A coalition of organisations working in culture and heritage have published a joint manifesto outlining how the sectors can be supported to “sustain and enhance vibrant communities” across Scotland.

Published ahead of May’s local elections, the manifesto outlines how councils could benefit from improved economic development, health and wellbeing, and education through further support for cultural recovery.

‘Culture and Heritage: A Manifesto for Local Government’ has been produced by Built Environment Forum Scotland, Creative Edinburgh, Creative Lives, Go Industrial, Museums Association, Museums Galleries Scotland, Regional Screen Scotland, Scottish Contemporary Art Network, Scottish Council on Archives, and West of Scotland Regional Equality Council.

The manifesto is broken down into four points: to protect and champion existing cultural infrastructure; develop fully resourced culture and heritage strategies; build greater links between school education and cultural assets, including museums and heritage sites, and use culture and heritage to engage the public around climate change. The full manifesto can be read here.

Ideas raised in the manifesto include the repurposing of empty commercial properties into cultural spaces and the development of cultural projects, with the aim of tackling gaps in schools education.

The coalition of organisations has also encouraged local authorities to engage with the Scottish Government’s open competition for new National Towns of Culture, and to consider investment in marketing and engagement activities to reach new audiences following the downturn in international travel.

Moira Jeffrey, Director of the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, said culture and heritage make a significant contribution to Scottish society.

“Our manifesto proposes a range of ideas, from building greater links with schools and healthcare, to engaging the public on climate change, that can ensure culture and heritage remain at the heart of our communities,” Jeffrey said.

Sharon Heal, Director of the Museums Association, said local government has “an important part to play in the delivery of our cultural offer, both as the custodian of many cultural assets and in supporting the wider sector.

“May’s elections will be an opportunity for all political parties to outline their vision for culture and heritage, and we hope that they do so with ambition, imagination and investment.”

Art Fund – News
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