Committee Urges Government Action to Strengthen Culture in Communities

A Holyrood Committee has published a new report highlighting the challenges in supporting culture to thrive within communities across Scotland.

Landscape image of Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on sunny day

The report from the Parliament’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee found that while progress has been made in implementing a place-based approach to culture, there are still “several significant challenges” facing local and national government that need to be addressed to “realise the ambitions” of the Scottish Government’s culture strategy.

The Committee concluded that the “cross-cutting” nature of the challenges facing Scotland’s culture sector requires “a whole-system approach” across different levels of government.

During the inquiry the Committee gathered evidence on best practice and barriers to cultural participation within different communities across Scotland, with visits to Wester Hailes and Craigmillar in Edinburgh, Dumfries, and Orkney.

Members also heard from a wide range of stakeholders, many of which agreed on the importance of cultural work being grounded in local communities, as outlined in the Scottish Government’s culture strategy.

The report’s findings outline the need for “much greater prioritisation in practice “being placed on community-led culture, which it says should be “at the heart” of the sector.

It also suggests the potential of existing community empowerment mechanisms, which could be used to improve place-based cultural delivery at the local level.

The Committee also noted that the funding of community-based cultural organisations and projects, local government cultural services, and of publicly owned community spaces where cultural activity can take place have all been put under pressure.