National Museums Scotland

Culture in Scotland to be a “central consideration across all policy areas”

Patrick Steel, 04.07.2018
But draft strategy acknowledges funding pressures
Culture should be a “central consideration across all policy areas”, according to the Scottish government’s draft culture strategy, which was published last week.

The strategy aims to “open up the potential of culture as a transformative opportunity across society”, positioning it as “central to progress in health and wellbeing, economy, education, reducing inequality and realising a greener and more innovative future”.

Alistair Brown, the Museums Association’s (MA) policy officer, said the MA was pleased that the document reflected much of the association’s thinking about the social impact of museums and the need for diversity in the cultural sector, but added: “This is a strong starting point – but we want to ensure that the strategy results in substantive actions, and funding – that will enable Scottish museums to contribute to the strategy’s priorities.”

The strategy commits to “exploring new funding models to support the culture sector” but warns that “demand is high and funding is under pressure across both national and local government”.

It also raises concerns of further pressures after Brexit, following analysis by Creative Scotland that showed £59m of EU funding was received by the Scottish culture and historic environment sectors over the period 2007-16.

Museums Galleries Scotland has indicated it would like to see Scotland’s museums and cultural heritage “feature more prominently in the final version”. John McLeish, MGS interim chief executive officer, said the organisation would be publishing sector feedback “to support the delivery of a clear and consistent message about the integral role of museums to Scotland’s culture”.

The strategy will see a new cultural leadership post within the Scottish government to support “creative and innovative thinking”. And it hopes to highlight the benefits of a more connected and multi-disciplinary approach across all areas of government “to consider the big societal issues faced in Scotland today and in the future”.

The strategy recommends the development of new approaches to measuring an extended view of culture and better articulate the benefits of culture to society, with joined up working across the culture sector, other sectors, local and national government and communities.

The MA will be working with its members in Scotland to respond to the consultation. The strategy will be discussed at its Members’ Meeting in Glasgow on 11 September.

The consultation on the draft strategy closes on 19 September.

Links and downloads

A culture strategy for Scotland: draft for consultation