Independence- Good for the arts?

Gary McNair, 28 July 2012

Present- Angie Bual, Davey Anderson, Jenna Watt, Orla O'loughlin, Debbie Hannah, Sara Harrison, Eve Nicol.

The reason I wanted to have a discussion around the idea of independence and it's impact on the Scottish Arts scene is that this discussion does not seem to be happening anywhere.

The feeling at large within this group is that there seems to be no strategy for the arts for an independent nation should we find ourselves in that reality in two years time. One of the group spoke of how they were horrified by a statement released by the SNP on their top 30 priorities for the future of Scotland which did not feature the arts at all.

There is a feeling that perhaps there would be an initial boost in “independence focused theatre” in and around the time of the referendum that would lose momentum after a while.

Potentially, there would be a boost in patriotic theatre if Scotland were to gain independence. Some said that this would be a good thing as a strong national identity in the arts may boost tourism. However, this was largely disputed and the majority felt that this kind of work may work toward depriving artists of their own individual voices which is one of the greatest things to be celebrated in our cultural landscape.

There was also a fear that becoming independent could cut our arts scene adrift from England. Perhaps it would stop Scotland from being such an appealing place to work and as a result we could lose out on the broad range of artists that chose to come and work in this country and narrowing our diversity.

It is feared that it may also be harder in general to be employed on either side of the border (Scottish people working in England and English people working in Scotland).

It was suggested that we take action to remind our government what we see as key points to consider for building an arts policy in an independent Scotland. (This list is in no way a complete guide. It should serve as a starting point for discussion. Please feel free to add to this list or discuss below)

We would like:

More international connection.
More touring opportunities to tour to england.
More arts led learning.
Better strategy for exposing people to a wider spectrum of art.
Allow people to maintain their individual independent voices as artists. Strong cultural hubs across the country, including highlands and islands.

Comments: 1

Michael Emans, 2 August 2012

I was at this discussion.I felt that there was an unfortunate negative attitude to independence. Independence could be great for Scotland.It does not mean that work would struggle to tour to Scotland or work from Scotland would not be able to tour abroad.
Independence would not necessarily lead to separatism or alienation. It may instead lead to a new found optimism and energy in Scotland and that would only be a good thing.

It may also encourage more Scottish people to show interest, passion and take part in the Arts. Lets be positive.