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Scottish Government's Culture Strategy is published

On Friday 28 February the Scottish Government published its Culture Strategy for Scotland. The strategy is the result of a ‘national conversation for culture’, which kicked off in 2017, and of a draft strategy which was published in 2018. SCAN responded to the draft in September 2018 – you can read that here .

Overall, the Culture Strategy recognises the inherent value of culture, as well as placing it as a ‘cross-government priority’ which cuts through all policy areas. The principle of fair work and fair pay runs throughout it, as well as the role of the artist in galvanising changes in our society. While there is a £1.245 million spending commitment attached to the strategy we feel that it should be taken in context of continuing budget pressures on visual arts organisations, and artists, at both local and national level.

We’ve put together a short summary, but we’ll be gathering your views on the strategy and what it means for you over the coming weeks.

Culture Strategy guiding principles:
• Culture in Scotland is valued in and of itself
• Culture is free to be inspiring and to challenge
• Culture is central to the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland – cultural, social, economic and environmental
• We celebrate the diversity and excellence of cultures in Scotland and the value of open exchange with the wider world
• Everyone has the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits (Article 27, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
• Place – community, landscape, language and geography – is important and reflects the creativity of the past and provides inspiration for cultural expression today

The strategy’s three ambitions:
• Strengthening Culture, Transforming Through Culture and Empowering through Culture.

What the strategy is funding:
• Arts Alive £280,000 (2019-2021)
• Museum Galleries Scotland Diversity Action £40,000 (2019-21)
• Arts, Culture, Health and Wellbeing Scotland Network £10,000 (2019-20)
• Creative Communities £900,000 (2019-21)
• Supporting Expressive Arts in the Curriculum: £15,000 (2019-20)

Points we feel are most relevant for visual arts in Scotland, and that speak to our Visual Arts Manifesto aims and aspirations:

The establishment of a National Partnership for Culture headed up by former Edinburgh International Festival Managing Director Joanna Baker to act as a cross-sector voice to advise Scottish Ministers on matters affecting culture in Scotland.

A pilot programme, Arts Alive ‘where artists receive a fair and transparent payment to bring cultural experiences to communities’

A review of the cultural workforce and leadership development in Scotland, working with Creative Scotland and in collaboration with Clore

Requiring all public bodies and agencies in the sector to commit to Fair Work First , and for organisations funded by Creative Scotland to be clear about the costs of payment of people involved in delivering their work. In particular, RFOs and those seeking regular funding must commit to paying a living wage to all core workers.

Partnership work with Creative Scotland and Engage Scotland to identify best practice and developing new approaches to supporting schools, teachers and pupils to engage more confidently with contemporary visual arts and design

Recognition that culture plays a crucial role in influencing widespread behavioural change required to meet the government’s net-zero targets, and to help understand and combat the climate emergency
Work to map local authority support for culture and ‘explore future models for collaboration between national and local bodies’

Let us know what you think! Get in touch at the usual addresses

Date: 2 March 2020