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Social Value

Hannah Brackston's Nith Scoping public art project Dumfries (photo: The Stove)

Creativity makes the society we live in better

It makes an invaluable contribution to our health and wellbeing – both physically and mentally.

It inspires co-operation, collaboration, empathy and understanding. It brings people together and opens our minds to cultural diversity and social inclusion.

It can reach out to all parts of society across all parts of the country, including some of our most marginalised people.

It makes a vital contribution to all stages of our education system and to lifelong development and learning.

It helps us develop skills, our imaginations, our self-expression, and our confidence, opening us up to new experiences, improving social mobility and helping us all learn more about ourselves and others and, ultimately, making a positive contribution to Scotland’s society.

Did you know?

The most commonly reported benefits of taking part in creative activities are helping us to relax and making us feel good - 44% and 36% respectivelyScottish Opinion Survey TNS, September 2015

People who have attended a cultural place or event in the previous 12 months are almost 60 per cent more likely to report good health compared to those who have not - Healthy Attendance? The Impact of Cultural Engagement and Sports Participation on Health and Satisfaction with Life in Scotland, Scottish Government  2013

Alongside the more physical benefits of active forms of cultural activity (e.g. drama, dance) activities such as storytelling and visual art also have positive impacts on the overall health of those taking part - An Evidence Review of the Impact of Participatory Arts on Older People, Mental Health Foundation, 2011

Learning through Arts and Culture improves attainment across many other aspects of the school curriculum. Participation in structured arts activities increase cognitive abilities, and taking part in structured music activities improves attainment in maths - Key research findings: the case for cultural learning, Cultural Learning Alliance, 2011

79% of people agreed that arts education in schools is as important as science education. And 78% agreed that as much importance should be given to providing arts services as sports services. - Scottish Opinion Survey TNS, September 2015

Useful links

A spot of culture can make a huge difference to our sense of wellbeing

In this guest post, Bill Ward, Executive Director at Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling, talks about how culture and the arts can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Outreach at Luminate 2016: Directed by North Merchiston

Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival, runs from 1-31 October across Scotland every year. We find out more about one of this year's outreach projects that saw filmmaker Duncan Cowles working at North Merchiston Care Home to create a collection of short films directed by residents.


Edinburgh based arts and disability organisation Artlink focus on developing work with access at its heart.

Creative Stirling

Creative Stirling is a support network for Stirling's creative community and promotes Stirling as a cultural hub to those who live and work there, as well as visitors to the city.

Screen Machine

Screen Machine is an 80-seat, air conditioned mobile cinema which brings the latest films to remote and rural areas of Scotland.

The Stove

Based in Dumfries, The Stove Network is a 200 strong artist-led collective committed to the idea that creativity has an important role to play in making great places.

Glasgow Womens' Library

Glasgow Womens' Library is developing a bench-mark cultural hub for women, women's historical achievements and women's creative endeavours in Scotland.


Scotland's creative ageing festival celebrates our creativity as we age, sharing stories across the generations, and exploring what ageing means to all of us.