Response 179347697

Back to Response listing

A vision for culture in Scotland

1. What is your view of the Vision as set out above?

Please select one item
Support the vision
Ticked Don’t support the vision
Don’t know

2. If you have any further comments on the Vision, please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

If you have any further comments on the Vision, please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
My name is Hugh Andrew. I am Managing Director of undoubtedly the largest cultural investor in literature in the private sector in Scotland (Birlinn Ltd). We publish some 150 titles a year and have 1000 books in print. Our publishing is central to Scottish culture and projects that culture internationally. I am a Trustee or Chair of Trust of three charitable bodies. I find it quite astonishing that in the formation of this document no attempt was made to engage with a cultural provider of our size and importance in Scotland. 1. If you do not start off with any clear definition of what culture is (there is a nod to this but it is clearly not internalised) then you cannot by definition create any meaningful document. 2. It is far too long and appears to be driven by an attempt to absorb a vast range of different views from micro comments to 'big picture' thinking. This is evidence not of any strategic overview but of the absence of such. 3. Its main proposal of the creation of a culture Tsar begs the question of precisely what the many organisations funded by government whose cultural remit should be clear have been doing up to now. The procreation of yet more bureaucracy is not evidence of transformation of that bureaucracy but of the avoidance of the same by the externalisation of the 'change' process. 4. What has happened to the last two cultural strategies? If we need one ever six years does it not beg some fundamental questions? 5. Where proposals are made eg entrenching culture within existing departments, yet further questions are begged. It has taken 18 years to get to a perfectly self evident point. Seven years of SNP government has just noticed that most of the Scottish government is completely uninterested in a core foundation of Scottish identity!!! 6. While the paper pays lip service to culture as intrinsic to our lives, the clear default setting is of a series of extrinsic activities. 7. There are a vast number of cultural bodies already in existence, many no doubt with their own 'strategies'. There appears to be little consideration of how this will interface with them. Equally should such a document not actually challenge at a fundamental level some of these and their necessity? 8. It contains far too much cringe and justification for culture, far too much fall back on economic validations etc. 9. It does not contain any clear intellectual foundation as to what the states role in culture should be. Provider, enabler, facilitator ...? 10, It makes no attempt to engage with the multiplicity of cultural narratives in Scotland and the fact that they often collide in uncomfortable ways eg religion in the West of Scotland is often used in a deeply uncomfortable sectarian narrative. I have not met one person in the cultural sector or been at one meeting where this document has been discussed where it has not been regarded as risible. I reject it because I regard it as at best irrelevant, at worst an embarrassment. It doesn't know what it sets out to do, does not define its parameters, fails to define meaningful and clearly measurable outcomes, fails to challenge existing orthodoxy, at best engages in windy generalities about vague future outcomes, fails to engage in any meaningful way with current praxis.... I could go on.

Transforming through culture

3. What is your view of the ambition, ‘Transforming through culture’?

Please select one item
Support ambition
Ticked Don’t support ambition
Don’t know

4. If you have further comments on the ambition, ‘Transforming through culture’, please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

If you have further comments on the ambition, ‘Transforming through culture’, please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
See previous

Empowering through culture

6. What is your view of the ambition, ‘Empowering through culture’?

Please select one item
Support ambition
Ticked Don’t support ambition
Don’t know

7. If you have further comments on the ambition, ‘Empowering through culture’ please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

If you have further comments on the ambition, ‘Empowering through culture’ please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
See previous I see no point in commenting on individual elements of this document since it is so fundamentally flawed.

Sustaining culture

9. What is your view of the ambition, ‘Sustaining culture’?

Please select one item
Support ambition
Ticked Don’t support ambition
Don’t know

Delivering A Culture Strategy for Scotland

12. Please provide details of any examples of good work and best practice, from Scotland or internationally, that you think could be included in the final strategy? We are interested in a range of different approaches.

Please provide details of any examples of good work and best practice, from Scotland or internationally, that you think could be included in the final strategy? We are interested in a range of different approaches.
Might this not best have been done as part of a sensibly thought through initial consultative process which might have dealt with the glaring flaws in what has now been produced?

13. What can you or your organisation do to support the vision, aims, ambitions and actions of the strategy?

What can you or your organisation do to support the vision, aims, ambitions
I run a private company. I am entirely comfortable with the ethos and values with which it is run and I would suggest they are far more empowering, holistic and genuinely fitted to culture than this document. I would posit if there was any interest in serious learning about culture then the Scottish government could learn from us and others like us rather than vice versa. Yet another issue with the document is the fact that it seems very largely focussed on state provision and much less with the private sector which provides (far more effectively) the cultural ethos this document claims to be about.

14. What do you think success for the strategy will look like?

What do you think success for the strategy will look like?
The spawning of further levels of meaningless bureaucratic intervention, committees and position papers. I have now been involved in four or five literature reviews and now this. Their impact has been precisely zero. And like this they have been designed to avoid real interaction with the very real problems and issues we face through simulating activity while avoiding purpose.

Monitoring the Impact of the Strategy

15. What is your view of the proposed approach to monitoring and evaluating the strategy set out in section 5?

Please select one item
Support approach
Ticked Don’t support approach
Don’t know

Other comments

17. Please use this section to provide any other comments that you wish to share about the strategy.

Please use this section to provide any other comments that you wish to share about the strategy.
I think my views are clear. If you wished a workable way forward then an intelligent strategy would define a limited number of achievable and measurable objectives by sector and apply them to existing cultural bodies in a transformative way with a measured end date for assessment. It would be very easy in the literature sector to come up with a series of simple wins within existing resources which would have a substantive effect. Many of these are self evident but they would involve challenge to existing ways of doing things. Hence they are evaded.

Impact Assessments

18. Do you think the partial Equality Impact Assessment has identified where the strategy might impact on people differently depending on characteristics such as age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender identity?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
Don't know

20. Do you think the partial Children’s Rights and Welfare Impact Assessment sets out how the proposals presented in the strategy might impact on the rights and welfare of children?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
Don't know

23. Do you think the partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment identifies how the proposals presented in the Strategy might impact on businesses, the third (voluntary) sector or have any regulatory impact?

Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No
Don't know

About you

What is your name?

Name
Hugh Andrew

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

Please select one item
(Required)
Ticked Individual
Organisation

What is your organisation?

Organisation
Since I am owner of Birlinn then de facto this operates as both a personal and organisational response