Tale of two Cultures: Have two distinct "Cultural Strategies"

One issue we have come across many times when speaking to communities is that the word "Culture" is that is a loaded-term, meaning many different things to different people,  thereby making a "Cultural Strategy" too broad a brush.

It may therefore be useful to clearly distinguish between the cultural activities as a sector, industry and/or profession and the grassroots/community groups who conciously do it for fun and not money/everyday creativity.

These are fundamentally different though equally importants "cultures", that although they do feed into each other (i.e. people who do it for fun, and eventually want to become professional, and professionals helping to nurture everyday talents in communities), they have very different needs and both deserve attention and support in the strategy. 


Why the contribution is important

It's necessary to split these as both the grassroots and professional cultural ecosystems deserve equal attention and support, and a strategy that tries to conflate the two will end up not satisfying either fully.

An example is funding - a lot of the grassroots voluntary groups we encouter very often require only small pots of money to help run their events and find microfunds (<£200-500) which are easily accessible, don't require much paperwork and perhaps comes with a person's support (to signpost to resources, help bridgebuild to other groups etc.) very useful. We would argue there are not enough opportunities to access these types of funds across Scotland (though some notable exceptions, include the Time to Shine funding for young people for example), and suggest that one of the actions would be having provision for more pots (and importantly, capacity to administer and support these - perhaps through development agencies or otherwise) to be available. 

On the other hand, this would be wholly inappropriate solution for professional artists, whom historically have to depend on either not being paid, or not being paid enough and therefore a very different strategy would be needed to support them with the appropriate funding structures.

Another example of a subtle difference in strategy emphasis would be the fact that we should be encouraging *everyone* in Scotland to have the opportunity to be creative everyday, linking in with lifelong learning, health and wellbeing and inclusive growth, regardless of whether or not they want to work professionally in the creative industries or not. Grassroots cultural participation does happen everyday in communities and it would be important this is celebrated and supported even more beyond "outreach" programmes which are often tokenistic - give peope the means of cultural production, not just the products.

This should be a seperate conversation to the equally important discussion of how Scotland must invest in it's creative industries, fill the skills gap and support professions/freelancers in a changing economy - embedding creativity into our education system, being bold in linking this with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) agendas (and the recent consultation) and providing right opportunities for Scotland to be at the forefront of cultural and technological innovation.


by lewishou on November 30, 2017 at 04:52PM

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