Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has outlined the way in which culture and the creative arts can stimulate the economy at home whilst raising the profile abroad.
Mr Gibson's motion on the importance of the creative industries passed unanimously at the SNP's Conference on Sunday.
In his speech Mr Gibson extolled the benefits which the creative arts had brought to the economy throughout the nation...
"The creative industries employ 100,000 people and generate £5 billion annual turn over or 4% of Scottish GDP today. Music alone brings £6 million into the Shetland economy and Iain Hamilton of Highlands and Islands Labels confirmed recently that there are around 800 people working in this sector in the Highlands and it is worth £24 million a year to the area's economy."
He said that meant (according to statistics from Scottish Enterprise):
"Outwith London and the South East, nowhere else in the UK has a greater share of creative industries employment, and it’s going to get larger. Over the next three years the sector is expected to grow at 10% per annum in Scotland..."
He also said that cross cultural experiences can make a huge impact in the world as the play Black Watch had already done on three continents.
"Scotland is easily recognised and I have found that many countries want our cultural output. In turn we should be inviting as many nations as possible to come perform here."
"One example is the Basque sport and music group Nazioen Mundua - World of Nations which performed so successfully in Inverness last month that is now making twinning links with the local Highland Games."
Mr. Gibson said that Scottish artists were some of the best ambassadors that the country had and that their talents portrayed the nation in a positive light. He said that that the 2009 Year of Homecoming offered a great chance for people to come here and enjoy the real Scotland.
copy of motion put to (and passed by) conference:
11 CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
Conference welcomes the growing evidence that Scotland's creative industries are becoming a core economic sector in 21st century Scotland.
We note that Scottish performers and artists receive a very warm welcome in many countries across the world - they are truly cultural diplomats winning new and future partners in business vital to Scotland's continued prosperity.
Conference urges the Scottish Government to extend the scope of its Expo fund to promote Scottish-based productions premiered in the Edinburgh festivals to include comparable acts premiered at Celtic Connections.
Conference also recognises the unique contribution and vibrancy of our contemporary traditional arts, and calls on the proposed new body, Creative Scotland, to make an enhanced commitment to fund the development of this sector. This would present the perfect opportunity to encourage pride in a strong, fair and inclusive national identity.
Proposed by Rob Gibson MSP
Seconded by Pete Wishart MP