Museums encouraged to respond to Scottish Government's draft Culture Strategy for Scotland
Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) is considering the Scottish Government’s draft Culture Strategy for Scotland (published 27 June) and we will be responding to ensure Scotland’s museums and cultural heritage feature more prominently in the final version.
MGS feels the consultation document does not sufficiently reflect the role of Scotland’s museums sector and the breadth of its contribution to wider public policy outcomes, such as health and education.
We strongly encourage museums to respond individually to the consultation. Below we have outlined some of the points raised by our Stakeholder Group to the Scottish Government’s initial consultation on the strategy last year. You may wish to incorporate some of these perspectives in your response.
Our aim is to deliver a clear and consistent message to the Scottish Government about acknowledging the full role that Scotland’s museums sector plays in Scotland’s cultural landscape.
The consultation on the draft Culture Strategy can be found on the Scottish Government's website and is open until 19 September 2018.
Points raised at initial consultation stage:
- The Strategy should encourage local and national government to adopt a more inclusive approach to engaging cultural heritage across wider agendas such as health and education. Early, proactive engagement with the Scottish museums sector in this way would ensure our sector is embedded within other relevant Government strategies and incorporated into the planning for the delivery of public policy outcomes.
- There should be careful consideration and use of language to ensure reference to culture is not limited only to the perspective of “creative” careers and sectors. Scotland’s cultural sector should be reflected in the emerging Strategy, with equal weighting and prominence given to all areas of cultural life.
- The museums sector needs to be better understood as a central pillar that will ultimately help to realise the ambitions of the Scottish Government’s emerging Cultural Strategy.
- Scotland’s museums are anchored in their (changing) communities and provide a trusted space from which different groups can explore their own heritage and consider how this could be curated, conserved and safeguarded.
- Museums have an invaluable role for a range of audiences to explore, grow and develop their own sense of identity, self and culture.
- Where specific sectors and careers are specified, it is critical that roles which are of fundamental importance to the museums sector (such as curatorial staff) are not unintentionally minimised due to their omission from the Strategy. As the Strategy aims to be broadly inclusive in its scope, there is a risk that identifying key roles and functions of some sectors and not in others (for example, museums’ collections) could diminish their perceived value or relative importance at the point of implementation of the Strategy.
- We would encourage the Scottish Government not to underestimate the importance of inclusive visual design within the finished document. It is telling that, in the light of the limited reference to the museum sector in the text of the proposed Strategy, that there is no single image of a museum in the draft document. Our cultural heritage can be a driving force in shaping people’s understanding of national identity, as well as a determining factor in many people’s reasons for visiting Scotland as a tourist destination.
- Reflecting the importance of our local and national museums in the document would acknowledge the central role of the Scottish museums sector in both shaping and supporting the delivery of the Culture Strategy.