The final report from the 2016 Edinburgh International Culture Summit, Culture: Building Resilient Communities explores the vital issues facing today’s policymakers and cultural sector.
The report, authored by the British Council, reflects discussions that took place in the Debating Chamber and Committee Rooms of the Scottish Parliament, based on the theme of the role of culture in communities. The discussions focused on three topics – culture and heritage, culture and economics and culture and participation.
Both a summary and the full report are available and there were a number of findings and conclusions and recommendations.
Culture and Heritage
Around the world our cultural heritage is at risk. For Daesh and other extremist ideologues the deliberate, systematic destruction of cultural heritage is an avowed objective of war. The threat is very political and very real, and it propels what some may consider sedate, academic activities, such as museum curation, into a new and dangerous frontline, turning work in these fields into a political fight for freedom and identity.
Culture and Economics
The Summit discussed the perennial issue of the F-word: funding, and how cultural institutions can diversify incomes through partnerships and entrepreneurship. The delegates also explored how government policy impacts the sector in numerous ways other than funding, e.g. through licensing laws, taxation, intellectual property rights and visa regulations.
Culture and Participation
It is no longer sufficient to just tell the public that the arts are important. People need to experience culture and participate in the discourse, to see how cultural institutions contribute to their communities. Culture needs to be recognised as part of the infrastructure on which society depends, as important as highways and the electricity supply. Failures in the cultural infrastructure might be less obvious or dramatic than a power outage but the impacts are felt in the long term and the costs of remediation high.
The publication of the report is a time to consider what issues need to be discussed at next year’s Summit when culture leaders and culture ministers will return once again to the Scottish Parliament to share ideas and experiences and debate the complex challenges facing our communities in the 21st century. We would like to hear from you as an artist or arts professional about the issues and aspects of the arts which matter to you most and which you would like to see included in next year’s Summit. Please share your thoughts with us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2012 the British Council, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Scottish Government, the UK Government, and the Scottish Parliament have hosted this wide ranging conversation between artists, practitioners and policy makers at the Scottish Parliament.