Arts Strategy 2016-17

Matthew Simos at Edinburgh Printmakers

This Arts Strategy sets out Creative Scotland’s commitment to increasing the reach, relevance and contribution that artists and art make to life in Scotland.

The Arts Strategy sits alongside Creative Scotland’s strategies for Screen and Creative Industries. In 2017/18 the strategies will be aligned to better understand and maximise the strategic connections and potential across all three.

Artists, cultural producers and arts organisations are a central part of a healthy, innovative, and dynamic society. Art and culture sit at the heart of who we are as a nation.- Leonie Bell, Director of Arts and Engagement

The Strategy provides us with an important framework that will inform how we will deliver as a funder, advocate, influencer and, crucially, considers the longer term for the arts across Scotland at a time when resources are constrained across the public sector.

In addition we want to use it to stimulate and broaden the debate around key opportunities and challenges to help shape a shared and progressive approach to supporting the arts with the current and next generation of artists and audiences in mind. Creative Scotland is part of a much broader cultural landscape.

It will inform our approach to building alliances across art forms, sectors and society to extend the opportunities that the arts bring by supporting Scotland’s artists, the arts and audiences to flourish.

Crowd at Hebridean Celtic Festival - Photo by Leila Angus 


This Arts Strategy positions the arts as a central means to support the Scottish Government’s resolute commitment to building and sustaining a society that offers opportunities for all and where the potential of each individual is recognised and valued; where communities are empowered to shape their own futures; where the benefits from economic growth are shared; and where the new powers over tax and social security are explored, with the artistic community involved in the debate about these opportunities.

It is also firmly rooted in the arts sectors’ own context. Scotland is home to a highly capable and confident arts sector that is growing in ambition and reach. There is an expanding and supportive infrastructure, an open, innovative outlook, and expert and committed people working across Scotland. Yet underneath this confidence is a set of growing challenges.

The demand on funding is increasing at a time when the funding available to Creative Scotland, other arts and cultural stakeholders, partners and across the public sector, is reducing. A significant challenge will be to ensure that available funding and resources are balanced and maximised in ways that protect the strengths within the sector while also supporting innovation and new ways of doing things in the future.

The strategy is shaped by research reports and approaches that have contributed to the development of the arts across the UK over the last 70 years. It supports Creative Scotland’s 10-year plan and is directly informed by our Sector Reviews for dance, literature and publishing, music, theatre, visual arts, creative learning and equalities, diversity and inclusion.

Ramesh Mayyappan, Skewered Snails Photo by Douglas Robertson 

Core aims

This Arts Strategy commits to refreshing Creative Scotland’s overall approach in relation to the arts in terms of funding, development, advocacy and influence in the following areas, and with the following aims:

Artists and cultural producers

Core aim: Explore ways in which the vital contribution that artists and cultural producers make to society is visible and valued – with a view to strengthening opportunities for excellence and diversity across the arts to be encouraged, nurtured and sustained across Scotland.

Organisations and sector development

Core aim: Establish a strong and up-to-date understanding of the different dynamics, operating contexts and business models that exist across the arts in Scotland – with a view to enabling the evolution and sustainability of new ways of working, including through partnerships and collaboration.

Society and audiences

Core aim: Build on our commitment to creative learning, equalities, diversity and inclusion – with a view to extending and deepening the reach of the arts as relevant, connected and reflective of society and a rapidly changing world, and ensuring the artistic community is at the heart of the wider debate on Scotland’s future.

Creative Scotland’s role

Core aim: Develop effective, relevant and informed ways of working – with a view to fostering long-term strategic planning and partnership working between the private and public sectors, and across local, national and international contexts, to support an arts sector that is thriving, strong and reflective of contemporary Scotland.

Are you LOCATIONALIZED Photo by Ruth Clark


Arts Strategy 2016-17

Download the Arts Strategy in PDF format. This strategy sets out our commitment to increasing the reach, relevance and contribution that artists and art make to life in Scotland.

Ro-innleachd Ealain Alba Cruthachail 2016-17

Download a Gaelic translation of the Arts Strategy in PDF format.

What's next?

During the next 24 months we will use the strategy to be as outward looking as possible and to work with artists and the sector to explore the key themes within the strategy. These conversations will take place across Scotland and will be used to inform longer term strategic priorities and approaches to improving and promoting how we understand and support the reach, relevance and contribution that artists and art make to society.

To keep in touch with what we’re doing, sign up for our monthly Newsletter. If you want to know more about Creative Scotland and the work we do, contact our Enquiries Service.

Photo credits: Matthew Simos (Edinburgh Printmakers), Crowd at Hebridean Celtic Festival (Leila Angus), Skewered Snails (Douglas Robertson), Are you LOCATIONALIZED (Ruth Clark)