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EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation

Last update: 25 January 2021
On this page
  1. Reducing obstacles to young people's access to culture
  2. Disseminating information on cultural opportunities
  3. Knowledge of cultural heritage amongst young people


Reducing obstacles to young people's access to culture

A number of publicly funded programmes and projects, outlined below, aim to counter obstacles to young people's access to culture.

Addressing financial and geographical obstacles:

  • CashBack for Creativity, a Government initiative which  aims to tackle inequalities in the arts by increasing provision for Scotland's most disadvantaged young people; programmes funded by the initiative must be free to the young people taking part.
  • the Youth Music Initiative, a Government Initiative administered by Creative Scotland, aims to create access to free, high quality music making opportunities for young people, both through formal and informal contexts.
  • Sistema Scotland, which is funded by a range of public and private organisations, is a free immersive orchestra programme aimed at increasing the confidence, aspiration and teamwork of children and young people in some of the most deprived communities of Scotland.

Addressing accessibility obstacles:

  • the Create programme from Project Ability, which receives some of its funding from the Cashback for Creativity fund (see above), engages with children and young people with disabilities, aged five to 28, in a wide range of creative activities.
  • Solar Bear, which receives funding from Creative Scotland, provides individuals from the deaf community with opportunities to make and view theatre performances (note that their work is not specific to young people).
  • Indepen-dance, which also receives funding from Creative Scotland, is an inclusive dance company for individuals with disabilities.
  • Drake Music Scotland, which is a registered charity, works in special and mainstream schools delivering a range of projects aimed at supporting learners to participate in creative music making; note that the organisation also works with adults with disabilities.


The National Youth Arts Advisory Group (NYAAG) was launched in 2017 to work with local arts sectors to improve networks between young artists and further engage with local youth arts communities, allowing the sharing of expertise and creating a dialogue between the national youth arts sector, local youth arts providers and children and young people participating in the arts. NYAAG published a report in February 2019 to examine how young people can shape their creative future, with a set of recommendations to reduce young people’s obstacles to culture. 

Disseminating information on cultural opportunities

Initiatives aimed at informing young people of opportunities to access cultural environments include:


Knowledge of cultural heritage amongst young people

Programmes and initiatives aimed at supporting young people's discovery and appreciation of the cultural and artistic heritage of Scotland include the following:

  • Fèisean nan Gàidheal, a membership organisation which funds the development of community-based Gaelic arts festivals for young people; it is funded by Creative Scotland.
  • the Young Traditional Musician Award by BBC Radio Scotland and Hands up for Trad, which encourages young musicians to maximise their music potential through the pursuit of a career in traditional music.
  • the Junior Fèis programme from Fèis Rois, which organises a five-day residential event for young people to take part in dancing, drama and arts activities, alongside Gaelic language lessons; Fèis Rois also organises regular tuition festivals for young people and adults celebrating Gaelic music and song.
  • Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, which encourages collaboration across the three art forms of Scottish storytelling, music and dance and supports and promotes traditional arts activities (note that it is not specific to young people).
  • students in secondary school may choose to study the Scottish Studies Award, which introduces them to the heritage, culture and natural environment of Scotland.