Edinburgh International Culture Summit Goes Live and Online For The First Time in 2020

The Special Edition of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit invites key figures from the fields of arts and culture, economics, architecture, science, psychology, medicine, philanthropy and politics to discuss the power of culture as a catalyst for change.

Any other year this biennial meeting of minds would take place against the bustling backdrop of the Edinburgh Festivals, the biggest celebration of culture in the world. Yet, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life as we know it in every country and community across the globe, the summit too has had to adapt and develop in keeping with the changing world in which we live.

In this special, entirely digital and free edition of the Culture Summit, everyone, regardless of means and location is invited to join the conversation which will hinge around three key strands; Culture in Vibrant Communities, Culture and Education and Culture and Social Cohesion.

Live online now at www.culturesummit.com

Delivered in partnership by the British Council, Scottish Government, UK Government, the Scottish Parliament and the Edinburgh International Festival the Summit introduces a fantastic range of 50 contributors from around the world to discuss their research and experience and asks them to consider how culture can act as a catalyst for positive change in these unprecedented times. The opinions and reflections of these contributors are now available via www.culturesummit.com.

Ministers of Culture from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Chile, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Scotland, UK, Ukraine and the USA will also be taking part.

From Monday 24 August each theme will be the focus of a day of conversation online culminating in a webinar at 5pm: Culture in Vibrant Communities on Monday 24 August, Culture and Education on Tuesday 25 August and Culture and Social Cohesion on Wednesday 26 August.

To register visit https://www.culturesummit.com/summit-webinars/

Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament British Council, said: “The Scottish Parliament is proud to be a key partner in the Edinburgh International Culture Summit 2020 and our only disappointment this year is not to be able to offer a personal welcome to our many guests from around the world. That said, our programme has been transformed into a fascinating, diverse and impressive range of online talks and discussions which are even more widely available and accessible to all.

“There has never been a more pressing time to understand each other, both our similarities and our differences. Exploring the powerful role of culture and its relationship with education, social cohesion and vibrant communities could just ignite the hope and inspiration needed to move society forward during this uncertain and bewildering period in our lives.”

Fiona Hyslop, Culture Secretary of the Scottish Parliament, said: “There is no comparable forum that offers the range of creative and collaborative opportunities afforded by the Edinburgh International Culture Summit. It is such a unique chance to learn from each other, gain insights, make connections and share best practice – all the more important in these unprecedented times.

“In Scotland, we are passionately proud of our culture. It is woven into our everyday life. It defines who and what we are, and its transformative potential is experienced by everyone. It’s unfortunate we can’t all meet in person this year, against the backdrop of our wonderful festivals, but I strongly encourage everyone to engage with this Special Edition of the Summit and enjoy the wide range of virtual events and webinars.”

Fergus Linehan, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Festival said: “As we quite rightly focus our attention on our local communities and economies, the summit is a reminder of how important it is to share experiences with our friends and colleagues around the world, as we plot a course for the future. The current crisis is a global challenge and it’s right that we use our cultural connections and values as part of our collective recovery.

Over the past few months, we’ve looked to our artists for comfort, wisdom and entertainment. Books, music films, online performances and gaming have kept us connected to others and our understanding of ourselves. However, the absence of gathering has brought home to me how much we need culture to define our personal identity, but also as a catalyst to create community itself. We used to find this in a local painting group; a regular club night; or highly charged theatre, pushing our boundaries and finding like minds in the process. These communities aren’t going away, but for now they need to adapt to connect, and the Edinburgh International Culture Summit is a wonderful source of these connections.”

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