A new campaigning attitude has been signalled by Scotland's arts funding body as it reveals an arts strategy which promises to fight for better artist pay and shake up "disengaged" arts boards.

As the cultural world looks to Edinburgh during its annual festival season, Creative Scotland's Arts Strategy vows to lobby to improve the income of artists, open a debate on the appointments at "homogeneous" arts boards and review its funding policies.

The strategy, published today, signals the beginning of a two year process of "sophisticated advocacy" by the body to raise the pay and conditions of artists and also revamp the board membership of arts companies.

The new arts strategy report says that around 80% of artists in Scotland, of all kinds, earn less than £10,000 from their artistic work.

Two thirds earn less than £5000, and only 2% are able to generate earnings or more than £20,000, below the median wage for Scotland, which was £26,000 in 2013/14.

The report says that this leads to artists having to either work several jobs, or self-fund, a situation which is "clearly only possible for a few and means that artists with more affluent backgrounds can seek ways to support themselves as opposed to those who do not have this as an option."

It says: "This trend carries real risks if UK culture becomes homogenized and disconnected from the breadth of society and loses its edge and relevance within the world today."

Creative Scotland says it is committed to "exploring ways to improve artists pay, living and working conditions" and ensuring that all organisations and projects that receive their funding demonstrate "best practice with regard to fair pay and understand the impact on the wider sector of doing so."

In one of its most outspoken documents to date, largely written by Leonie Bell, the director of arts, says that working in the arts is not always an easy choice, with many working as freelancers, self employed and juggling multiple jobs.

It says they can often be not "jobless" but "income-less", and unable to claim unemployment and other benefits.

The strategy says artists have "challenging working patterns and unpredictable and uneven rates of pay despite the fact that many in the sector are highly trained, educated to degree, and often to postgraduate and Masters level.

"However, there is no guarantee of ever earning a stable salary," it adds.

"Artists often work for very little or for free...they devote long periods of unpaid time for the artistic research, fundraising and

professional development necessary in order for them to progress their work.

It adds: "It is not surprising therefore that many give up practising due to the financial challenges."

Ms Bell, whose report also champions artists as those who "make leaps into the unknown, finding inventive and innovative ways to represent, reflect and consider the world as it changes around us and, sometimes, changing the world in turn", says that the document is not political, but a signal of a new "sophisticated advocacy" which Creative Scotland will pursue in the next two years.

She added: "We are trying to be really serious about [artists pay]: imagine a world in which we had no art, no music, not writers, no writers for television, the world would be much duller - artists help create the world in which we want to live."

The report says that arts boards draw from a small pool of people, usually volunteers from a limited range of business background who are not paid for their time.

"As a result, Boards can be relatively homogeneous and disengaged from the perspective of people practising the arts in increasingly non-traditional and emerging ways," it says.

"Boards have legal and corporate responsibilities and this often leads to the following make up of boards: legal, HR, financial and communication expertise."

While it says these are important drawing board members from "further afield" would promote a different culture to help "reflect society more broadly."

It adds: "Being motivated by social justice, contributing to society, valuing diversity and rising above established power dynamics (and also,

possibly, complacency) means embracing difference and not recruiting in our own image."