Since Scottish devolution from the UK in 1999, there has been a sustained and growing commitment to Scottish traditional music, storytelling and dance – collectively defined in Scottish cultural policy as the “traditional arts”. The public policy discourse of traditional arts is at once politically related to a growing Scottish confidence and intimately bound into a personal and national politics of identity. Today, in this transitional time around the referendum on Scottish independence, the potential for Scottish traditional arts to make a substantial and more sustainable contribution to cultural life in Scotland is within reach. However, there are some underlying problems that need to be addressed by the community of policy-makers and artists. In this paper, I examine the commodification and professionalization of Scottish traditional arts in broad terms and then go on to use this as a means to understand the recent emergence of a national cultural policy of intrinsic worth for the traditional arts since 1993. I finally consider the possibilities and opportunities for a more robust cultural policy for the Scottish traditional arts post-referendum. In recognizing that traditional music has entered a new and self-conscious period of commodification today, we open the door for a debate about the ways in which traditional arts in contemporary society can be performed and supported in a more equitable national cultural policy.
- cultural policy
- traditional music
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts