Creative industries include screen, music, digital tech, design and computer games – some of the most dynamic and vibrant sectors of our modern economy

Key points:

  • Scotland’s creative industries are estimated to support around £9 billion of activity within the wider Scottish economy, contributing £5.5 billion to Scotland’s GDP
  • The creative industries is the second fastest growing growth sector in Scotland after the energy sector - GVA in the sector increased by 11% between 2016 and 2017
  • Total exports from the sector stood at £3.7 billion in 2017, accounting for 4.6% of Scotland’s total exports. Exports from the sector were up 28.8% from their 2016 level
  • The creative sector promotes experimentation and idea generation, it helps drive innovation and transformation, and contributes to Scotland’s international reputation

Creative industries play a key role in the introduction of new products, new processes and services, and new ways of telling stories. They innovate in form, material, and design, maximising the benefits for industry, the environment and wider society. They can also innovate in new and varied business models and new ways of working, leading the way in adapting to societal changes.

The Scottish Government has significantly increased funding for screen production, development and growth since 2017-18 and has supported the establishment of Screen Scotland, the dedicated partnership focused on growing our TV and film industry. New increased funds to support film and television production have been rolled out with a larger Production Growth Fund to attract inward investment and a new television Broadcast Content Fund for television. The Production Growth Fund has already generated significant economic benefits - the first £3.7m allocated resulting in an estimated £60m spend in the Scottish economy.

In October 2019 we published a Policy Statement for the Creative Industries. This statement provides clarity and focus around our and our partners’ work for the sector. Developed with input from the Creative Industries Advisory Group (CIAG), it sets out our vision for the sector and highlights a number of priorities:

  • Developing and retaining skills
    We will support and develop creative education and work-based learning to ensure everyone is able to develop their creative potential. This involves equipping with the right skills those who are motivated to realise their aspiration to have a career in the creative industries. We also need to acknowledge the importance of attracting and retaining international talent, including considering measures to mitigate the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, and keep Scotland at the cutting edge of innovation.

  • Developing business support
    Working with industry, creative practitioners and our partners, we will work to find ways that the sector can effectively engage with the enterprise support system and find the support that meets their needs. We will also work to create the right conditions for peer-to-peer support, partnerships, and creative networks which often build on local culture, history and local distinctiveness to help develop place identity and purpose.

  • Promoting international profile
    Working with Scottish Development International (SDI) and the wider business support system, we will aim to ensure export, trade and investment advice and support is accessible and relevant to all scales and types of creative businesses. Access to international industries allows collaboration and co-production, keeps creative businesses engaged with international trends and consumer patterns and allows businesses to benchmark their own skills and products.

  • Promoting innovation
    Research suggests that the creative industries tend to be more entrepreneurial and more innovative than the wider economy.4 We will work to strengthen links and collaborations between academia and industry, and to support clusters of innovative businesses, for example through the Civtech model, Interface and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) creative clusters and in industry-led partnerships. Creative industries have a valuable role to play in innovating for the wider economy across many sectors. We will work to ensure productive connections across sectors, with creative industries adding value in terms of creativity, artistic and economic value, agility and innovation.

  • Encouraging inclusiveness
    Working with our partners, universities and colleges, cultural and indigenous language organisations, broadcasters, and the advertising industry we aim to increase equality, inclusion and diversity across the creative industries and ensure the sector is a driver for social change. We want to increase opportunities to broaden the backgrounds of those working in the sector and ensure talent is nurtured from a diverse range of perspectives. This includes ensuring that diversity outcomes are central to and embedded within activity, promoting more visible role models and promoting greater diversity among employees, senior teams and on boards.

  • Strengthening importance of place
    Creative businesses are often embedded in a network in a particular area and thrive as a result of the connections, collaborations and sharing of resources. Creative businesses often draw on distinct place-based identities in the products or services they provide, making the most of local culture, history and local distinctiveness. We will encourage the development and strengthening of creative clusters, local collaborations, social enterprise and cross-sectorial networks and eco-systems. We support place building through City Region and Regional Growth Deals and Creative Scotland’s Place Partnerships.

  • Focus on design
    Design is key to problem solving – to understand the world and how to innovate and change it for the better. Given the importance of design for the creative industries, the wider economy and for society as a whole, design and design thinking should be at the heart of policy making, policy delivery, and the wider economic agenda. We will promote the value of design, the use of design thinking, and help build design capability across sectors. This is about promoting the use of good design in wider industry and the public sector and increasing awareness and demand in support of the creative sector.

  • Strengthening screen
    With our dedicated screen unit, Screen Scotland, we will support film and TV-makers and screen companies in Scotland to develop and grow, to own more of their IP, create and fulfil more of their own projects and build better networks so they can greatly increase sales nationally and internationally, reaching audiences worldwide.

The Scottish Government recognises that culture is central to the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland – cultural, social, economic and environmental.

The culture sector in Scotland comprises a growing, highly flexible and expert workforce, with a large self-employed contingent working alongside sole traders, small to medium enterprises, charitable organisations and those leading and employed by publicly-funded organisations. Creative businesses, artists and creative practitioners make an important contribution economically, socially and culturally to Scotland.

The forthcoming culture strategy for Scotland follows a period of engagement and consultation – our national culture conversation. It sets out a vision for culture in Scotland underpinned by aims, ambitions and actions which set out how we can realise its transformational power for the people of Scotland.

Key resources:

Creative Scotland

V&A Dundee

Edinburgh Festival City

Scottish Government: Creative talent and engagement

Creative Scotland: Screen Funding

Screen Scotland: Broadcast Content Fund