“Culture can help children and adults make valuable social connections, improve self-confidence, develop creative skills, offer employment and volunteering opportunities…and is therefore an important element of any action taken to reduce poverty.” (Scottish Government, National Cultural Strategy)
By supporting our cultural sector, we create happier, more vibrant communities that we can all be proud to be a part of. Our services are for everyone – not least at the heart of poorer communities – 80% of our services are provided free at the point of access. Many, particularly those that raise literacy levels, are designed to improve skills which lead to better employment prospects and higher levels of income.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, Rothes Halls
Penalty Shoot Out, author Danny Scott
David Beckham & Methil Heritage Centre
Free entry to our museums & galleries
Weekends With The Family
Spooky Messy Play
We help to build communities, including seldom heard groups, with initiatives that help both health and wellbeing and tackle poverty and inequality. But we also gather communities together at major, local events. During 2018/19 we invited the local community to a big birthday party to celebrate 25 years of the Rothes Halls. On a more poignant note, the World War One commemorations which we organised and supported also saw many generations and community groups come together to mark the centenary of the Armistice.
As well as supporting the St Andrews West Sands event as part of Danny Boyle’s UK-wide Armistice event we held a Commemoration Conference with community organisations. The 12 speakers included members of our own staff. Almost 100 people attended to hear the talks and see the community displays…
At Kirkcaldy Galleries – the building itself was donated and built as a war memorial by linoleum manufacturer John Nairn – we held an event on 7 November 2018, commemorating both the centenary and the death in 1918 of Nairn’s son, Captain Ian Couper Nairn. That evening the family poignantly donated a riding whip that belonged to Ian, along with a gold watch that belonged to Sir Michael Nairn in the early 20th century.
Our library network has branches based in the deprived areas which they serve but access is not just about proximity but also one of affordability. We are strongly committed to supplying services for free or at low cost. 80% of our services are provided free at the point of access; entry to our museums and galleries is free and many of our library events are free. Our theatres ensure that shows are priced for accessibility; films are priced at £3 per ticket, the sell-out live shows with the MacDougalls, part of Carnegie Hall’s Tiny Little Christmas Festival, were just £5 per ticket and Carers Go Free to all shows.
Engaging interest is also a challenge that our staff rise to in a number of inventive ways, whether it’s through the interactive mass participation and crowd excitement of the Big Book Brains Quiz or by using music, film or football to win over young hearts and minds.
Penalty shoot outs and football during interactive author sessions worked a treat at Buckhaven Theatre and in Methil Library when we invited Scotland Stars F.C. author Danny Scott as part of World Book Week. In total, we held 11 events during the week, reaching audiences of over 600 thanks to our application to Scottish Book Trust for Live Literature funding.
Football doesn’t get much more glamourous than David Beckham. There was great excitement when he shared our Instagram post about The Angel’s Share 2019 exhibition, created in partnership with the Friends of Methil Heritage at Methil Heritage Centre. As a brand ambassador for Haig Whisky, the footballer spotted and shared news of the exhibition about the Cameronbridge Distillery, the original home of Haig. Nearly 50 members of Diageo staff visited as part of the team-building days, making good links with locally based business and employees.
Film screenings, author visits, writing workshops and awards all encouraged pupils to participate in the Levenmouth Attainment Project, which was completed in May 2018. ONFife Libraries partnered with the secondary school to help improve the reading culture for their 300+ S1 pupils. The enthusiastically received 16-week project saw pupils read up to nine different books as part of their very own Levenmouth S1 Book Awards. Guest authors included Mitch Johnson and Ross McKenzie.
News of the project quickly spread, and by the end of the year we were working to support literacy projects in Woodmill High, Dunfermline, and Waid Academy, Anstruther, with theatre and author visits. Kirkcaldy High School has also adapted parts of the original Levenmouth project.
We were pleased to contribute to this pilot event organised by TUЯN, which supports the rehabilitation of ex-offenders and the homeless. We provided information on library services which can help with job applications such as free access to our computers and wi-fi.
Fair Saturday was started in Bilbao and is “a movement that puts culture before consumerism, social empathy before greed and idealism before materialism”. Cultural organisations and events raise money for good causes and it was created in response to the commercialism of Black Friday. The Creative Development team worked with colleagues in libraries to encourage donations for local foodbanks. Instead of paying overdue book fees customers were asked to donate to the foodbank, gathering a total of 25 shopping bags of food.