New ScotGov Culture Group

The Scottish Government has set up a new group to advise it delivering its cultural strategy which will also address the challenges facing the culture sector from Covid-19.

The National Partnership for Culture was rises out of feedback to the Culture Strategy for Scotland, published in February 2020.

Following the Covid pandemic, it will also take on the recommendations set out to the First Minister on Monday 23 June 2020 by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (see Culture Revival post-Covid).

Headshots Joanna Baker, David Greig, Robert Softley Gale, (pic Eoen Carey), Briana Pegado, David Stevenson and Alan McFarlane., members of the National Partnership for Culture

Joanna Baker, David Greig, Robert Softley Gale, (pic Eoen Carey),  Briana Pegado (pic Katharina Maria), David Stevenson and Alan McFarlane.

The 14 strong group is independent of government. It will be chaired by Joanna Baker and its while there is no mention on how its core membership and participation is chosen, they “aim to reflect Scotland’s diverse cultures and communities”.

Theatre-based participants include David Greig, the playwright and artistic director of the Lyceum, and Robert Softley Gale, the actor, disability rights activist and artistic director of Birds of Paradise Theatre.

Participants with an Edinburgh connection include Briana Pegado of Creative Edinburgh, David Stevenson of Queen Margaret University and Alan McFarlane of Dundas Global Investors.

Main objectives

According ScotGov, the main objectives of the Partnership will be to:

• consider and advise how to promote the culture sector’s recovery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst speaking out for the many ways culture can help to support society post-pandemic;

• provide advice and guidance on key strategic issues affecting culture in Scotland;

• champion A Culture Strategy for Scotland and make recommendations on delivering the Strategy’s vision, ambitions and aims; and

• establish a Measuring Change Group to advise the Partnership on appropriate measures, data and research for decision-making on culture matters.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Culture is central to who we are as a nation, and while the remit of the National Partnership for Culture goes beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, it will play an integral part in our recovery.

“The recent report from the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery emphasised the importance of culture in delivering the action Scotland needs to recover from the impact of Covid-19.”

Joanna Baker, who spent 26 years at the Edinburgh International Festival, including 12 as its managing director, said: “Scotland’s cultural sector has always punched well above its weight in its contribution to the health, wealth and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.”

She added: “I look forward to working alongside a group of very talented colleagues as we work to advise Government on promoting the recovery of the culture sector and the many ways in which culture can help to support society through the aftermath of the pandemic and into the future.”

Members of the National Partnership for Culture

Click on the name for further details (links open in a new page)
Joanna Baker, Chair (Former MD of the EIF)
David Stevenson, Queen Margaret University
David Greig, The Lyceum
Angiolina Foster, NHS 24
Nicola Killean, Sistema Scotland
Hope Dickson-Leach, writer and director
Alan McFarlane, Dundas Global Investors
Heather Stuart, Fife Culture Trust
Robert Softley Gale, actor and performer, writer, disability rights activist and artistic director
Matt Baker, The Stove Network
Agnes Rennie, Acair Books
Briana Pegado, Creative Edinburgh
Jeffrey Sharkey, Royal Conservatoire
Darren McGarvey, author, musician and social commentator


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