TRACS explores Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector Review Discussion Day

Creative Scotland’s recently released Literature and Publishing Sector Review presents a comprehensive look at the current state of literary activities, and offers a mighty 38 recommendations of ways in which the sector can be improved, broadly fitting under the three main themes of connection, co-ordination and collaboration.

To begin this process, The Lighthouse in Glasgow played host to over 100 writers, publishers and sector representatives on the 30th July to discuss the findings of the Review and what can be done to take the discussions forward into action. TRACS is representative of storytelling as well as being a multi-art form organisation, embracing the sort of collaboration the Review encourages, and therefore it was fascinating to be a part of the afternoon’s discussions.

A popular topic of the afternoon, especially in the subgroup of writers who came together to discuss the report’s recommendations, was the issue of literature more broadly – how it should be defined in a changing, digital world, and what can be done to address issues of accessibility to all sections of society.

Storytelling as an art form has strong potential for mass appeal, in the way that it offers an instant and direct connection with, arguably, the two most important elements of literature – the story and the teller. It also has the power to reach out to disadvantaged groups and wider sections of society, perhaps in a way that a more traditional definition of literature cannot. In that way it is easy to see why it’s such an important contributor to Scotland’s vibrant live literature scene. We need to ensure that it continues to be promoted, and continues to contribute to the literary ecology of Scotland.

One of the Review’s more prevalent recommendations is for the development of literary ‘hubs’ across Scotland, with the potential to create and sustain vibrant communities of people engaged actively in literature and similar art forms, which the Storytelling Centre is already engaged in, with storytelling, music and dance integrating under TRACS to encourage collaboration, share resources and lobby for Trad Arts support.

It’s therefore crucial that we continue to have these conversations with our peers in the sector, and continue investigating the ways in which we can become better streamlined and strategic in order to reach out to and support as many people as possible – whether they are readers, listeners, writers, publishers, tourists, community group leaders or teachers. The inclusion of Gaelic and Scots in these conversations, and in the Review, is a big step towards the ongoing process of encouraging their continued and legitimate use in Scottish society, with the Review encouraging the ‘mainstreaming’ of the languages into everyday communications within the literature sector.

Poet Tom Pow spoke warmly and energetically about the healthy and vibrant literature community in Scotland at the beginning of the session, remarking on the ‘manifestation of energy’ he hoped would come out of the day’s session, and the need to shape and direct that energy in the coming months and years.

TRACS very much hopes to contribute to the shaping of that energy, and in doing so contribute to the vibrancy of Scottish culture itself.

Read Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector Review

Literature Alliance Scotland