Media release: Understanding diversity in the arts: Survey findings published


FINDINGS from a wide-ranging survey looking at diversity in the arts have been published.

As part of the continuing work following the publication of Creative Scotland’s Arts Strategy (2016) – which called for greater diversity across all areas of the arts – the survey was undertaken to help build a clearer picture about who is working in the arts today and what the perceived barriers are to, entering, progressing and developing in the arts professionally.

During autumn 2016, over 1,500 individuals working in the arts in Scotland responded to survey questions on gender, age, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation – all defined as ‘protected characteristics’ in The Equality Act 2010.  Insights into socio-economic background, education, occupation, employment status, income and career progression were also collated.

Economic limitations and gender were cited as key perceived barriers to participation and progression:

  • Economic limitations were the most commonly cited barrier overall (76 per cent) with the costs of professional training and a culture of unpaid internships being key issues.
  • Gender was cited as a barrier for 44 per cent of women compared to 12 per cent of men. A key issue for women was balancing parental responsibilities with a career in the arts – women with children were three times more likely to cite parental responsibilities as a barrier than their male counterparts.
  • Half of Minority Ethnic respondents saw ethnicity as a barrier to career progression.

View the full survey findings:

Phillip Deverell, director of Strategy, Creative Scotland, said: “Arts, culture and creativity are a central part of a healthy, innovative, and dynamic society. They should reach across and contribute to society by reflecting, representing and celebrating diversity and difference.

“As laid out in our Arts Strategy, we are keenly aware that barriers to access and progression exist.

“The survey results are enabling us to better understand the barriers to access and progression within the arts; are helping us to build a more robust evidence base and highlighting where more needs to be done to create a place of equal opportunity for all.”

“We’ll be working closely with the arts sectors, using the findings from this survey, to address the barriers that obstruct people developing and progressing their careers. Together, we can address the lack of diversity, support career progression and challenge poor employment practices.”


Media contact

For further information please contact: Sophie Bambrough, media relations and PR officer, Creative Scotland E: / T: 0131 523 0015


Creative Scotland has a long-running commitment to tackling inequalities and promoting diversity and inclusion in the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland which forms a core connecting theme within the ten-year plan Unlocking Potential Embracing Ambition

Creative Scotland initiated an Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Review in 2015 to look at how we support, integrate, and promote equalities in our work – and how we could effect a step change in the mainstreaming of EDI throughout the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland.

Phase One of the review was internal and looked at Creative Scotland’s functions, policies, and delivery and understanding of EDI.

Phase Two was sector-focussed. It supported Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) to produce EDI Action Plans, and included an in-depth stakeholder consultation through surveys and discussion events.

In October 2016, Creative Scotland issued a survey – Understanding Diversity in the Arts – asking respondents about their experiences relating to employment in the arts. It gathered information on gender, age, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation. It also asked about socio-economic background, educational attainment, occupation, employment status, income, career progression and geographic limitations.

Equality Matters, published in February 2017, reports on the findings from our 2016 survey of more than 500 individuals working in film and TV in Scotland, and highlights evidence of the numerous complex barriers to access, progression and representation on and off-screen. Senior BBC Scotland broadcast journalist, Ian Hamilton, is chairing the recently-established Screen EDI working group. The group is considering how the recommendations of the review can be implemented in order to improve both on and off screen representation in Scotland:


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Creative Scotland contact details…

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and

Contact: Sophie Bambrough
Phone: 0131 523 0015