Elections are on the horizon in Scotland and Wales that will shape cultural policy for years to come.
Devolved governments have huge freedom on cultural policy, and have not been afraid to diverge from the rest of the UK. Scotland and Wales have created substantial new cultural institutions, taken a constructive approach to confronting the issues raised by Black Lives Matter, and sought to integrate culture into wider social initiatives, with Wales’s Fusion programme enlisting cultural organisations in tackling poverty.
But there is still a lot of work for the incoming governments. Enabling museums to open again and winning back visitors after the Covid-19 crisis must be a top priority.
The two governments should also take a fresh look at sustainable funding settlements. The Welsh government has neglected to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Local Museum Review. Scotland’s recent culture strategy has little direction on who pays for cultural institutions.
Neither country has a system for identifying and supporting core museum provision, so their new governments should consider creating systems for delivering consistent support to museums.