29 September 2022

Culture and a Sustainable Future

Last month our city filled with the clamour and glorious disquiet of the festival season. Above the crowd, world-renowned performers, enthusiastic amateurs, and everyone in-between vied and jostled for attention across thousands of ever-changing posters, billboards, and fliers, ensuring that every discipline was well-represented, and that every taste catered for. Edinburgh in August is a unique experience, a city that truly makes all the world a stage, and demonstrating the inimitable power of culture to inspire, amuse, and move the human spirit.

Against this incomparable backdrop, the 2022 Edinburgh International Culture Summit took place between Friday 26 – Sunday 28 August. Culture Ministers, artists, and leaders from the arts world assembled to participate in an international and intersectional dialogue about the key issues facing us today and to forge lasting connections around the cultural world.

International delegations representing 29 countries joined us at the Scottish Parliament, demonstrating that even in during a time of restricted travel and global uncertainty, the appeal of Edinburgh, its festivals, and the Summit endures, and that this remarkable city retains its capacity to draw creative and curious minds from around the world.

Throughout the three days a dynamic and varied programme of performances amplified and enhanced the diverse dialogues taking place at the Summit. These included: Maryna Krut, a Ukrainian bandura virtuoso playing her lament to fallen soldiers, Buskaid, an acclaimed string ensemble from Soweto, and a specially commissioned poem by actor and activist, Fehinti Balogun, that explored the relationship between climate change and capitalism. These performances are being added to our website and will be available to view, complemented by an archive of interviews with attending Ministers and artists, as well as three instalments of Live from the Culture Summit, daily discussion panels recorded across the Summit, ensuring that Summit 2022 leaves a rich legacy of recorded content that we are delighted to share with you.

For those in attendance, the informal aspects of the Summit were just as valuable. Clusters of conversation took place all through the Scottish Parliament throughout the weekend, with friendships and connections sparking between Oceanic and Glaswegian artists, between African musicians and Middle Eastern theatre makers, between Ministers, arts leaders, and youth delegates – all exploring new possibilities and rare opportunities for collaboration created at the Summit, and the chance for the global art world to exchange knowledge, learn from each other, and develop best practice.

The themes of Summit 2022 were selected because the issues of freedom, education and sustainability are universally applicable. The Culture Summit Team continues to believe that a sustainable future is only possible if we learn to work together as global citizens, and that by celebrating free expression and preserving cultural identities, by engaging the imaginations and emotions of people with the climate emergency, by putting creativity into the heart of classroom and the economy, and by amplifying the voices of young people, culture can play a vital role in shaping this future.

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