Award-winning Scots singer Iona Fyfe warns SNP not to 'lose sight' of value of Scottish culture

Musician calls for ‘fair and equal treatment’ for the arts

An award-winning Scots singer who led a pro-independence parade down the Royal Mile has warned the SNP not to "lose sight" of the importance of artists and culture to Scotland’s identity in the wake of the sector being targeted for government cuts.

Iona Fyfe, a prominent campaigner for more support for the Scots language, has called for "fair and equal treatment" for the arts weeks after a 10 per cent funding cut for Creative Scotland was reinstated.

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Fyfe, the first singer to be named musician of the year at the Scots Trad Music Awards, suggested a healthy culture sector was “paramount” to Scotland's aspirations to be a "wellbeing economy."

Scots singer Iona Fyfe. Picture: Elly LucasScots singer Iona Fyfe. Picture: Elly Lucas
Scots singer Iona Fyfe. Picture: Elly Lucas

Speaking at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Fyfe, who campaigns with the Musicians' Union, said Scotland's artists were "ambassadors of our nation's traditions and languages".

The Aberdeenshire singer said work they created was the "perfect advertisement of the many ways Scotland wishes to position itself in the world."

Fyfe told the SNP conference: “In an Independent Scotland, arts and culture must continue to be front and centre in conveying our sense of cultural identity on the global stage.

“From Karine Polwart’s songs of ecology of climate change, to songs written about Kenmure Street, to the poetry of Makar Kathleen Jamie, our artists are continually documenting and raising awareness of the injustices faced in the world.

Iona Fyfe. Picture: Elly LucasIona Fyfe. Picture: Elly Lucas
Iona Fyfe. Picture: Elly Lucas

"Creatives act as crucially important cultural ambassadors, but also act as our activists. We must continue to value these workers in an independent Scotland, but we must not lose sight of supporting the arts right now, in real time.

"The wellbeing economy aims to serve and prioritise the collective well-being of those in society. A healthy, thriving and well-funded culture sector is paramount to the aspirations of the wellbeing economy.”

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Fyfe has previously criticised the government’s decision to strip £6.6m out of Creative Scotland’s budget, highlighting concerns by the Scottish Music Industry Association that the decision will have a “devastating impact” on the whole cultural sector.

The founders of the Scottish Album of the Year Awards say organisations will soon “vanish from the fabric of our cultural landscape” as Creative Scotland – which has warned that one in three are at “serious risk” of insolvency in the short term, with around 900 jobs currently under threat – had been forced to raid financial reserves which it had ringfenced for a safety net to support unsuccessful applications for long-term funding next year with Creative Scotland facing a projected funding gap of around £70 million due to the impact of rising costs.

Iona FyfeIona Fyfe
Iona Fyfe

Fyfe added: “We are richer as a nation for investing in and recognising our intangible culture, heritage, customs, traditions and languages.

“I urge conference to continue to recognise the value of our arts and culture to both current day Scotland, and an independent Scotland.

“With the powerful support of creatives, I believe that with fair and equal treatment, this community, when empowered, united and thriving, is powerful enough to turn heads and minds of undecided voters.”



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