Glasgow is Scotland’s creative powerhouse, producing artistic and cultural work that is both crucial to the nation’s economy and Glasgow’s unique distinction as a vibrant destination, enjoyed by citizens and tourists alike.
In a major report, commissioned by Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life and part-funded by Creative Scotland, the leading cultural policy analyst John Myerscough, found that 21 years after the city became the first in the UK to win the title of European Capital of Culture the sector has gone from strength to strength.
Myerscough is author of the groundbreaking work on The Economic Importance of the Arts in Britain (1988), which included a case study on Glasgow. The latter formed the baseline for the study he led on the impact of Glasgow’s year as European City of Culture, Monitoring Glasgow 1990. This new report charts developments in the intervening years and finds Glasgow has gone from strength to strength, surpassing the peaks achieved during 1990.
The cultural sector has a workforce of some 5,362 people. Additionally, Glasgow has the greatest concentration of the creative industries in Scotland, and one of the largest in the UK outside London, which employ a further 24,632. The workforce of the cultural sector and the creative industries together equate to 7% of Glasgow’s employment total,
The dynamism of Glasgow’s cultural sector and its power to innovate was evident long before 1990, but since then the growth in jobs has been considerable, up 43% since 1993, the number of performances across all sectors has increased by 82% since 1992 – and audiences have grown, making Glasgow’s cultural offer the most significant in the UK outside London.
The energy of the sector is reflected in the fact that attendance by Glasgow citizens (of all social groups) is above the Scottish average, and visitors from outwith the city comprise 58% of museum attendance and some 70% of attendance at Glasgow’s halls and theatres. .
Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Glasgow is Scotland’s cultural metropolis, a creative powerhouse which boosts not only the city’s standing both at home and abroad, but is a key provider of jobs across the city.
"Since long before 1990, the city prioritised our heritage, art and culture as a way of transforming our fortunes. This landmark report proves that our investment has worked. We are a city that innovates in performance and takes pride in its cultural legacy. We celebrate the past always with an eye to investing in the future.
“Glasgow is unique. The city has the best-attended museums, the most top concert venues and concerts, and the largest live-production base for the theatre outside London. The research shows that our own population accesses in large numbers the results of Glasgow’s creative endeavours, which set our city apart.”
Cllr Matheson continued: “We’ve long said that Glasgow is the driving force in Scottish culture and this report proves that there is no greater cultural destination outside London. Tourism is a key driver in our economic success and the city’s commitment to improving what’s on offer, such as the opening of the £74 million Riverside Museum later this year, will reap massive economic benefits as the city emerges stronger from the recession.”
• Museums attract 3.57 million visitors, with an additional 0.55 million visiting heritage sites (such as the Mackintosh buildings and Glasgow Cathedral).
• Live performances total 3,456 per year (excluding clubbing), averaging over nine performances every day – and attracting an audience of 2.31 million.
• 1 million people enjoy theatre, while 1.31 million enjoy concerts of all types.
• The market for culture overall (excluding clubbing, cinema and libraries) increased by 45% in the 11 years from 1989 to 2008/09 and is 20% higher than the early peak in 1990 attributed to the Year of Culture.
• Scotland’s creative community concentrates greatly in Glasgow which is home to 42% of the country’s dancers, actors and broadcasters, 38% of its musicians and 29% of its artists and graphic designers.
• Glasgow is second outside London in attracting overseas leisure tourists.