Alliance launched to give voice to arts and humanities in Scottish society

The Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) has been launched, with the aim of enhancing public and governmental understanding of the intellectual, creative, social, and economic contribution of arts and humanities to Scottish society.

SAHA is a collective of ten Scottish higher education institutions including the University of Glasgow, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities.

The Alliance will initially focus on positive contribution of arts and humanities in tackling climate change; education policy and post COVID-19 society.

SAHA will bring together the voices of experts from key institutions across Scotland to deliver a coordinated approach to influencing government education policy, as well as advocating for the arts and humanities in the advancement of Scottish society.

The launch will see the first of three round table discussions, featuring arts and humanities academics, early career researchers and practitioners.

Each discussion will centre on one of three key focus areas for the alliance: environment, education policy and COVID-19. The outcomes of these discussions will determine the strategic direction for each of the workstreams.

Dame Professor Anne Glover, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh said: “The arts and humanities are a necessary part of 21st-century debates on issues such as climate change, wellbeing, diversity and shaping a post COVID-19 future. Scotland has a rich arts and humanities heritage and the alliance will provide an important forum for debating and collaborating on current and future challenges, drawing on the strengths of our higher education sector.”

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Chair of SAHA said: “The arts and humanities have a central role to play in meeting the challenges of contemporary society. They help shape our culture and our political and inner lives, equipping us with the critical skills to engage with a changing social and geopolitical landscape. This new Alliance aims to enhance understanding of the contribution of the arts and humanities to positive change in society, to economic progress and to cultural understanding."

Professor Gerry McCormac, Convener, Universities Scotland added: “The arts and humanities have never been more important. As we imagine our way to a better post-pandemic future, the arts and humanities give us the capacity to look at issues in new ways, and to build a recovery that that’s culturally rich as well as economically prosperous. I’m delighted that this new alliance will further develop Scotland’s international excellence in these important fields.”



SHAPE or Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy is a programme designed to encourage schoolchildren and undergraduates to view these subjects as positive steps towards a high-status career.

All Scottish higher education institutes are invited to become members of the alliance, and further information about the SAHA is available here

Current members of the SAHA are:
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Royal Conservatoire Scotland
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde


First published: 30 November 2020