Programme for Government 2018 to 2019

Sets out our plans for the next year, including the Bills that will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

This document is part of a collection

Chapter 5 - A Creative, Open and Connected Nation

Creativity and culture are two of Scotland’s greatest strengths. They support individual, community and national prosperity and wellbeing with the potential to innovate, transform and shape a more equal, fair and creative society underpinned by an inclusive economy.

Culture is the way that society expresses itself, seeks meaning and connection. Culture supports us to understand, celebrate and question the past, the present and navigate the future. Culture makes us more aware of ourselves and of others. Our vision is that culture in Scotland is innovative, inclusive and open to the wider world. Cultural excellence – past, present and emerging – is celebrated and is fundamental to our future prosperity and wellbeing. Culture’s empowering and transformative potential should be experienced by everyone.

This year Scotland has continued to host world-class events and this month sees the opening of the V&A in Dundee.

We want the rest of the world to see Scotland as a creative, open, welcoming and outward-looking nation, proud of our reputation and optimistic about our future. Where Brexit threatens our ability to connect and prosper we will do what we can for Scotland to flourish. While we take critical action to tackle poverty, inequalities and move towards a carbon neutral society at home we will also work to address these issues on the global stage.

We have embedded the UN Sustainable Development Goals in our new National Performance Framework, one of the first countries in the world to do so. These goals will give stretch to our ambition to improve Scotland’s wellbeing and increase sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Culture as a force for good

Culture, creativity, heritage, landscapes, languages and traditions express and shape who we are and who we want to be as a nation. There is no one story of culture in or from Scotland, each individual and community has the right to contribute to, and shape, their own culture and society more broadly.

Creativity is key to realising Scotland’s potential in capitalising on technological advancements and our move to a low carbon economy. Culture is at the heart of our success and wellbeing individually, in communities and as a country. Our global reputation is enhanced by our creativity and we are known as a welcoming host.

Culture has a role to play in supporting health and wellbeing including tackling social isolation and helping children and adults be resilient in the face of adverse childhood experiences. It can play a preventative role in maintaining good physical and mental health.

A new Culture Strategy for Scotland

Our new Culture Strategy, to be published following extensive consultation, will be culturally and socially ambitious. It is underpinned by three ambitions – transforming through culture, empowering through culture and sustaining culture. It is committed to long-term change through greater collaboration and integration across culture, communities and policy development. We want to bring about a shift in how society and government view culture to realise the full potential of culture for everyone and every community by:

  • publishing the final Culture Strategy by the end of 2018 setting out short-term and long-term ambitions, aims and actions
  • setting up an International Creative Ambition Programme by May 2019 to support international cultural partnerships that develop new work and support talent through international collaboration and exchange. This is particularly important against the backdrop of Brexit

Growing the cultural economy and infrastructure

Creative industries contribute more than £4 billion to the Scottish economy every year supporting more than 80,000 jobs.

We have seen the direct benefits that our support for culture has on the wider economy. The first £3.7 million allocated by the Production Growth Fund to film and high-end television productions that have based themselves in Scotland has helped deliver more than £60 million estimated spend in the wider economy, providing a pipeline of work and showcasing Scotland and our talent to audiences across the UK and internationally. This year Creative Scotland are allocating a further £2 million through the Production Growth Fund, part of our increased overall funding for the sector. Creative Scotland’s new screen unit, Screen Scotland, will support development, production and infrastructure with the aim of doubling production spend and increasing sectoral growth over a period of five years.

Working with its partners in the public, private and third sector, Screen Scotland will also develop a joined-up strategy for skills to support career development, meet future demand, and build on progress in supporting employers where there are skills gaps. As part of this work, we have supported the opening of the National Film and Television School’s base in Scotland with the first specialist courses taking place earlier this year. In line with our aim to increase diversity across the sector, the School is providing bursary funding to a third of participants in the first two years to open up opportunities to everyone with the talent and potential, regardless of background.

We will work with creative businesses to identify where there are challenges and opportunities, including in public procurement, and where they need support. We will bring together creative industries and the public sector to share experience, with the aim of promoting growth in the creative and cultural economy through public spending.

Children and young people

From opera for babies to supporting under 25s to realise their creative ambitions, we know how important exposure to cultural activity at a young age is in shaping the creative workforce and audiences of tomorrow.

We are using the 2018 Year of Young People as the catalyst for driving forward the next phase of our ‘Time to Shine’ National Youth Arts Strategy. At the halfway point of this programme of work the next phase will be led by young people and will open up more opportunities for all ages and art forms no matter your background or where you live.

Learning music enriches the lives of children and young people and can have a significant effect on their skills, confidence and wellbeing. We will respond to the What’s Going on Now? review of music education being undertaken by the Royal Conservatoire Scotland and work collaboratively with others to find solutions that help ensure instrumental music remains accessible to all.

We will work to ensure that all children and young people have the opportunity to enjoy cultural opportunities no matter their circumstances or where they live through:

  • launching the Cultural Youth Experience Fund with a view to supporting a number of pilots in the next year, with a focus on areas of deprivation, helping to ensure that location is not a barrier to experience the best of Scotland’s culture
  • our continued support for Sistema Scotland’s orchestra projects in communities such as Govanhill, Raploch, Torry and Dundee
  • the Youth Music Initiative – which enables more young people to learn about, and enjoy, music
  • expanding our work to tackle child poverty by enhancing partnerships with schools and communities in our most deprived areas

School libraries
Our School Library Improvement Fund has supported 15 projects with a total of £100,000 in its first year. The projects being supported include an initiative in East Ayrshire Council secondary schools to equip their school libraries with mental health and wellbeing ‘First Aid Kits’. These are bundles of resources, including films, books and writing materials, which pupils can borrow to enjoy as well as to give them support and advice. In the coming year another £450,000 will be invested to support more projects providing children with improved resources to read, learn and support their wellbeing.

Museums, galleries, venues and attractions

We will protect free access to Scotland’s national museums and galleries, enjoyed by over 5 million people a year, to make sure everyone is able to experience them. We were an early supporter of the plans for V&A Dundee as a fantastic addition to Scotland’s world-class museums, providing £38 million towards the construction of the building which is set to open to the public on 15 September. V&A Dundee is a prime example of our support for culture as a means of regeneration and economic growth and we will continue to provide £1 million a year to the museum for its first 10 years with a further £361,000 in this opening year.

In the coming year we will continue to invest in Scotland’s culture through our support for:

  • the Burrell Collection Renaissance project
  • enhanced exhibition facilities for the Scottish art collection at the Scottish National Gallery
  • the Citizens Theatre redevelopment in Glasgow
  • the Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitor Centre in Galashiels
  • the first phase of the development of the National Collections facility at Granton, helping the regeneration of north-east Edinburgh
  • further development of the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian
  • proposals to develop fit-for-purpose storage capacity to protect Scotland’s Heritage Archives
  • the David Livingstone Centre redevelopment in Blantyre
  • the development of projects funded through City Region Deals

We will also continue to support Scotland’s four science centres, in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, in line with our STEM Education and Training Strategy and recognising that science, innovation and creativity are embedded in our culture.

Historic environment

Our historic environment contributes £2.3 billion to the Scottish economy every year and supports 34,330 full-time equivalent employees. Historic Environment Scotland will continue to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment and equip it to meet the challenges of climate change. By March 2019 Historic Environment Scotland will have:

  • invested at least £14.5 million through historic environment grants
  • published a Skills Investment Plan for the historic environment sector and, working with Skills Development Scotland and key partners, developed a traditional skills programme
  • provided 75,000 free education visits and 20,000 travel subsidies

Gaelic and Scots

We will continue to support the distinct and significant contribution that Scotland’s indigenous languages, Gaelic and Scots, make to the cultural life of Scotland and encourage all authorities, bodies, festivals and arts centres to take account of Gaelic and Scots as they develop and deliver their culture and arts programmes. We will maintain our strong support for MG ALBA and Gaelic arts bodies such as, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, An Comunn Gàidhealach, Ceòlas and others, recognising that the impact of the Gaelic arts provides opportunities for expression, participation and language use.

We will maintain our support for the learning and use of Gaelic by promoting the growth of Gaelic education at all levels, supporting the work of MG ALBA and ensuring Gaelic continues to be included in cultural projects and initiatives. In particular we will support the establishment of new Gaelic schools, the growth of e-Sgoil and new initiatives to support Gaelic in areas of low population. In our support for the Scots language we, along with Creative Scotland, will organise a Scots language conference to mark the UNESCO year of indigenous languages.


Our libraries across Scotland can provide a hub for local communities to meet, learn and enjoy free access to books, computers, local archives and Wi-Fi. They are ideally placed to break down barriers to learning and to promote participation in culture at all stages of life. In the coming year we will:

  • further develop the library offer for children and young people through an engagement programme which enables every child to become a library member
  • build on the success of the ‘One Card’ pilot for library membership, extending this beyond North East Scotland and paving the way for a national library card
  • invest £450,000 in the Public Library Improvement Fund to continue to support innovative ways for people to use public libraries, for example last year, the Fund supported South and North Ayrshire Library Services to evaluate how the use of reading and books can support young people’s mental health and wellbeing with their Mind an Read Well ‘books on prescription’ project

Sporting events

We continue to see the legacy of the successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in attracting world-class events to Scotland. Since 2014 we have secured 65 UK and international level sporting events worth £27.5 million to our economy and we will continue to work to bring additional major events to Scotland, the Perfect Stage. In the summer, Glasgow once again excelled itself as the co-host of the 2018 European Championships – with up to 1.03 billion watching from around the world.

2019 will be no different as Scotland will once again host world-class sport. Glasgow will host the European Athletics Indoor Championships in March and welcome the European Short Course Swimming Championships in December 2019.

We will continue to promote Scotland as the Home of Golf through support for the Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open and the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and provide new opportunities for women and young people to participate in the sport.

Scotland’s festivals

We have a proud history of support for festivals through our Expo Fund – and this year marks a decade of that investment, totalling £21 million. This year, in addition to supporting international festivals in Edinburgh, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections will receive funding that will support performers from Scotland to make the most of a career in music.

This year sees the first investments in our Platforms for Creative Excellence ( PLACE) Programme, a partnership with Edinburgh Festivals and City of Edinburgh Council to maintain Edinburgh’s status as the world’s foremost festival city and support wider access to showcase and enjoy talent as part of the Festival and beyond. The Programme will invest £15 million over the next five years.

Our winter festivals continue to go from strength to strength and in 2018 we will deliver the inaugural St Andrew’s Fair Saturday, boosting community celebrations and providing opportunities to support social causes as a positive response to the commercialism of ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’.

In line with our STEM Strategy we will also continue to support our science festivals, in towns, cities and regions across Scotland, making science, innovation and creativity accessible to a wide public audience, as well as inspiring our young people.

Year of Young People 2018
The Year of Young People 2018 has given young people new and powerful opportunities to have their ideas, voices and opinions heard and acted upon. It has focused the lens on their achievements and talents and given them a spotlight to show Scotland what they can do.

Young people’s voices have been at the forefront, with more than 2,000 young people involved in shaping the Year – designing, developing and delivering this world-first initiative. This Year has challenged our thinking, given us new perspectives and has been the catalyst to enhance Scotland’s relationship with our young people, creating respect and a better understanding between generations.

The engagement of young people in policy development and delivery has been key to the success of the Year with progress across themes chosen to be important by young people during the planning stages of the Year. This co-design activity has included; the Youth Commission on Mental Health which will continue throughout 2018 and beyond with young people leading an in-depth investigation of child and adolescent mental health services to improve services and support; the creation of a Scottish Learner Panel which will provide, for the first time, a national forum for young people to directly influence education policy in Scotland; young people from across Scotland have engaged in the development of the Culture Strategy; and have the opportunity to take part in the first ever First Minister’s Question Time for Children and Young People – an event which will be designed and delivered by young people themselves, providing a platform for their voices to be heard at the highest level.

Valuable progress is being made to ensure Scotland is the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up by making sure they have a say in their future. The long-term commitment from the Scottish Government is to continue to engage young people directly in policy-making which will ensure that young people continue to be empowered and know their voice still matters beyond 2018.

Scotland’s place in the world

On the brink of the UK leaving the European Union, Scotland’s role as an open, connected country is more important than ever. We will build on the early success of our invitation to the world that is the ‘Scotland is Now’ campaign and look for new opportunities for our businesses to grow and to welcome others to live, work, invest, study and visit Scotland.

Our network of offices outside Scotland – now expanded to include Berlin, Paris and Ottawa – will continue to evolve and mature, drawing on a wide range of contacts, expertise and partnerships to deepen our impact in key markets and encourage collaborations. The network will work to identify and create opportunities for Scotland’s cultural and creative offering, complementing trade, investment and influencing activity.

In the last year, we successfully hosted an Arctic Circle Forum, which further strengthened Scotland’s growing relationship with Arctic partners. We published All Points North: The Scottish Government’s Nordic Baltic Policy Statement promoting greater policy exchange and collaboration with countries across the region. We have deepened our engagement with China, India, Japan, the United States and Canada, securing further investment in Scotland and new policy exchanges that will provide shared benefits.

In April, we signed a new and updated Partnership Agreement with the Government of Malawi, during the visit of the President of Malawi to Scotland. In that, our two Governments committed to realise the vision of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and to do so through our 150-year-old tradition of partnership working.

In the coming year we will conduct a review of Fair Trade in Scotland to inform action to further grow sales of Fair Trade goods, support growing awareness of the Fair Trade movement and contribute to Scotland’s role as a good global citizen.

We will raise the profile of Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy, including through the European Commission’s Clean Energy for EU Islands initiative, promoting our expertise on energy transition and identifying opportunities to share best practice with islands in the EU and beyond. We will also deepen co-operation with the Danish Government following the signing earlier this year of a Memorandum of Understanding covering heat decarbonisation, district heating and energy efficiency in buildings whilst continuing to develop links to other European countries to promote learning, policy and knowledge exchange in this area.

Playing our part in addressing global international challenges

Our recent inaugural Contribution to International Development Report sets out how we support the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outside Scotland including how Scottish Government funded projects have increased professional care delivery of births from 73% to 91% and reduced the health risks associated with pregnancy in areas of Malawi. In the past year our new Humanitarian Emergencies Fund supported those affected by humanitarian food crises in East Africa and South Asia and the Rohingya and Democratic Republic of the Congo refugee crises. In the coming year we will complete our competitive funding rounds under our International Development Fund, with a new round of projects in Malawi starting in October to join our cohort of projects in Zambia and Rwanda. We will always work in collaboration with organisations here in Scotland and in our partner countries.

We will continue to build capacity across our international development partners in Scotland, working together to enhance our impact and safeguard those with whom we come into contact. Building on our Safeguarding Policy, published in March 2018, we will provide a proper safeguarding framework to support and hold to account organisations we fund to deliver international development. This framework will promote a culture of zero tolerance to any form of exploitation or abuse. We will also encourage smaller charities to apply for funding from our international development Small Grants Programme, to focus on developing and strengthening their own safeguarding policies.

Our ‘Beyond Aid’ agenda recognises that some of the greatest improvements we can make to the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are beyond traditional international development work. This year that includes the establishment of a Scottish Global Health Co-ordination Unit to support our work on improving healthcare in developing countries, in particular our partner countries. This will provide capacity and expertise to the co-ordination of health partnership work in our NHS.

Our action on climate change, almost halving our greenhouse gas emissions, with greater ambition to come in the Climate Change Bill in response to the UN Paris Agreement, is the single most powerful action that Scotland can take as a good global citizen. In the coming year we will continue to invest in the Climate Justice Fund, providing £21 million to some of the world’s poorest people by 2021 which includes supporting the Climate Challenge Programme Malawi, backed by £3.2 million of funding, to support communities in southern Malawi to adapt to the worst effects of climate change and improve access to food, water and energy.

We have a moral obligation to offer a place of safety to people fleeing conflict and persecution. We will continue to support the Syrian Resettlement Programme. Since 2015 Scotland has welcomed around 2,375 refugees from Syria, around half being under 18 years of age. Scotland’s approach to mitigating adverse childhood experiences will ensure that these children have the support they need to have a bright future.

In January 2018 we published the second New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy, supporting the vision of a welcoming Scotland, where people seeking protection from persecution and human rights abuses are able to rebuild their lives from the day they arrive. In the coming year, working with partners including COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council, we will:

  • work to develop opportunities for refugees to build their skills and employment options, including through volunteering and work placements
  • support refugees to have a voice in improving their health and wellbeing through participation in local and national health forums
  • provide opportunities for refugees to produce work for, and to participate in, cultural, heritage and sports activities

International role of our universities

Our universities have an important role in promoting Scotland as an open and connected country. In addition to our support for work on international research collaborations, international student recruitment and transnational education we will work with others to build a programme of overseas market engagements involving universities, research pools and innovation centres. We will consider further support for international research collaboration and two-way researcher exchanges, as well as bilateral agreements with equivalent funding bodies in European and other international countries to facilitate our universities to collaborate.

We will continue to work with our universities to develop Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships to attract talented students from Canada, China, India, Pakistan and the USA and to develop a network of influential alumni. We will expand the programme from academic year 2019-20 to include applicants from Japan and will review the scope and administration of the programme to ensure it continues to support Scotland’s broader international priorities.

And we will promote the widening of access to international opportunities for students in Scotland by working with the British Council and others to make it easier for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in international mobility programmes.


Email: Kathryn Fergusson

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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