Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion

We aim to put equalities and diversity at the heart of all our activity enabling people from different backgrounds, from diverse communities and of all ages to access increased opportunity through access to arts and culture.

The information in this page is designed to help you understand the Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Connecting Theme and how you might develop your practice or organisation to ensure that you are implementing EDI across your programmes and organisational structures.

What is EDI?

EDI is about fairness and cultural entitlement. It is also about creating the conditions for excellent art to be produced. Equality is about removing barriers, and diversity is about supporting and reflecting different cultures in Scotland, enabling all artistic and creative voices to be heard.  Inclusion is about creating opportunities for people to work in, engage with, participate in, and experience arts and creativity throughout the country.

Experience shows that organisations that embrace EDI are more successful creatively, as they recognise the rich artistic and creative opportunities that diversity and inclusion offers, as well as being more economically viable and sustainable. It makes good business sense to offer flexible working environments, to diversify audiences and better reflect the changing population of Scotland today.

We know that the arts, screen and creative industries are not representative of the population of Scotland, either in terms of workforce or in terms of audience and participation. We are not using all the resources available to us, and benefitting fully from diversity of experience.  Boards tend to be homogeneous. The employment in our funded organisations of disabled people and those from ethnic minorities is low. There are deep-rooted issues to be addressed about the representation of women on stage, screen and in the games industry.

What are the legal frameworks around EDI that we all have to comply with?

The Equality Act 2010 provides a comprehensive legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. All organisations that provide goods, facilities or services and all employers are subject to the Equality Act.

As a public body, Creative Scotland has a responsibility as part of the general duty under the Equality Act 2010, to promote a fair and more equal society and show ‘due regard’ to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, as well as other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

We share these responsibilities with the organisations we fund.

Further legislation supporting EDI objectives include the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.

What does EDI mean in practice for my organisation or practice?

To better reflect the diversity of Scotland today your organisation should clearly embed equal opportunities in all aspects of its delivery, including your artistic programme, staff and working environments, management and board, audiences and participation, and buildings and spaces. If you are an individual artist, you should look to embed EDI in the buildings and spaces you use as well as engagement of audiences and participation.

Overall, you may wish to consider whether your commitment to EDI is evident across your project or organisation. You could achieve this through creating an EDI Action Plan, if appropriate.

EDI Action Plans should focus on two or three of the legally defined protected characteristics. Creative Scotland has also added its own characteristic of socio-economic deprivation which covers such areas as poverty, crime, rural isolation, low economic activity/unemployment and poor educational attainment. See our EDI toolkit for advice on how to develop this.

Questions to consider

The following section contains some questions that you might find helpful to consider in developing EDI in your organisation or practice.

Is your Artistic Programme or work diverse?

  • Does your programme or work tell the stories of diverse communities in Scotland today?
  • Do you consider diversity of representation on stage and screen, in publications and in the work you exhibit and produce?
  • Are you providing a range of creative opportunities for Deaf or disabled artists, minority ethnic creatives, older actors?
  • Do you consider the gender balance in creative roles?
  • Do you adopt an aesthetic approach to inclusion? For example, is there sign language embedded in your production?
  • Do you offer different forms of interpretation like audio description, touch tours, captioning, different languages and/or sign language interpretation?

Staff, management and Board: who do you work with?

  • How diverse is your Board? Do you monitor the equality characteristics  of your Board members? Do you have plans which indicate how you will attract new members to reflect society more broadly?
  • Are your recruitment procedures fair and accessible? Are all opportunities advertised and promoted widely?
  • Is your staff team diverse at all levels of the organisation?
  • Do you monitor the protected characteristics of all employees, including the artists you work with?
  • Could positive action/targeted recruitment measures be an option to consider to support the recruitment of ethnic minority staff?
  • Do your staff and Board receive regular equalities training?
  • Do you offer flexible and family-friendly working environments?
  • Do you pay a living wage, where appropriate?
  • Do you pay standard industry rates to artists, where appropriate?
  • Do you pay interns?

Audiences and participation: who is your programme or work for?

  • Do you gather audience data and evidence the demand for your work?
  • Can you reach a wider range of people and involve your local community?
  • What are you doing to include people and places with low engagement in the arts, screen and creative industries?
  • Are your promotional materials and your website easy for people to access and understand?
  • Do you offer large print, translations, and/or other alternative formats?
  • Do you offer a range of appropriate concessions in ticket prices?
  • Do you tell people how they can get involved – and offer volunteer opportunities?
  • Do you promote your programme on access listings?
  • Do you offer, for example, crèche facilities, BSL/sign language interpretation, free tickets for accompanying carers/PAs and have you included reasonable ongoing costs in your budget to cover this?

Buildings and spaces: where do you deliver?

  • Do you provide information about different ways to access your building, and detail transport options?
  • Not all buildings are fully accessible - do you make it clear what is not accessible?
  • Do you tour to accessible venues?
  • Has your building been reviewed for Euan’s Guide?
  • Do you offer a range of performance / exhibition times?
  • Is your building used by all ages in the local community?
  • Is it dementia-friendly?


  • Who is responsible for EDI in your organisation?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of what you are doing?

Useful resources


  • The Age of Creativity is an online resource for arts and ageing.
  • Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people's access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice across the UK.
  • Easy Read helps people with learning disabilities to understand information easily, using pictures to support the meaning of text. Easy Read provides essential information without a lot of background information. It can be also be helpful for people who are not fluent in English.
  • Shape Arts: access resources for the inclusion of Deaf and disabled people


  • Euan’s Guide is a national resource of disabled access reviews by disabled people.
  • Access Scottish Theatre provides information about accessible performances at theatres across Scotland for Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and visually impaired audiences.

Legal Guidance


Ethnicity and migration


Equalities in Creative Scotland

Equalities Monitoring