Fair pay promise from Creative Scotland

Arts strategy raises fears of dominance by wealthy entrants

Creative Scotland has admitted that low pay in the arts sector risks closing the profession to those from less wealthy backgrounds.

In its new arts strategy, the arts body has pledged to ensure that those working for its funded organisations are paid fairly. It also promises to explore ways of improving artists' pay and to make it easier to support “a diverse range of artists”.

Figures show that four out of five artists in Scotland earn less than £10,000 a year through their creative work, while two in three earn less than £5,000. Only 2% of artists earn £20,000 a year or more.

The strategy document reads: “It is those from wealthier backgrounds that are most likely to consider entering into the arts professionally today. This trend carries real risks if UK culture becomes homogenised and disconnected from the breadth of society and loses its edge and relevance within the world today.”

Creative Scotland also pledged to make boards or arts organisations more representative, claiming they were often drawn from “a small pool of people” and can be “homogenous and disengaged” with modern artists.

The strategy sets out a range of commitments including:


  • Raising the profile of the value of artistsamong people and communities in Scotland, and beyond.
  • Working with the arts sector to build resilience and sustainabilitythrough imaginative thinking for both artists and organisations.
  • Increasing participationin, and public engagement with, the arts in all its forms.
  • Continuing to increase the range and diversity of perspectives
  • Hosting and facilitating a series of debates across Scotland over the next two years


The Scottish government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo funding has been worth £17 million since it started eight years ago. Ministers say the showcase funding, designed to build Scotland’s creative reputation, has funded more than 100 shows and touring programmes.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said that this year’s fund, branded Made in Scotland, is worth £2 million and “demonstrates our commitment to culture.” 


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