Artists in the Age of Covid

An Associated Series of Conversations produced in collaboration with Edinburgh International Festival.

Artists and creators from around the world come together for a series of conversations about the future of the arts in the wake of Covid-19.

With stages dark, orchestras silenced and audiences in limbo, artists and organisations of all scales and across artforms are reimagining their futures. Questions of survival and sustainability across the arts and cultural sector are being addressed with an urgency unprecedented in any of our lifetimes.

In this series of conversations, the Edinburgh International Culture Summit and Edinburgh International Festival have convened artists and makers from Scotland and around the world to explore the cracks and fissures in the arts exposed by the events of 2020, and share their views on the future.

These conversations examine five contemporary themes:


How has coronavirus forced arts organisations to review their relationships with communities? This conversation explores how arts organisations have repurposed themselves and how new communities have been created, online and in person, by these circumstances. Our speakers look to the commitment to this work in the future.

Speakers include Chief Executive of Eden Court James Mackenzie-Blackman and renowned German based American Conductor Roderick Cox, founder of Kingston Creative Andrea Dempster-Chung and President & CEO of Cleveland Orchestra André Gremillet. Chaired by Jemma Neville.

Monday 10 August, 4pm.


How do we imagine the future? For many, there is a palpable feeling that life cannot return to normal after the pandemic. For some a conviction that it should not. This conversation explores sustainability in the arts, their impact on urban spaces and ecology.

Speakers include curator of Glasgow’s After the Pandemic Summer School Graham Hogg, Emily Sexton, Artistic Director of Arts House Melbourne, Manila based performance-maker JK Anicoche. Chaired by Suzy Glass.

Tuesday 11 August, 11am.


Have power dynamics in the arts been exacerbated by coronavirus? Our panel speak to the Black Lives Matter movement in the arts, the challenges of representation in the UK, US and Germany and how to design a more accessible system for the future.

Speakers include co-founder and co-artistic director of Boy Blue Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, choreographer and performer Alice Sheppard, new directors of Staatlich Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Çağla Ilk and Misal Adnan Yildniz, and Helen Marriage, Director of Artichoke and Creative Director of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. Chaired by Jess Brough.

Wednesday 12 August, 7pm.


Speakers explore new work and artforms borne of the peculiar times in which we’re living. From collaborations between unlikely artform bedfellows to how tech is supercharging our art, we examine art in the time of coronavirus.

Speakers include Artistic Director of National Theatre of Scotland Jackie Wylie, Rucera Seethal, Artistic Director of National Arts Festival, South Africa, London based artist Jake Elwes, and interdisciplinary artist-researcher, Helen Yung from the Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence. Chaired by Jenny Niven.

Thursday 13 August, 4pm.

Art Above All Else

In a time of crisis and seismic shift, what is the irreplaceable impact of the arts? Speakers share how art has sustained them through the pandemic, with reference to the inheritance of artistic responses to previous catastrophic moments in history.

Speakers include poet and novelist Jenni Fagan, Chief Conductor of Antwerp Symphony Orchestra Elim Chan, and Rwandan actor, playwright and director Kiki Katese. Chaired by Kate Molleson.

Friday 14 August, 4pm.