Museums, National Identity and Cultural Policy in Scotland

Doctoral Researcher Katherine Lloyd was invited to discuss her research on the role that heritage plays in young people’s narratives of belonging and exclusion in Scotland at the conference ‘Imagining Scotland through Cultural Policy’ at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

‘One Nation, Five Million Voices’ display in Scotland: A Changing Nation, National Museum of Scotland. Image taken by Katherine Lloyd

The conference was a timely reflection on the development of cultural policy in Scotland since Devolution and posed important questions regarding the impact of the forthcoming Independence Referendum in September 2014. Papers from academics, policy makers and practitioners considered the impact of cultural policy on the Creative Industries and Scotland’s cultural organisations, with perspectives from broadcasting, theatre, museums, community festivals and issues of cultural participation. Case studies from Wales also provided useful comparative insights into the relationship between cultural policy and questions of national identity in the wider UK context.

Reflecting on the aims of the new National Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries, Katherine’s paper challenged the frequent assumptions made in cultural policy regarding the impact museums may have in fostering an ‘inclusive’ sense of national identity. In doing so, she stressed the need to differentiate between cultural policy as advocacy verses policy based on empirical evidence and called for further research on visitor responses to ‘inclusive’ representations of identity.

Further information about the conference including selected papers can be found here:

More information about Katherine’s research is available at:


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