector to engage with Alliance to consider achieving accreditation.

To strengthen our approach, we have made a commitment to attaching Fair Work First criteria to as many Scottish Government grants as we can by the end of this Parliament, and are testing this new approach in 2019-2020 through business support grants awarded by Scottish Enterprise. Fair Work First asks employers accessing public funding to commit to: investment in skills and training, no inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts, action to tackle the gender pay gap, genuine workforce engagement, such as trade union recognition, and payment of the real Living Wage. Learning from that experience, we will work with Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland in 2020-2021 to understand the potential impacts of fair work criteria in their, and our own, culture and heritage grant schemes.

In addition, we have committed to exploring a Citizen's Basic Income (CBI) study and are providing funding to support four local authorities - Fife, Edinburgh, Glasgow and North Ayrshire - to begin research into the feasibility of a CBI pilot, which will help us understand the costs, benefits and savings of CBI in Scotland.

Creative Scotland is committed to fair work and through any activities they support, to ensuring that artists and those professionals working in the creative community are paid fairly and appropriately for their time and effort. To support this, Creative Scotland has published Rates of Pay Guidance on industry standards, union rates and codes of practice from key lead bodies.

Across all of Creative Scotland's funding programmes, organisations seeking funds are expected to be clear about all costs they allocate in their budgets relating to the payment of people involved in delivering their work. When working with artists and creative professionals, applicants are encouraged to reference relevant industry standards on rates of remuneration and all organisations seeking regular funding must commit to paying a living wage, according to the Living Wage Foundation, to all core workers.

Creative Scotland will work with the Scottish Government to understand the potential impacts of fair work criteria and to explore how these can be further embedded across each of Creative Scotland's funding programmes.

Creative industries

Creative industries are one of Scotland's[15] growth sectors, which are sectors that have a distinct competitive advantage and the potential to be internationally successful. The sector is the second fastest growing growth sector in Scotland after the energy sector - GVA in the sector increased by 11% over the latest year[16].

Last year we published our Policy Statement for the Creative Industries[17]. This statement sets out our vision and priorities for the sector. It highlights that creative businesses and skills are those of the future - they are less likely to be replaced by automation and artificial intelligence and the creative sector is leading the way in innovation of new business models. It is adapting more quickly than other sectors to the transformation through the fourth industrial revolution. Combining technical and creative skills, the sector plays a significant role in unlocking innovation and growth in other sectors.

In Scotland, we have thriving sub-sectors of the creative industries and this is demonstrated, for example: with the success of our international festivals in Edinburgh; the games cluster in Dundee; the design, architecture, music, textiles and film and television sectors in Glasgow; the textiles sector in the South of Scotland; the craft, music and textiles sector in the High-lands and Islands; and the digital tech businesses sector across the whole of the country.

Our world leading work in creative sectors is recognised internationally - Scotland has three cities in the UNESCO creative cities network: Edinburgh City of Literature; Dundee City of Design; and Glasgow City of Music; and the Outer Hebrides has been designated World Craft City status.

This pioneering work continues; two out of nine projects of the Art and Humanities Research Council's £80 million Creative Clusters Programme are based in Scotland. These partnerships between universities and creative businesses in Dundee and Edinburgh show that we have strengths in research and partnership working in the creative industries. With their focus on research and development in the gaming industry and informatics, these clusters will be key in developing these sectors for the future.

In Dundee, the InGame Cluster - Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise - is led by Abertay University, in partnership with the University of Dundee, the University of St Andrews and local and international industry partners. This will push forward new technological innovations and find innovative solutions to some of the challenges faced by games companies. This includes the management of financial and sustainability risks associated with developing original material.

In addition to the creative clusters, a Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) has been established. Led by innovation foundation Nesta, PEC involves a UK-wide consortium of universities, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

V&A Dundee is a new design museum for the whole of Scotland and is an exciting addition to the diverse array of cultural experiences that our nation has to offer. The Scottish Government has been a strong supporter of V&A contributing nearly £38 million towards the construction of the Museum and with a commitment in place for recurring annual revenue funding.

The Scottish Government will promote the use of design, highlighting the importance of design to Scotland's creative economy, wider industry, people's lives, communities and the environment.

Title: V&A, Dundee
Credit: Photographer - Kenny Lam. Reproduced courtesy of VisitScotland.

V&A, Dundee


We also recognise the importance of maximising the economic potential of the screen sector. That is why we have strengthened public sector support for film and television with the creation of Screen Scotland, a dedicated screen unit within Creative Scotland.

New funds to support film and television production have been rolled out - a £2m -a-year Production Growth Fund opened in April 2018 and new £3m-a-year Broadcast Content Fund was launched in August 2018. The Production Growth Fund has already generated significant economic benefits - the first £3.7m allocated resulting in an estimated £60m spend in the Scottish economy. Since its launch, the Broadcast Content Fund has made 26 awards to the value of over £3m, supporting the growth and development of screen sector companies across Scotland.

The Scottish Government is focused on strengthening our screen sector and creating the conditions for continued growth across production, development, talent and skills. We want Scotland to have an increased range of studio facilities. Creative Scotland has completed a tender process to identify a private operator to refurbish the Pelamis building in Edinburgh and operate it as a film studio. Creative Scotland is currently working with the preferred bidder to complete the necessary technical and legal processes and they anticipate being able to say more in early 2020.

With the new BBC Scotland Scottish channel launched in January 2019 and Channel 4's Creative Hub opened in Glasgow in October 2019, screen is a growing sector of our economy that will bring significant opportunities to the wider creative industries too. The work of MG Alba continues to increase the opportunities for many independent Scottish production companies and benefits the Scottish economy by almost £10 million per annum[18].

The Scottish Government supports the public service broadcasting model. However, we believe broadcasting policy should be devolved to ensure that decisions can be taken which recognise the requirements of viewers and listeners in Scotland. BBC spending in Scotland continues to fall short of achieving the proportionate share spent in Wales and Northern Ireland. If a greater and fairer proportion of the licence fee raised in Scotland was spent in Scotland, it would benefit the screen sector and also our creative economy.

Support for skills

The importance of creativity, throughout education, in developing skills for learning, life and work cannot be underestimated. Curriculum for Excellence allows space to be creative and innovation in leadership, curriculum planning, teaching and learning are encouraged and celebrated. Scotland's Creative Learning Plan projects a bold, ambitious vision for a more creative nation which can thrive in a world of constant change and uncertainty. All learners must be supported to develop their creativity skills, which are defined in the plan as curiosity, open mindedness, imagination and problem solving so learners are better equipped to shape their future and fulfil their potential.

By working with our public sector partners, our schools, colleges and universities, training providers, businesses and industries, and the wider sector, we will support and develop creative education and work-based learning to ensure everyone is able to develop their creative potential. This involves equipping with the right skills those who are motivated to realise their aspiration to have a career in the creative industries. This ambition is now highlighted in the Ministerial Letter of Guidance to the Scottish Funding Council.

Skills are key to ensuring that as our creative industries and our wider economy and our labour market change that we have an agile skills system in place that can respond at pace to employer demand. Skills Development Scotland, our national skills agency, plays a key role in developing and delivering skills programmes for the creative industries, arts and other sectors.

The creative industries have a range of vocational qualification routes under the Creative and Creative Digital Production Modern Apprenticeship Frameworks which reflect many of the broad occupational functions in the sector. For example, the Scottish performing arts, theatres and venues sector has had access to a Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Framework to support the development of creative and cultural skills for more than five years, with employees able to study and attain a qualification at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level 6 in areas as diverse as venue operations and technical theatre. Scotland's screen and creative digital industries have been drawing on Modern Apprenticeships for many years, and are now working with Skills Development Scotland, providers and local authorities to support up to 500 young Scots develop in-demand skills and acquire practical industry insight through the new Foundation Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media.

Skills Development Scotland is also piloting with Applied Arts Scotland a new model of apprenticeship delivery with crafts, visual arts and design practitioners.

Skills Development Scotland has worked with partners in the South of Scotland to respond to skills issues identified by textiles employers in the region. They have allocated up to 30 places through the Employability Fund to support training being delivered in the Centre of Excellence in Textiles in Hawick, which is an initiative funded through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership. The Centre of Excellence in Textiles was established in early 2019 to address the key skills needs of the sector, by delivering training in hand finishing and machine skills in order to create a pool of skilled talent for textiles employers in the region.

Title: Frank Quitely, Scottish Comic Book Artist
Credit: Photographer - Kenny Lam. Reproduced courtesy of VisitScotland.

Frank Quitely, Scottish Comic Book Artist


Volunteering brings enormous benefits and we recognise and value the significant contribution that volunteering makes to the cultural sector in Scotland.

Many cultural organisations and community groups across Scotland rely on the skills, time and input of volunteers. They bring new ideas, expertise and the capacity to improve the scale, quality and diversity of creative activity. Volunteering across the arts, screen and creative industries also provides individuals with new experiences and valuable opportunities to learn skills and build social connections. Volunteering is essential in ensuring Scotland has a rich, vibrant and diverse cultural life. This importance places a need to be clear about the role of a volunteer and what constitutes good practice in terms of recruitment, ongoing management and when it is appropriate to use a volunteer as opposed to a paid worker.

Volunteering should always be valued and treated fairly. We expect cultural organisations, local authorities and public bodies to follow the principles of the national volunteering framework[19] published in April 2019 and, in particular, ensure volunteering opportunities in the culture and heritage sector reflect the diversity of our population.

That is why Creative Scotland is working with partners to establish a best practice guide to apprenticeships, internships and volunteering. This will provide increased clarity on the standards that cultural organisations should adopt, including alignment with the Volunteer Scotland Charter[20] and the Scottish Government's national outcomes framework for volunteering[21].

Museums and Galleries Scotland - Skills for Success

We will support Museums Galleries Scotland to build on its Skills for Success programme and work with Volunteering Scotland and other partners to deliver a pilot project to recruit and support a targeted range of volunteers from diverse backgrounds to achieve a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredited qualification. Another part of the project will work in schools in low social-economic areas to highlight employment, training and development opportunities in the culture sector through a series of workshops which align with the Curriculum for Excellence and are delivered in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce[22] and others. Both projects aim to increase diversity in the cultural workforce.

Promoting and supporting diversity

All levels of cultural and creative production and delivery including decision-making would be enriched by greater diversity.

It is clear from the engagement events and consultation responses that there is overwhelming support for measures to achieve greater diversity of employees in cultural organisations and funders including senior teams, boards and volunteers, in addition to providing more help for accessing funding and other mechanisms of support.

Remuneration for board members of national culture and heritage public bodies

We are keen that our national culture and heritage boards have diverse membership which is truly representative of the sector. To create the conditions for this we will seek to introduce appropriate remuneration for Board members of the culture and heritage national public bodies, recognising the time and expertise they offer in leading those organisations. In doing so, we will take account of the requirements of charity law for those bodies which are also registered charities.

Achieving these outcomes should in turn encourage greater diversity in programming, interpretation and presentation, output and audience and provide role models across civic life to inspire the next generation of creatives across a more diverse range of backgrounds.

Under the 5050 by 2020 initiative[23] we have improved the gender balance of the boards of our public bodies so that as at the end of November 2019, 50% of appointees are female. We will work with Creative Scotland, the national collections and National Performing Companies to share models of best practice in order to achieve the greater diversity needed and wanted in the broader culture sector.

Creative Scotland - equalities, diversity and inclusion

Creative Scotland will continue to support Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) across all of its work. This includes embedding EDI across all of its funding programmes and building on existing targeted and development activity, such as Create: Inclusion and EDI Action Plans, ensuring barriers are removed, opportunities are created and that all Scotland's diverse cultures are supported and reflected through creative activity.

Realising international ambition

Culture is one of Scotland's greatest exports and is critical to how Scotland is viewed internationally. As set out in Scotland's international framework and supporting policy statement, culture is fundamental to Scotland's positive international reputation as an open, creative, welcoming and confident nation.

Cultural engagement and exchange builds trust and strengthens understanding of other nations and traditions. Scotland has an international reputation for the high quality of its cultural offer. This includes our cultural venues, traditional and contemporary music and dance, festivals and the quality of our historic and natural environment. It is important that our cultural sectors maintain their ability to collaborate, exchange knowledge and access the international talent pool and attract global talent to participate in Scotland's world renowned festivals. It is equally important that the sector is able to enjoy mobility to take works and services overseas and across borders without barriers that render projects unfeasible.

Scotland is respected as an outward looking and globally aware country with a long history of cultural collaboration not least via the Scottish diaspora who have made their homes across the world. Our culture is enriched by people from across the world who choose to live, work, study or visit Scotland, and by our increasingly culturally diverse communities. International culture and the riches it brings is welcomed in Scotland and it is important these international ties are nurtured and valued for the way they connect Scotland to the wider world and foster mutual understanding.

Immigration policies should support our culture sector in facilitating and encouraging cultural collaboration, knowledge and partnership exchange and touring, and not act as a barrier to the sector's success. People should be welcome to live work, study and travel in Scotland - our diversity is our strength.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly rejected the UK Government's immigration environment and its policy focus on salary, wealth and so-called 'high-skills'. The current one-size-fits-all approach is not working for the UK. We believe that it is vital for Scotland to have immigration powers so we can design and tailor policies to suit our needs, and support the vibrancy and success of our communities and economy. We will continue to influence the UK Government in developing a fairer immigration system, and for Scotland to have an increased role through the devolution of policy making powers.

Creative businesses play a key role in building brands and promoting Scotland on the world stage, bringing benefit to the wider economy through increased business competitiveness and international distinctiveness. Total exports from the creative industries growth sector stood at £3,720 million in 2017, accounting for 4.6% of Scotland's total exports. Exports from this sector increased by 28.7% over the latest year.

Building international networks is one of the key factors in increasing export and international reputation of our creative industries. Scottish Government's A Trading Nation - a plan for growing Scotland's exports[24] published in May 2019 highlights the significant role culture plays in creating and maintaining twinning relationships with towns, cities and regions across the globe. It also includes the commitment to expand the GlobalScot network from 600 to a network of 2,000 business people in key markets, as well as making use of other wider international networks, including diaspora and alumni.

International reach of culture

Scotland has an international reputation for culture of the very highest standard. The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with the national cultural and heritage bodies to maintain that international profile. We will support creative people including, for example, through international touring and festival appearances by the National Performing Companies supported by the International Touring Fund and international loans by and from the National Collections.

The International Touring Fund enables the five National Performing Companies to present work which demonstrates their art form excellence in key international venues - from continental Europe to North America and the Far East. This raises the companies' profile across the world, attracting artistic acclaim while helping the companies to develop further their own excellence. International touring also promotes Scotland as an open, creative nation, valuing cultural exchange as a key part of international engagement, and developing interest amongst other nations in what Scotland has to offer. The Scottish Government Festivals' EXPO fund was established to help maintain our festivals' global competitive edge, increase the funding available to Scottish artists and practitioners and encourage creative collaborations. Each EXPO award places Scottish artists on an international platform, whether that is through commissions, showcasing or talent development.

International hubs

The Scottish Government's network of offices outside of Scotland delivers and supports activity by the Scottish Government, its agencies and public and private sector partners in London and key international locations. Each office plays a valuable role in enhancing Scotland's international profile and reputation; supports stakeholders to access trade, export and investment opportunities and provides a base for developing networks and relationships.

We will work with this network to facilitate cultural opportunities; including identifying and building partnerships and supporting touring and cultural exchange.

We will work with the culture sector to support the cultural diplomacy work of each hub, will promote and encourage requests from international stakeholders for cultural collaboration and will maximise opportunities through 'Scotland is Now'[25] to showcase culture and creativity in Scotland as an integral part of Scotland as a progressive, pioneering and welcoming nation.

Creative Scotland support for international cultural presence

We will support Creative Scotland in its work with the Scottish Government international hubs to develop a framework to ensure that high quality creative practitioners and their work are integral to Scotland's reputation as a vibrant, inclusive and open society.

In addition, the Scottish Government wishes to see continuing participation in EU programmes that support international cultural collaboration, such as Creative Europe, and will consider how domestic alternatives to EU programmes can support the culture sector.

We have also supported and encouraged many examples of international cultural activity through Gaelic and Scots. This can be seen in MG Alba's international coproductions and in the strong international profile given to Gaelic arts and artists by bodies such as Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Fèis Rois, Ceòlas and others. The Association of Scottish Literary Studies continues to promote our wealth of literature at home and around the world.

The Scottish Government's National Islands Plan[26] published in December 2019 aims to support the arts, culture and language of the islands including a commitment to support, develop and promote the creative talents of islanders and ensure that the culture of Scotland's Islands has a wide audience both nationally and abroad.

Economic impact of festivals

Scotland's cities, towns and villages host over 200 culture festivals each year, creating places with their own distinct cultural identities and energy, and making them attractive to live in, work in and visit. Festivals also benefit the national economy and local economies right across Scotland, from the major cities to rural and island communities.


The Tourism Strategy draft framework[27] was launched in October 2019 and the final strategy document will be founded on the principle of collaboration. It will provide a new opportunity to consider how culture and tourism can work together to ensure that Scotland's tourism sector can continue to provide a resilient, world-leading tourism offer that contributes to sustainable and inclusive growth, and to the international reputation of our country.

Music tourism makes an important contribution to the Scottish economy, attracting overseas visitors as well as locals to enjoy live music at festivals and venues across Scotland, many of which have an international reputation for excellence. The Music Numbers 2019 Report by UK Music[28] shows that Scotland had 1.1 million tourists attending live music in Scotland in 2018 - the strongest growth in the UK up 38% on the previous year. The sector also supported 4,300 fulltime equivalent jobs.

We recognise that there is significant potential to develop music tourism and want to ensure that all stakeholders in this sector are able to work collaboratively to make the most of that potential and ensure our music tourism is resilient and continues to be world-class.

VisitScotland works closely with individual businesses, public agencies, local authorities and other tourism stakeholders to maximise all the benefits Scotland's tourism industry has to offer. Research shows that experiencing our history and culture is consistently a key driver for visitors to Scotland from the rest of the UK, Europe and further afield, and for both repeat and first time visitors. VisitScotland is working with the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International/Scottish Enterprise and Universities Scotland to deliver the 'Scotland is Now' campaign to show that Scotland is a forward-thinking country for people not only to visit, but to live, work, study and invest in. This new collaborative effort will harness our national story, our technology and our talent for all of Scotland's benefit and stimulate international growth. Scotland is Now, showcases our world renowned universities, top talent, incredible history and landscapes, culture, warm hospitality, entrepreneurial spirit and high quality of life to the world.


Email: culturestrategyandengagement@gov.scot

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