7. Scotland’s culture
Scotland benefits from a strong global identity. Fundamental to this is our diverse culture, which is inspired and celebrated by people around the world. Our cultural festivals are world-renowned.
Culture is a powerful tool for building bridges between people and reinforcing mutual understanding. It can also be an engine for economic and social development. In Scotland’s case, our distinctive culture contributes to Scotland’s positive international reputation as an open, creative, welcoming and confident nation.
We will build on Scotland’s strong international cultural offer through a cultural diplomacy strategy. This strategy will set out how we will assist the recovery of the cultural sector from the pandemic through international engagement, and how we will use the opportunities cultural exchanges create in support of Scotland’s broader international objectives. By supporting and promoting Scotland’s international cultural connections we can help ensure the cultural sector has the platform it deserves.
Key to this will be international mobility. International activities such as touring are vital to maintaining international networks and relationships, and to fostering the exchanges on which cultural innovation thrives. We are already taking forward work to support touring artists and other creative professionals working internationally to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and the consequences of the UK Government’s disastrous approach to Brexit. This work will further support the development of our cultural diplomacy strategy.
Culture is one of Scotland’s greatest exports and is critical to how we are viewed internationally, including representing a more accurate portrayal of Scotland’s colonial and slavery history. Our great cultural assets can support our wider international connections, including strengthening trading relationships with other countries.
We will work with Scotland’s creative businesses to help them recover and adapt to new ways of working. We will increase support for our screen industry to work internationally, strengthening networks and building recognition of our stories, our artists and our creativity, including our film, television and gaming sectors.
Cultural collaboration and exchange builds trust, and strengthens both our understanding of other nations and, in turn, their understanding of what Scotland has to offer. It also fosters the cross-border cultural partnerships and networks that are vital to the sector’s operation. We will work with the sector to continue to nurture strong relationships and collaborations with key partners in Europe and beyond. This includes working with stakeholders to encourage international cultural exchange, capacity-building and collaboration.
In delivering Scotland’s Culture Strategy we will continue to enhance Scotland’s international profile, reputation and attractiveness as a tourist destination by promoting our world-leading festivals to international tourists and arts markets, through international touring and festival appearances by the National Performing Companies and through international loans by and from Scotland’s National Collections. In light of COVID-19 and to help fulfil the legacy of COP26, we will explore digital and hybrid opportunities too. We will also continue to support the development of skills, facilities and opportunities for Scotland’s screen sector which will underpin inward investment, as well as the sector’s sustainable growth.
Scotland is respected as a country with a long history of cultural collaboration. Our winter festivals – St Andrew’s Day, Hogmanay and Burns Night – are celebrated by the Scottish diaspora across the world. Our culture is enriched by people from across the world who choose to live, work, study or visit Scotland, and by our increasingly culturally diverse communities. Scotland welcomes international cultural influences and the riches they bring and it is important these international ties are nurtured and valued for the way they connect Scotland to the wider world and foster mutual understanding.
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