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The Future of Scotland’s Traditional Arts

The findings of the Traditional Arts Working Group were published this month, offering recommendations for the future of Scotland’s traditional arts.

Convened by musician David Francis, the group was set up in 2008 by then-Culture minister Linda Fabiani and was charged with identifying the key issues in the traditional arts today and outlining which parts of public life might best address those issues and take responsibility for them.

Beginning with a review of the current position and strength of the traditional arts, the report found that the “the arts of our traditions: local, linguistic, literate and oral, are presently in good heart”.

The report addresses a broad range of issues and avenues surrounding the traditional arts such as; the communication and understanding of the traditional arts; its current position in education, both formal and domestic; conservation and access; performance; and the current support and development opportunities that exist.

A broad list of recommendation have been proposed ranging from long term strategic visions to more immediate and high impact initiatives. Education features strongly in the report, a mentoring scheme and the inclusion of traditional arts in the curriculum for excellence just two of the exciting suggestions made. Presenting the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year award on Sunday, in Glasgow's City Halls, Ms Hyslop said:

"Traditional arts play a unique role in Scotland's culture, heritage, economy, education and community life. This report brings together many achievable ideas that could help to ensure the continuity of these unique skills and traditions through generations of Scots to come.

"The idea that key individuals might pass on their skills and expertise to a younger generation via some kind of mentoring scheme is particularly attractive. I have asked the Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland to look at how this might work in practice and to make recommendations.

"The report also recognises that traditional arts make a significant contribution to Scotland's economy; I have already asked for an assessment of that contribution to be carried out.

Lizzie Farey and Michael Connarty MP

By examining the question of specific kinds of support for the traditional arts, it is hoped by the group that specific outcomes will contribute to a confirmation of value among practitioners and supporters, and an increase in esteem throughout the public and the institutions of civic society in Scotland.

The report is currently being considered by the Minister and a formal response is expected over the summer.

For more information, or to read the full report, visit the Scottish Government website.

see also
* Traditional Arts Working Group's Report
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