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Culture Counts

Culture Counts is a group of umbrella associations and organisations from across the arts, screen, heritage and creative industries in Scotland. The group formed in 2011 to advocate for the value and importance of culture to life in Scotland. The Scottish Council on Archives is a core member.

As campaigning gets underway for the 2016 Parliamentary elections, familiar party political arguments seem to dominate the headlines. Sadly, what is often missing from political debate is the fundamental issue of culture and the voices of the millions of people who enjoy and participate in cultural activities every day.  Culture Counts, the campaign to promote the value of culture in Scotland, is working to make sure these voices are heard.

Culture is fundamental to our quality of life, supporting learning, health and wellbeing, as well as being a powerful enabler to community engagement and the regeneration of places. Investment in culture contributes to economic growth, as well as social value in our communities, building the skills and confidence of a skilled and imaginative population and framing our national and individual identity. Despite the fundamental impact of culture, it can be seen as a lesser political issue. Did you know for example, that culture is currently not mentioned in the Outcomes of the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework? This means that culture does not appear in the top level of Scotland’s political conversation. Culture Counts engages directly with politicians and decision-makers to ensure that the full value of culture is understood and can be properly represented in our political framework.  Culture Counts has three asks for the Government

  1. a statement of principles that supports culture across all policy areas of Scottish Government
  2. a specific outcome and improved indicators for culture within the National Performance Framework
  3. the development of core investment for culture at local and national level, to further realise the value and impact of culture

By embedding culture into the political framework, cultural activities will be enhanced at a local and national level, ensuring that the powerful and positive impacts that culture provides are delivered to every person in Scotland.

During these elections, Culture Counts will be ensuring culture is on the agenda by holding a high profile Culture Hustings, in front of a live audience, to quiz spokespeople from different parties about their election pledges and vision for the future of culture in Scotland.  There’s also an election toolkit to help you contact your local candidates and ask about their culture policies - by making culture an issue for today’s candidates, we can shape tomorrow’s Parliament. You can find information on all these elections activities and how you can get involved at

Culture Counts is not just for elections though. The campaign will be active throughout the Parliament, meeting the next crop of MSPs and Cabinet Ministers to keep spreading the word about why culture is important to Scotland.  Culture Counts will also continue to publish resources, evidence and research, so the debate about the value of culture reaches out more widely and the number of advocates across Scotland continues to grow.

If you want to support the campaign, you can do so by following @culturecounts on Twitter and signing up to the mailing list. You can also lend your voice by using the Culture Counts resources to become an advocate for culture and tell our politicians why it matters to you