Edinburgh International Culture Summit

About the Summit

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit brings together Culture Ministers, artists, thinkers and arts leaders from around the world to share ideas, expertise and best practice, with a view to inspiring positive change in cultural policy and investment. Set against the incomparable backdrop of one of the world’s greatest cultural events, the Edinburgh Festivals, the Culture Summit is uniquely placed to facilitate genuine and creative exchange between practitioners and policy-makers.

The inaugural Summit in 2012 was a resounding success, with 33 countries attending and a host of leading international artists and cultural commentators taking part. Presenting a significant opportunity for direct and open dialogue between politicians, policy-makers and artists, the Summit provided a forum for in-depth discussion on, and compelling accounts of, the power of the arts and culture to enrich individual lives and transform national ambitions. Summit 2014 built on these strong foundations to encourage further sharing of ideas, debates and future collaborations.

Summit 2016 will be held in the striking building of the Scottish Parliament, in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. The theme of Summit 2016, ‘Culture: Building Resilient Communities’, reflects the Summit’s strong belief in the vital role that culture plays in the life of any successful community. We acknowledge that how one defines that success is a matter of cultural, linguistic and environmental difference, and it is these ideas together that lie at the heart of the diversity of dialogues to be encouraged at Summit 2016.

The programme has three distinct, interlinking discussion strands, each of which will be the focus of a plenary session in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, supported by both private policy discussions and a workshop. 

Culture and Heritage  We live in a highly contested world –a world in which our most precious monuments, sites and other environments of outstanding natural beauty are threatened as never before. How do we define and protect our cultural heritage? How do we use the values of heritage to define our urban landscapes? How is our sense of self, place and community shaped by our heritage? How can our investment in cultural heritage best reflect and respect the diversity of identities and cultures that co-exist in our world? And what are the most enduring and appropriate models of success in cultural and heritage tourism? Summit 2016 takes place in Scotland’s year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, an initiative which celebrates Scotland’s many and great achievements in these areas.

Culture and Economics  Governments around the world continue to discuss appropriate funding models to adopt, and adapt to, in an environment of rapidly shrinking resources. Summit 2016 will compare a varietyf cultural economic models which consider a range of public and private sector support, with a view to addressing such questions as: What is a sustainable model for funding cultural endeavour, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis? What is the best mix of private, corporate, philanthropic and government support? How do models differ between emerging and more established economies? How can investment in culture best contribute to fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? How do we ensure the most effective cultural impact from a range of public and private investments? And how do we develop and support our cultural leaders as entrepreneurs?

Culture and Participation  Despite the existence of universal platforms for the presentation and promotion of all manner of cultural enterprises – digital television and radio, content-sharing and social media websites, live broadcasts, to name but a few – numerous barriers still exist to greater and deeper participation in cultural activities by citizens across the world. Summit 2016 will offer lively discussion about ways of reaching larger and more diverse communities, and consider how to protect and create pathways for more artistic voices. As a study in best-practice, we will showcase the Edinburgh Festival model, before inviting Ministers to compare or contrast their own exemplary practices.

Summit 2016 will give Ministers and senior policy-makers the opportunity to share global best-practice in the areas of cultural heritage, economics and participation, in order to develop relevant, effective policies, designed to achieve lasting impact. Participation in high-level bilateral and multilateral meetings will enable them to identify areas for future collaboration and delivery in their home countries.

About the 2016 Culture Summit

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit 2016 brought together Culture Ministers with prominent artists, thinkers and others responsible for formulating cultural policy. 

They discussed how the arts enrich the lives of people around the world and contribute to the wellbeing of nations.

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