Putting culture at the heart of government

Putting Culture at the Heart of Government

by Kenneth Gibson MSP.

Kenneth Gibson MSP

The SNP Government has published A Culture Strategy for Scotland, focusing on culture’s ability to transform lives and empower people.

The document was developed through public engagement and consultation and outlines the SNP Government’s commitment to strengthening the sector in order to value, protect and nurture culture.

This strategy is supported by £1.25 million to help new and existing projects make cultural life accessible to all.

With this funding, the SNP Government will create a new advisory body, the National Partnership for Culture, which will work with ministers and be led by former Edinburgh International Festival managing director Joanna Baker.

An Arts Alive programme will also be established with the intention of having 250 cultural sessions in schools and communities across Scotland each year. This will also help schools to engage more with the arts through the Supporting Expressive Arts in the Curriculum programme.

It is important to ensure people have the opportunity for culture to enrich their lives and is central to decisions in health and wellbeing, education, economy and environment.

Therefore the Arts, Culture, Health & Wellbeing Scotland Network is also being expanded to make sure culture is central to all policy areas.

Ultimately, this new strategy will put culture at the heart of government.

Culture is central to who we are and is one of Scotland’s many strengths. It is worth more than the financial value placed on it but, unfortunately, not everyone currently benefits. The government’s Creative Communities programme is therefore being match-funded this year by the Justice portfolio to provide experiences for people in areas with lower levels of cultural engagement, including projects for young people at risk of re-offending.

A key pillar of the strategy is the recognition that we need to do more to nurture artistic talent, support artists, add value, recognise and champion artistic excellence. The strategy will harness the power of culture to transform lives, improve health and wellbeing, contribute to the economy and bring creative approaches to design better communities.

The vision is of a nation where culture is woven through everyday life, where it shapes – and is shaped by – society and where its transformative effects are experienced by everyone. With the initiatives from this strategy, that vision can become a reality in Scotland.