Your Rights to Art, Culture, Leisure, and Play

Accessing art, culture, leisure and play as a young person is really important. The UNCRC protects these rights and there are lots of ways you can exercise them for free!

Things like play, art, culture and leisure are important! For young people, they can help with your physical and mental health as well as allow you to develop as people. 

That’s why the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) protects your right to play, leisure, art and cultural activities in Article 31.  

How can I use my Article 31 rights? 

Here are 9 ways you can exercise your right to leisure, play and cultural activity in Scotland: 

1. Visit a free art gallery  

There are many free art galleries to choose from in Scotland. From very big ones like the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow or the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, to small and local ones like An Lanntair in Stornoway, Kirkcudbright Galleries, Mount Stuart on Bute, or Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Have a look for more near you at Visit Scotland. Many free art galleries also host free highlight tours, or family art tours, make sure to take a look at the website of the gallery before you visit to find out more.  

2. Go outside 

Everyone has a right to public space. If you can, a great way to exercise your right to play and leisure is to use the outdoors around you. You could visit a local park, investigate local wildlife or play on a safe street near your home. Or if you have a garden, you can make use of this, too! Mpark.scot is a great resource to find green space near you. 

3. Visit your school or local Library 

Most schools in Scotland have a library where you can access books, magazines and other learning resources in a welcome and vibrant space. Your local library is another great way to access hundreds of books, films and magazines for free. You might be surprised by the options at your local library too, with some providing access to computer games, crafts, exhibitions, and more! 

Your local library is also a good place to visit on the weekend or after school for a quiet space to unwind. Lots of libraries host events too, from reading challenges to social events for young people, and if you want to get even more involved you might be able to volunteer there too. Find your local library on the Scottish Government website. 

4. Get active 

There are also lots of sports options for young people. Your school, college or university will likely have some after-school or extra-curricular sports clubs or teams to join, and your local leisure centre will have options for ways to move your body and exercise your right to play. Accessing local facilities can sometimes cost money, but usually, there are cheaper rates for young people. 

Look on your Local Authority’s website or search online for different options for sport and fitness near you – this could be classes for activities like dance, boxing or yoga, local gyms with workout equipment, or courts and pitches for playing everything from football and basketball to badminton and squash. 

As well as more common sports, you could find a variety of more unusual ways to get active locally, from roller derby to shinty, hiking to mountain biking, parkour to skateboarding, there are loads of options to get active in Scotland!  

If you have a disability, take a look at the Disability Sport Finder to see what’s near you, and both Capability Scotland and Disability Information Scotland have lists of sports groups to get involved in. From solo sports like cycling and archery to team sports like rugby and basketball, there are options for all interests! 

5. Visit a Historic Site 

Learn some cultural history whilst taking in the beautiful surroundings, with your Young Scot National Entitlement Card you can get into Historic Environment Scotland, Historic Houses and National Trust sites for just £1 – find some inspiration from Scotland’s historic sites. National Trust for Scotland manages a lot of our outdoor spaces and has some great guides for exploring the great outdoors, and young people can get a membership for just £3 a month! 

Fancy getting a bit more involved? Think about becoming a Junior Ranger with the Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association or take a look at some outdoor volunteering opportunities. 

6. See a film at your local cinema 

The cinema can be expensive but there are lots of options to make it cheaper. Your Young Scot National Entitlement Card can get you money off at Vue and Cineworld, but most cinemas offer discounts for young people. Many independent cinemas like Filmhouse in Edinburgh also offer youth groups where you can learn and get involved with programming your own series of films. Community cinemas run by local people are also growing in Scotland, you can see if your area has one find one near you on the Regional Screen Scotland website. There are also loads of film festivals every year all over Scotland. 

7. Get involved with an arts group 

There are lots of opportunities to get involved in arts around Scotland. Take a look at: 

Some Young Scot projects involve culture and leisure, such as our National Youth Arts Advisory Group (NYAAG) to Historic Environment Scotland. 

Your school, college or university may well have drama groups, choirs, orchestras and other arts groups to join, and many local areas have groups that people of all ages can get involved in too.  

8. Visit a museum 

Museums tell stories about specific times, cultures, or interests, and they are a great way to spend an afternoon exploring something new, often for free too! There are big museums with national and international objects and displays, like the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the V&A Dundee, Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery in Glasgow, and the University of Aberdeen Museums.

But there are also loads of small and quirky museums too, like the Surgeon’s Hall surgery museum in Edinburgh, the Battle of Bannockburn Experience in Stirling, the Scottish Football Museum in Hampden Park, the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride, Dumfries’ historic Camera Obscura, the Bo’ness Railway Museum, and Creetown’s Gem Rock museum! 

9. Join a community or youth group

Youth groups are places for you to meet other young people, have fun, develop new skills, and have a chat with trained youth workers. Taking part in youth groups can open up loads of opportunities for you and are a great way to make new friends. Your Local Authority might run youth groups or youth forums, but there are other organisations like LGBT Youth Scotland, Enable Scotland, Scottish Association of Young Farmers and a variety of organisations supporting young Black people and young people of colour. Have a search online to see what is near you. 

There are also national networks of uniformed organisations, like the Scouts and Girlguiding, Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade who meet regularly and offer a wide range of opportunities to learn new skills, get active, and meet new people!

For young people with access requirements 

If you have any accessibility requirements, you should be able to find information about what is available at different places to visit on their website or by calling them to check. Capability Scotland has a guide to leisure facilities for disabled people and Euan’s Guide has reviews of loads of places by people in the disabled community. 

How to get your voice heard 

If you feel your rights to play, art, culture and leisure aren’t being met, you can join a social movement or start a campaign to make this happen. There are many ways to do this, you can find out how to get your voice heard.

Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.

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