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“Time to Shine” Youth Arts Strategy

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 14th May 2014.

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Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

No, I cannot, but I am more than happy with the “Gay Gordons”, “Strip the Willow” or a Shetland reel. Given my dancing capabilities, that is more than enough to get me by.

Liz Smith mentioned the Turner prize nominee list, which is an important reflection of the quality of teaching that takes place at the GCA in particular. We wish all the nominees well; I was pleased that we supported Duncan Campbell at the Venice biennale, where I saw his work last year. Liz Smith is also right to consider the role of families in encouraging participation in the arts.

Jayne Baxter mentioned “The Happy Lands” film, and emphasised the importance of providing a point of access to the arts for communities. Willie Coffey was right to say that the digital expression and creativity that we now see among young people is quite incredible. It will take the youth arts strategy into different areas. People internationally are very impressed with the work that has been carried out so far.

We want the “Time to Shine” strategy to develop. It is about creating opportunities and nurturing the fantastic talents that we have throughout Scotland. We need to involve people early and ensure that young people drive the policy; that is important.

Inclusion is a key aspect of our policy, and young people’s voices must be found, nurtured and given support. However, we need to strike a balance between nurture and guidance and offering young people the space to allow them the independence and freedom to express their views, to which we need to listen with respect. That is a challenge. The “Time to Shine” strategy attempts to engender a sense of inclusiveness and responsibility. A theme that has come through in every single contribution to the debate is the idea that arts and culture can have a very beneficial effect on a young person’s sense of belonging, place and community.

With regard to the issues around piping, the YMI has been used effectively in many ways. With regard to the youth brass band movement, there were six youth brass bands in the whole of Scotland in 2007, and now there are almost 200. That growth, which the YMI has supported, is quite incredible. It tells us that we are creating a demand that we must meet through providing support later on.

Arts and culture are fundamental to our quality of life, and everyone needs to benefit from them. The Government has worked hard—as I have personally—to defend youth arts and culture budgets. The arts are a response to individuality and to our nature. They help to shape our identity, and they transcend deep and stubborn differences and divisions. The arts have a wondrous universality and an enormous potential to unify. They can speak many languages across many cultures, and they do not discriminate.

The debate has been very good, and I will ask the team who are involved in the “Time to Shine” strategy to progress all the demands, including the invitation to do more work with our colleges and universities. I will reflect on the idea of new festivals, and I commend in particular the idea of a youth arts festival.

I began with a quotation from Albert Camus; I will end with a quotation from another Albert. We must bear in mind the words of Albert Einstein, who said:

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

I thank members for their contributions to the debate. The health of youth arts is strong in Scotland, and I believe that with the support of all members and the various agencies, we can be an international leader in youth arts. I thank Creative Scotland and all the agencies that are involved. I thank members for their support for the motion, and we are happy to accept the Labour amendment.