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.

3. Rationale for an International Culture Strategy

Our starting point for the development of this strategy is the needs and interests of Scotland's culture and creative sectors in developing their international activity and achieving their ambitions in this area. We are seeking to understand the importance of this activity to the sector as a whole, to consider where there is potential for development, and what the barriers to that might be. Ultimately, we want to understand how a coherent, strategic approach can support the sector's international relationships, activity, and ambitions. In doing so, we primarily seek to achieve cultural and economic outcomes – international connections will support cultural exchange and innovation and develop new markets, audiences, and income sources.

We recognise as well that cultural activity can be central to a country's international reputation and recognition, and can support wider activity, such as diplomacy or trade promotion. We suggest that the best way of achieving diplomatic or reputational impacts through culture is first and foremost to ensure that the culture sector can achieve its own international ambitions and potential.

Organisations working in this space such as the British Council term their approach cultural relations. Their focus is on long term relationships of cultural exchange and cooperation to build mutual understanding. As stated by researchers at Nesta's Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, "in order to be effective, a new recipe for soft power for the 21st century should embrace a cultural relations approach, based on understanding, connecting and co-creating rather than on overt promoting and influencing - as this would undermine its very own mission."

Supporting the Scottish culture and creative sectors to internationalise could develop new markets, audiences, and income streams while increasing the visibility of Scottish cultural products internationally. Cultural exports come in many forms including, for example: tangible products such as books; digitally consumed music or film; touring artists and companies; exhibitions and exchange of cultural artefacts; or any number of other products and activities. What such activity holds in common is that it requires understanding of how to undertake international activity, develop new markets, access networks or navigate the regulatory landscape of another country. We wish to explore the skills, capacity, and potential within the sector for export activity.

Therefore our proposed approach seeks to achieve outcomes which principally support the culture sector's cultural and economic interests, but recognises that wider impacts can be achieved through doing so, and perhaps by explicitly linking such primary and secondary outcomes greater overall impact can be achieved.

Question 5: What are your views on the rationale set out for an International Culture Strategy?



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