At the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, we’re committed to putting young voices at the heart of the debate and discussion at the event.
The Summit offers a unique and truly global opportunity to inspire positive change and lasting impact through cultural policy and investment. This year, building on the succinct and successful format of previous editions, the Summit’s overarching theme of Culture and a Sustainable Future will be addressed across a plethora of cultural, social, environmental, and political challenges. To reflect the different ways in which these are experienced by each country’s delegation to the Summit, each theme is the focus of a plenary session in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament, supported both by private policy discussions and workshops.
The integration of contributors under the age of 35 across all programme sessions ensures the Summit hears from extraordinary young artists and leaders across culture, science, environment, communities and education sharing their vision for the future and inspiring multinational, cross-generational cultural exchange.
Speaking to her experience in championing community-based projects in urban spaces, Lili Lainé will contribute to the Cultural Challenges of Urban Environments breakout. Lili is a geographer and urbanist bringing to The Summit her expertise in cities, their economies and cultural fabric, and the way they are governed and shaped.
Speaking as a recent graduate of the landmark BA (Hons) Diverse Dance Styles programme by IRIE! Dance Theatre, Ofelia Omoyele Balogun will contribute to the Culture & Education Plenary. Ofelia is an Italian-Nigerian Movement Artist, Choreographer and Educator whose work focuses on the intersection between the vocabulary originating from the African Diaspora in the Caribbean to the world, and its connection with dance theatre and contemporary techniques.
Aditi Mayer will deliver a keynote on sustainability in the Culture & Sustainability Plenary, from her experience and expertise as an advocate for sustainable fashion. Their work examines fashion and culture through a lens of intersectionality and decolonisation, raising awareness of the exploitation and extraction of both labour and the natural environment in the fashion industry.
Also contributing will be Heba Alwadi, Co-Founder of Jasmine and Thistle, a refugee-led community group that brings together Scottish and Syrian women to discuss issues central to their lives. Originally from Syria herself, Heba is also a member of the Syrian Thought Forum team, a dialogue platform that tackles social issues closely with Syrian youth.
Dr Yalinu Poya Gow, recipient of the 2020 University of Glasgow Future World Changer award, is a Papua New Guinean scientist recognised internationally for her expertise in green chemistry and climate change policy. Through her research in ammonia production, her ambition is to develop solutions to feed the world’s population more sustainably.
Lillian Ngo Usadi is a musician and researcher, who brings to The Summit her expertise in the study of sound and water. Following her time at Oxford University, Lillian plans to travel to the United States as a submarine officer, where she will pursue her career goals of advancing knowledge in music, science and technology through her work in the submarine community.
Robbie Gordon is a theatre-maker who specialises in making work both with, and for, communities. Co-Founder of critically acclaimed “fiercely curious” (The Herald) Wonder Fools, Director of Creative Engagement at Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, and Creative Development Producer for the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Robbie brings insight into the practical challenges of creating and performing sustainable theatre.
mandla rae will pen a reflection to be presented during the closing plenary. mandla is a Zimbabwean-born writer and performer, who through the medium of words, is heavily concerned with communicating the many sensations associated with being a person.
Finally, actor and activist Fehinti Balogun will deliver a specially commissioned poem in the final moments of the Summit. Known for his successful acting career in high-profile film and TV such as the 2021 feature film Dune and the Emmy-Award-winning I May Destroy You, Fehinti has become a prominent climate activist, and has participated in several international climate discussions, including Cop 26 in Glasgow. As well as his special presentation at the Closing Plenary, Fehinti will join a panel discussing the Cultural Challenges of Urban Environments earlier in the day.
Additionally, representatives from various Scottish culture organisations will attend as part of Edinburgh International Culture Summit’s Youth Partners Delegation. These include Sofia Cotrona (National Youth Arts Advisory Group), Freya Taylor (National Youth Arts Advisory Group), Rumaisa Zubairi (Scottish Youth Theatre), and Rosie Sumsion (Scottish Youth Parliament).
The ideas, projects, and passion of all these young contributors will combine to make a truly inspirational study of how culture can enrich lives, support individuals and communities, and foster a creative and critical mindset in young people the world over. Invitations have now been issued to Culture Ministers across the globe to attend this August, set against the backdrop of many nations’ artists taking part in the Festivals, celebrating 75 years in 2022.
The sixth Edinburgh International Culture Summit will take place from 26th – 28th August 2022 at the Scottish Parliament.