International culture strategy: survey

We are seeking views to inform the development of a strategy to support the international aspirations and potential of Scotland’s culture sector.

2. Scotland's international cultural footprint

Scotland has internationally recognised cultural assets of a scale that many larger countries cannot match. Recent work undertaken jointly by Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland demonstrates the range of cultural assets that exist in Scotland. These assets are not just the activities, performances, festivals, infrastructure, and practitioners that exist in Scotland, but also the approaches and business models that make Scotland distinctive. This is a strong starting point for the development of this strategy.

The international footprint of Scotland's culture sector has a number of aspects:

2.1 Economic/business/industrial

In 2019 Scottish Creative Industries exports stood at £4.1 billion, 4.7% of total exports. This figure represented a 2.1% increase over the course of the year. Exports to the rest of the UK stood at £2.4 billion in 2019 and accounted for 58.5% of total Creative Industries exports. International exports to the EU stood at £545 million (13.4%) and international exports to non-EU countries stood at £1.2 billion (28.2%).

Cultural organisations have reported that their international work has a range of financial impacts. International work including tours or exhibitions can leverage additional income from existing intellectual property, develop new philanthropic relationships with diaspora communities, expand audiences, and form important income streams.

These activities are also central in building links with organisations such as promoters and other creative professionals internationally, which further supports international business activities and access to skills for the sector in Scotland.

2.2 Cultural

International cultural exchange is an essential element of what the sector does. Sharing experience and drawing on others' knowledge and expertise supports innovation and cultural excellence. Few art forms can be said to be uniquely Scottish, so to continue to innovate, organisations and artists must develop and maintain creative connections with peers around the world.

The Scottish sector has a reputation for particular approaches that make organisations particularly keen to work with Scottish peers. A perceived authenticity, democratic bottom-up approach, and innovative delivery models, are all recognised as being particular strengths that support mutually beneficial international relationships. This was highlighted in the recent report by Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland on Scotland's cultural assets:To See Ourselvesand As Others See Us.

It is also demonstrated by the previous track record of Scottish organisations in the Creative Europe programme – a EU programme that recognises the value of and supports international cultural exchange. Scottish organisations enjoyed significant success in Creative Europe pre-Brexit and were seen as valuable partners in projects, as indicted by the higher than average proportion of projects where Scottish partners held the project lead.

2.3 Reputational

Culture is central to how Scotland is viewed internationally and its attractiveness as a destination for tourism and business. In 2020, Scotland was ranked 16th out of 50 countries in the Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brands Index terms of survey respondents' perceptions of Scotland's culture. This overall ranking would be higher if the Culture dimension did not include perceptions of sporting excellence as a sub-category. At time of publication, the 2022 culture specific ranking has not yet been published but is expected imminently. Culture is a strong draw to Scotland with, for example, around a third of tourists in 2015/16 identifying it as their motivation for visiting the country. This was the second most popular reason for visiting behind scenery and landscape.

The Scottish Government's National Strategy for Economic Transformation identifies the creative industries as a 'new market opportunity'. It recognises the creative industries' global position which draws on Scotland's long-standing cultural assets and reputation for expertise in delivery, innovation, and growing strengths in digital skills and technologies. Scotland's international cultural reputation and presence also plays a part in making Scotland an attractive place to do business.

In the Vision for Trade we set out the interactions between trade and culture, including the ways in which trade can support our National Outcomes. The Vision sets out that building trust and strong international relationships has a direct positive economic effect on trade. Engaging internationally through cultural events such as international festivals is also identified as a lever for the Scottish Government to promote its principles-based approach to trade internationally.

2.4 Current levels of activity and motivations

Where international activity receives public funding or is conducted through Scotland's culture public bodies and national cultural institutions, we have data on the levels of activity, its intent and outcomes. We also know the absolute economic value of Scotland's cultural exports. What is less clear under this is the more detailed picture of the type of work that is undertaken outside of publicly-funded structures and its impact. Through this survey we want to better understand the importance of international working to Scotland's culture sector, why it is important, and what the various motivations for engaging internationally are.

Question 1: What current international activity do you undertake?

Question 2: What impact does cultural activity have on your business/organisation?

Question 3: What are your motivations for working internationally?

Question 4: What, if any, are the main barriers to developing your international activity?



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