Inspiring Connections: Scotland's International Culture Strategy

This strategy aims to support Scotland's 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.

Ministerial foreword

International engagement is vital for our culture and creative sector. Engagement and collaboration across borders create new opportunities for creative professionals, make our culture and creative sector more vibrant and diverse, and help to reach new audiences and markets. It also connects us to global dialogues on some of the key challenges of our time.

Scotland’s deep and rich culture and creativity is recognised across the world. The work of writers such as Robert Burns, our music scene, and our festivals, with their open international spirit, are all internationally renowned. Our creativity has been recognised by UNESCO in our four Creative Cities. Our unique historic environment is shown in our six World Heritage Sites. Scotland’s global cultural contribution puts our culture and creative sector in a strong position to enhance their international engagement.

This is the first time that a comprehensive strategy focused on developing and enhancing international cultural engagement has been published by the Scottish Government. It sets out a vision to enhance the sector’s international presence and considers the role that the Scottish Government and our partners can play in that.

It is more important than ever that we take action. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the end of freedom of movement has weakened the sector’s ability to work across borders. This has been compounded by the impacts of COVID-19 and current cost pressures. Supporting the sector to reinvigorate international engagement can be a key part of driving its recovery.

The actions set out here will also help us to engage in wider international debates and play an active role in addressing global challenges. Culture can help bring new perspectives and ideas to the biggest questions we face as a society: for example, our country’s role in empire and slavery, and addressing climate change. Work outlined here can help us to consider these vital issues.

We will deliver the aims of this strategy by working closely with the sector, drawing on its expertise and understanding its needs. We will also ensure that international engagement is open to as many organisations and practitioners as possible, so more people can share the positive impacts.

Engaging and cooperating across borders will create a vibrant, innovative and strong culture and creative sector. Developing international cultural connections will benefit our communities, and help us to build a fairer and more just world. This strategy sets out our vision for this. I look forward to widespread conversation about the possibilities and opportunities that this brings.

Angus Robertson MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture



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