International culture strategy: equality impact assessment

Findings from an equality impact assessment of our international culture strategy.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) results: International Culture Strategy

Name of Policy: International Culture Strategy

Directorate: Directorate for Culture and Major Events

Summary of aims and desired outcomes of Policy

This is Scotland’s first International Culture Strategy.

The Strategy will provide greater strategic coherence of the Scottish Government’s support for international cultural activity in order to maximise the cultural and economic potential of the sector’s international engagement, recognising that such activity has wider impacts on Scotland’s international connections and reputation.

The Strategy sets out a series of ambitions and actions to support the culture and creative sector to pursue international opportunities. It builds on existing activity, but explores additional opportunities and sets out a policy rationale for why the Scottish Government considers international cultural activity to be important.

The Strategy’s vision is for the Scottish culture and creative sector to be globally connected with the means and opportunities to achieve its international ambitions and potential, and contribute to Scotland’s cultural, social, economic and environmental wellbeing through its international work.

The Strategy has three intended outcomes that work towards the vision:

  • An innovative, more sustainable and economically stronger culture and creative sector.
  • An internationally connected and diverse culture and creative sector that contributes positively to people and communities.
  • An enhanced international reputation for culture and creativity including Scotland’s response to global challenges.

Executive Summary

As announced in 2023-24 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government will publish an International Culture Strategy to support the culture and creative sector’s international ambitions and ensure that barriers to achieving those ambitions are addressed.

The International Culture Strategy sits under the umbrella of A Culture Strategy for Scotland which was published in 2020, which specifically recognises that there is no one culture in Scotland, and that culture in Scotland is celebrated internationally for its diversity.

The International Culture Strategy takes a view of the whole culture and creative sector and sets out a policy rationale for supporting the sector’s international ambitions. This Strategy defines the culture and creative sector as those individuals or organisations that derive income from work associated with culture, creative activities, heritage or the arts.

Our approach to equality is in line with the Equality Act 2010 and our unified equality legislation.

In the evidence gathering process, we reviewed a range of sources with the support and input from across the Scottish Government including culture, trade and external affairs and were supported by Scottish Government researchers. We also reviewed written evidence which was received through the International Culture Strategy public consultation, which took place in 2023.

Existing data shows that there are existing inequalities within the culture and creative sector; however data focussed specifically on international activity is limited. While we might assume that these inequalities are extended or even exacerbated when international activity is considered, current data is inconclusive. We will develop a detailed outcomes framework and theory of change to support Strategy delivery, working in partnership with key stakeholders. We will embed equalities considerations in that process and identify ways in which existing data gaps can be addressed to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy’s impacts.

The Scope of the EQIA

The International Culture Strategy sets out a vision for developing international cultural activity by Scottish practitioners and organisations, underpinned by a set of ambitions and actions developed with stakeholders across the sector. This will support meaningful alignment of agenda and priorities across the sector and support the current and future development of the sector and its international activity.

Within the Scottish Government, a framing workshop was held in October 2022 to gather and consider the available evidence and create a baseline understanding of equality issues within the culture and creative sector to inform this EQIA and be used as a basis to develop this Strategy.

In February 2023, the Scottish Government launched a 14-week public consultation, in the form of an online survey, to gather views on the culture and creative sector needs, aspirations and motivations in terms of international activity, in order to shape the content of the Strategy. This public consultation asked respondents if there are aspects of engaging in international cultural activity that can affect equalities groups differently.

Social Researchers in the Scottish Government carried out detailed thematic analysis on the 77 survey responses received, from both organisations and individuals. The International Culture Strategy consultation analysis report analytical report was published in December 2023.

Key Findings

Evidence indicates that there are existing inequalities in the culture and creative sector. National Performance Framework data shows an underrepresentation of people from more deprived areas in the sector’s workforce. There are also inequalities of access and participation with people from more deprived areas, people with disabilities and people from lower income households all less likely to attend cultural venues or events and less likely to participate in cultural activities.

Data on inequalities though is focussed on the domestic work of the sector and there is a gap when its international activities are considered. While we might reasonably assume that these inequalities are extended into international activity, or even exacerbated by it, the available data is not conclusive.

In order to deliver the International Culture Strategy we will develop a detailed outcomes framework and theory of change. This will demonstrate how the Strategy’s outcomes will be achieved and will consider in detail the data sources that will support the monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy and, where gaps exist, how we will seek to address them. Equalities considerations will be embedded within those processes and within the delivery of the actions outlined in the Strategy. We will do this in collaboration with key stakeholders to embed their knowledge and expertise within all aspects of delivery.

In developing this Equality Impact Assessment, we found some evidence for different outcomes for some, but not all, protected characteristics.

The process of policy development, which included considering evidence for this Equality Impact Assessment, shaped the actions that are contained within the Strategy.

The findings of the International Culture Strategy public survey were central to the development of the Strategy. Survey respondents noted that the key motivations for working internationally included the desire to build connections, network and collaborate, and to share expertise and knowledge.

Respondents stated that international work increased diversity, broadening understanding of different perspectives and experiences, helping organisations become more diverse and inclusive, and leading to more accessible and representative work.

The respondents mainly reflected on the impact of international cultural activity on the equalities groups, from the perspective of their own experiences in delivering cultural activities, the barriers encountered by their team members, and how they themselves address equality concerns through their work and within their workplace. International cultural activities should be attainable for artists from all backgrounds.

The findings of the EQIA have informed proposed activity within the Strategy to uphold equality, diversity and inclusion in our work and in the wider culture and creative sector. We will connect with actions outlined in the Culture Strategy Action Plan, published in December 2023. These actions commit us to 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. Examples include helping recruitment diversity by introducing appropriate remuneration for board members of national culture and heritage public bodies.

The International Culture Strategy contains a specific action focussed on embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into all work developed under it and to link with wider work under the Culture Strategy Action Plan. This will ensure that a joined-up approach is taken to supporting and furthering equality, diversity and inclusion principles within the culture and creative sector, and ensure that equalities impacts under the Strategy will be embedded in monitoring and evaluation.

Recommendations and Next Steps

Considering evidence for this Equality Impact Assessment shaped the actions that are contained within the Strategy. It led to a specific equality, diversity focussed action to ensure that these principles are embedded into all work developed under the Strategy.

The Strategy’s high-level outcomes set out what we seek to achieve in the next six years. The success of the Strategy will be considered in relation to these outcomes.

The Scottish Government will work with delivery partners to develop a detailed outcomes framework and theory of change. This will explain how existing and upcoming work, including actions in this Strategy and any further actions developed with delivery partners, are contributing towards achieving the Strategy’s outcomes.

An accompanying monitoring and evaluation plan will be produced to support progress towards the strategy’s vision and provide accountability.

This Equality Impact Assessment will be updated further alongside the Strategy’s outcomes framework to ensure it remains accurate and accounts for any developments.



Back to top