Response 238690108

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A vision for culture in Scotland

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

Please select one item
Ticked Support the vision
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?
This is a vision that is easy to support: it is inclusive, recognises culture and creativity’s transformational and empowering potential and its value to society, communities and individuals. Importantly, it also acknowledges that there is no single definition of culture and that there are many cultures across Scotland.

Transforming through culture

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

Please select one item
Ticked Support ambition
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?
The Council welcomes this ambition. The Scottish Borders has unique cultural traditions that are expressed in world-renowned literature and storytelling, traditional music and song, custom and folklore. The history and heritage of the region is represented in a host of iconic buildings – castles, country houses and museums – as well as the region’s collections and archives. At the same time, Borderer’s identity is preserved and expressed in the distinctive character and civic celebrations of Borders towns (with The Rough Guide to the World's Best Festivals describing Common Ridings in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway as ‘One of Britain's best kept secrets’). Community initiated cultural activity - events, festivals, exhibitions and projects - all contribute to a sense of identity, which continues to resonate with the worldwide Borders Diaspora, especially in the famous and infamous surnames of Reiver families. This cultural context is very important in two respects. Firstly, the sense of identity and belonging pervasive in Borders culture is a critical prop in maintaining community cohesion and resilience. Secondly, this distinctive culture is a unique asset which should be built on in promoting the region economically. Though very recent figures are not available, according to a 2012 report by EKOS Limited, the creative sector in the Scottish Borders was estimated to be worth £21m GVA and to employ some 720 people, contributing not only economic benefit but also environmental and social benefit across the region. We believe that the Council should work with the Scottish Borders Arms’ Length External Organisation, Live Borders, and other partners, such as the proposed, South of Scotland Enterprise Agency in building further upon these significant foundations. What we envisage for the Scottish Borders has wider application across Scotland. While the intrinsic value of creativity and cultural tradition should not be overlooked, Scotland’s multi-faceted national culture and the local and regional cultures and the creativity on which it is built have a vital contribution to make to the ‘whole economy approach’ promoted in Scotland’s Economic Strategy. There are clear relationships between culture and strands of activity within the Economic Strategy’s Four Priorities such as Education, Skills, Digital, Natural Capital, International Connectivity, Global Outlook, Influence and Networks. The Cultural Strategy should contemplate how it relates to these areas of development and the totality of its contribution across the cultural, social and economic spheres.

5. Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
Aim 1: Place culture as a central consideration across all policy areas. Action 1: Develop a new cultural leadership post within Scottish Government, supported by strategic thinkers from across the culture sectors and beyond. The role will support creative and innovative thinking and highlight the benefits of a more connected and multi-disciplinary approach across all areas of government and its major stakeholders to consider the big societal issues faced in Scotland today and in the future. The Council agrees with the aim and supports the action to create a new cultural leadership post within the Scottish Government. However, further work needs to be done on the detail of how this post will operate both within Government and linking back to the various areas of culture so as to ensure the right people are having the right discussions at the right time. It is important that culture is infused into new policy and strategy initiatives at an early stage to maximise opportunities across the sectors and ensure culture is truly embedded. This aim would be strengthened by clear reference to tourism/ visitor attractions and their links to economic regeneration, and wellbeing. We also have one caveat: the focus of and language used in the strategy appears to favour the creative industries over other elements of culture. Care should be taken to ensure that the cultural leadership post is inclusive in its reach and straddles the cultural landscape equally. Aim 2: Open up the potential of culture as a transformative opportunity across society. Action 2: Develop a national partnership for culture that includes working with academic partners to develop new approaches to measuring an extended view of culture and better articulate the benefits of culture to society. The Council agrees with the aim and supports the action of a national partnership which develops measures that illustrate the real and added value that culture brings. We welcome the development of a National Performance Framework outcome for Culture. Aim 3: Position culture as central to progress in health and wellbeing, economy, education, reducing inequality and realising a greener and more innovative future. Action 3: Develop alliances that support social change through culture and promote leadership and joined-up working across the culture sector, other sectors, local and national government and communities. The Council strongly supports this aim. Individual and societal wellbeing and sustainable development should be the strategy’s foundation stones. The strategy should provide encouragement and opportunities for local and national government to adopt a more inclusive and timely approach to engaging with cultural heritage across the wider agendas including economic regeneration, education, equalities and health and wellbeing. Priority areas should be ones that deliver more than simply cultural outputs. Cultural activities should be prioritised in a way that recognises economic development benefits: for example, higher footfall and spend in local retail establishments, meets equality goals such as involving children/minority groups in activities in which they would not typically engage and cultural activities which have health benefits, including mental health. As mentioned above, more can be made of the role of the heritage sector as a driving force in shaping peoples’ understanding of national identity as well as being a determining factor in many peoples’ reasons for visiting Scotland as a tourist destination. Cultural institutions, such as libraries, have a continuing role in supporting education, learning, inclusion, wellbeing and active citizenship. The Strategy would be strengthened by examples of how culture is already being used to support this aim.

Empowering through culture

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

Please select one item
Ticked Support ambition
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?
While supporting the ambition the Council cautions that the wording of the Strategy doesn’t give the impression that there are “gatekeepers” to culture who have it in their gift to open up and extend access to culture to those who are “excluded”. The strategy needs to avoid any suggestion that empowering is genuinely about real engagement with communities rather than just telling them. We need to remember rural, local and volunteer run organisations; we need to encourage involvement across all of Scotland; and we need to recognise the importance of the institutional cultural network, the organisations which support cultural activity in these institutions, and the challenge of maintaining (and building on) this network given the fiscal and other challenges faced by the public, private and voluntary sectors.

8. Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
Aim 1: Extend the view of culture to include the everyday and emerging, the established and more formal. Action 1: Promote an inclusive and extended view of culture which recognises and celebrates the value and importance of emerging, everyday and grassroots culture and creativity. The Council is supportive of the ambition and of the above aim and action, though it needs to be recognised that the cultural institutions within communities, from the local museum to the local community hall, provide a vital network for cultural activity and in supporting inclusion, as well as generating cultural outputs with which communities can engage, build on and recycle. Aim 2: Develop opportunities for people to take part in culture throughout their lives. Action 2: Develop an approach that supports long-term partnerships between cultural and creative organisations, businesses and organisations in Scotland’s most deprived communities, including schools, care homes and organisations working towards achieving social justice. The Council supports the aim and action. All sectors of culture have a positive role to play. Aim 3: Recognise each community’s own local culture in generating a distinct sense of place, identity and confidence. Action 3: Explore ways in which people can have a greater say in shaping the cultural life of their communities including participatory models of decision-making and community ownership. The Council is supportive of the aim and action. The strategy needs to convince people that empowering is genuinely about real engagement with communities rather than just telling them.

Sustaining culture

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

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

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

If you have further comments on the ambition, ‘Sustaining culture’ please provide them below. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
Noting increasing competition for limited, and often reducing, resources, and significant cross-sectoral economic and political challenges, sustainability is a huge challenge. With specific reference to the UK’s exit from the European Union, the general view of the sector appears to be that it is likely to have a notably negative impact when developing and supporting culture in a post Brexit future, especially under a no-deal scenario. Brexit is expected to negatively affect funding opportunities and to introduce restrictions on the movement of people, as well as potentially dampening spend on cultural activity should the economy be negatively impacted. (See for example - https://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/08082018-no-deal-brexit-vast-consequences-cultural-economy#.W4cHc-McH98.email ) Acknowledging that the strategy is designed to be highly inclusive and to support a very wide spectrum of cultural providers and creative enterprise, some care will be need to be taken to ensure that limited funding is not spread so thinly as to undermine the strategy’s basic aims.

11. Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?

Please provide comments on the aims and actions under this ambition. What do you like, or dislike, or what would you change?
Aim 1: Develop the conditions and skills for culture to thrive, so it is cared for, protected and produced for the enjoyment of all present and future generations. Action 1: Explore new funding models to support the culture sector and to develop the creative economy that includes new partnerships and examine the potential of Scottish Government powers such as, Scottish National Investment Bank, devolved tax and legislative powers that will generate a collective responsibility to supporting culture in the long term. The Council very much welcomes the following:- • the inclusion of the phrase “… and future generations” which recognises our responsibility to care for our cultural heritage. • the sensitivity shown to resilience/ sustainability support; ensuring that organisations understand their purpose, that their governance arrangements are appropriate and that they have an achievable plan. • the statement that “Public funding for culture will continue to have an important part to play in supporting the future of culture in Scotland.” • the exploration of new funding models mentioned in the document. • the recent decision of the Scottish Government not to change rates remission arrangements which, had the current exemptions been removed or reduced, would have had serious implication for charitable cultural organisations, particularly the partnerships and arms-length arrangements between local authorities and trusts which have developed in recent years. The draft Strategy document would benefit from a more candid acknowledgment of the existing funding landscape. While capital funding continues to be available, there is a real issue in revenue funding institutions and there should be explicit reference to this. Action 2: Develop programmes to support skills development, leadership and innovation to prepare for the future including digital. Aim 2: Value, trust and support creative people – for their unique and vital contribution to society and the economy. The Council welcomes the action but notes it requires resourcing. Skills development in some areas, e.g. within the museums sector, is strong but this is not acknowledged in the strategy. Existing programmes, networks, apprenticeships, co-ordinated by MGS, the MA and others could be highlighted as good practice. Action 3: Support the freelance cultural workforce and nurture skills, talent and excellence by exploring ways to improve their economic and social status and adopt a broad and long-term approach to supporting skills development from early years onwards. Aim 3: Encourage greater openness and diverse cultures to reflect a changing Scotland in the 21stcentury. The Council welcomes the action and aim, but suggests care is needed to guard against neglect of some areas because of predominant focus on the creative industries. The approach must be inclusive. Action 4: Increase inclusive opportunities to broaden the backgrounds of those working and volunteering in the culture sectors. The Council is supportive. There is a need to increase diversity in the sector but progress will demand substantive action and funding if the issues highlighted in the document are to be overcome. Action 5: Develop a longer-term and more strategic approach to supporting international ambitions and partnerships across the breadth of the culture sector. The Council is fully supportive of this action. The potential negative impacts of Brexit should be noted.

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.
There are positive examples of effective partnerships with communities at a local level on the Scottish Borders. • The Cultural Strategy for the Scottish Borders (2014) led to the establishment of a Cultural Forum which meets regularly and brings together practioners, makers and administrators. • Live Borders Museum Services’ annual programme of exhibitions regularly contains examples of exhibitions curated with local community involvement. • CABN (Creative Arts Business Network). Established to develop the professional creative sector in the Scottish Borders through a diverse programme of support, and to seek to strengthen the sector by working towards longer term strategic goals. https://www.cabn.info/ • Borders LIVE Touring - a rural touring scheme working with mainly volunteer promoters, community based halls and venues bringing high quality, live, professional performances to Scottish Borders communities. Rural communities can access local and national professional companies producing diverse, creative, accessible and thought provoking theatre, dance, children’s, music performances and workshops. https://www.liveborders.org.uk/borderslivetouring Code Clubs in Public Libraries In early 2017 The Scottish Library and Information Council coordinated a programme of training for public library staff to deliver coding sessions to young people. Today, nearly all of Scotland’s public library services run Code Clubs aimed at children ages between nine and 11. Coding skills e and increasingly being sought after. Many of today’s jobs require some degree of coding and demand for these skills will only increase as technology becomes more entrenched in society. The Code Club Project aims to expose young people to coding skills, which are now a core component of computing science, in a way that is fun and engaging. By having a games-based focus and collaborative feel, the clubs enable children to develop confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills. The ultimate aim is to make Code Clubs a standard part of the public library offer in Scotland. This links directly with the strategic aims of Ambition & Opportunity, Scotland’s strategy for public libraries, which highlights the role of libraries in delivering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities to support digital inclusion and economic wellbeing. https://scottishlibraries.org/projects/code-clubs/ The Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival is an excellent example of a sustainable and vibrant international festival which started, and is still based and delivered, in Hawick, away from the central belt. https://alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk/2017/about-the-festival/

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
Working with its arms' length external sport and culture trust, Live Borders, the Council has a strategic and regional leadership role , as well as client and funder role in relation to Live Borders, which gives it a critical locus in the shaping and delivery of a culture strategy and associated actions. Moreover, the Council has a vital role as the Education Authority in providing school and community education throughout the region, and as a support for the cultural network referred to earlier, whether village halls, local common ridings and festivals or promotion and support of local cultural assets e.g. Abbotsford House.

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

What do you think success for the strategy will look like?
An action plan with clearly articulated outcomes will need to be developed alongside the strategy. The strategy needs to create a climate where the intrinsic value of culture to support and enrich individuals and communities is more widely recognised and these beneficial outcomes are better celebrated and supported. The cultural infrastructure is seen to be both relevant and have a sustainable future.

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
Ticked Support approach
Don’t support approach
Don’t know

16. If you have further comments on the proposed monitoring and evaluation approach, please provide them below.

If you have further comments on the proposed monitoring and evaluation approach, please provide them below.
The Council welcomes the statement in the draft strategy that, “The emphasis will be on extracting learning from what works well in the implementation of the strategy commitments. The approach will avoid reducing impact evaluation to simplistic target and output indicators.” It should also ensure better reporting of case studies and outcomes. The Council also welcomes that, “The work will be aligned with the new national outcome for culture, and indicators on the refreshed National Performance Framework. The work will be done collaboratively with key partners across the sector, and will draw on evidence from a wide range of sources.”

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.
There should be careful consideration and use of language to ensure reference too culture is not limited to the perspective of the creative careers and sectors. The language is very performance arts, television production oriented – that is to say, focused on those cultural activities embodied within Creative Scotland. Scotland’s cultural sector should be fully reflected in the Strategy with equal weighting and prominence given to all areas of cultural life. There is a very limited textual reference to the museum and library sectors and most mentions are of venues rather than cultural spaces and institutions. This omission is mirrored in the lack of a visual image of a museum or library in the document. The importance of museums and libraries should be acknowledged, together with their central role and contribution in shaping and supporting the delivery of the Strategy and the vital role they play as cultural hubs within local communities. More should be made of research and heritage collections specifically – as catalysts for cultural activities and connection making.

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
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know

19. If you have further comments on the Equality Impact Assessment, please provide them below. For example, what would you add or change?

If you have further comments on the Equality Impact Assessment, please provide them below. For example, what would you add or change?
The partial Equality Impact Assessment has covered the main characteristics and has identified barriers to access and involvement in culture. The Draft Strategy notes that if successful it should positively impact on members of society who do not/cannot currently engage with culture and sets out a number of high level actions to improve both engagement and diversity in culture. This is consistent with the objectives embodied in Equalities legislation and in the Fairer Scotland Duty.

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
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know

21. If you have further comments on the Children’s Rights and Welfare Impact Assessment, please provide them below. For example, what would you add or change?

If you have further comments on the Children’s Rights and Welfare Impact Assessment, please provide them below. For example, what would you add or change?
The CRWIA references how culture can contribute positively to the growth and development of children from early years onwards including supporting the health and wellbeing of children, promoting social skills, increasing confidence and helping children to have difficult conversations. It also covers attainment; apprenticeship and skills; child poverty; and developing the young workforce as well as community justice and refugee integration. In the view of the Council, this is comprehensive and appropriate.

22. How do you think this strategy might impact upon people on low incomes, people living in deprived areas, people in material deprivation, people with no / or low wealth and people from different socio-economic backgrounds? Please provide comments below.

How do you think this strategy might impact upon people on low incomes, people living in deprived areas, people in material deprivation, people with no / or low wealth and people from different socio-economic backgrounds? Please provide comments below.
The strategy must be meaningful for these groups and needs to develop actions that will overcome barriers to engagement.

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
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know

24. If you have further comments on the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, please provide them below. For example, what would you add or change?

If you have further comments on the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, please provide them below. For example, what would you add or change?
The partial BRIA covers impact. It notes that a funding model “fit for purpose in the 21st century” is required. While the cost of doing nothing is initially identified as neutral in the short term, doing nothing will not address the underlying problems identified in the draft strategy. The BRIA does not provide any detail regarding costs associated with the strategy but it does note that “as the strategy is developed associated costs will be carefully considered”. This will be crucial to successful delivery, as will the proposals still to be developed to ensure sustainability.

About you

What is your name?

Name
Michael Cook

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

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Individual
Ticked Organisation

What is your organisation?

Organisation
Scottish Borders Council