Media Release: 2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit announces a global line-up of speakers

2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit

10-12 August 2014, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

THE 2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit will place a spotlight on the importance of international dialogue between policy-makers, artists and arts leaders.

Hosted by the Scottish Parliament, the Summit is bringing Culture Ministers and a range of eminent speakers to Edinburgh this August. Speakers will include Ms Nandi Mandela, a business woman and grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela; Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO; Robyn Archer, prolific Australian musician; artist and writer, Saskia Sassen; author and globalisation expert Michael Power, author of seminal work, ‘The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification’, and Jordi Savall, internationally-renowned musician.

With a wide spectrum of experience from arts, academia, philanthropy and international relations, speakers will draw on these topic areas as part of a lively programme of discussions and debates based on this year’s theme, ‘Culture – a Currency of Trust’, reflecting the Summit’s belief in the capacity of the arts and culture to foster mutual understanding between nations and among citizens.

This year’s programme will offer plenary sessions in the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber which are open to the public via a ballot system, with detailed private policy discussions around three interlinking strands.

  • Values and Measurements: the principles of valuing culture and how to measure that value
  • Cities and Culture: the city as the locus of cultural innovation and participation
  • Advocacy and Identity: how culture and cultural diversity are best sustained, promoted and protected.

The Culture Summit is now set in the international cultural calendar as a biennial event following on from the success of the 2012 Summit, which 33 countries attended.

The second Summit aims to build on these strong foundations to encourage further sharing of ideas, debates and future collaboration and amplify the idea that culture is a bridge that enables dialogue between nations, in a broad range of contexts.

It will once again take place in August in the Scottish Parliament building against the vibrant cultural backdrop of Edinburgh’s Summer Festivals. Culture Ministers, artists and art leaders will have the opportunity to attend world-class Festival performances and events which attract audiences from over 75 nations.

Commenting on the first speakers’ announcement, Jonathan Mills, director of the Edinburgh International Festival, said:

“The success of the Summit in 2012 clearly demonstrated the appetite internationally for cultural dialogue and exchange, and its value. In the second Summit this summer we’ll consider further global issues around measuring the value of culture, the role of cities in cultural innovation and how arts are best promoted and protected.

“To provoke conversation and debate we will bring together experts in the fields of arts, academia, philanthropy and international relations who will act as a catalyst for deep and invigorating discussions, and I particularly look forward to welcoming Ms Nandi Mandela, Irina Bokova and Robyn Archer in this role.

“Coinciding with the Summer Festivals at their most intense, it will once again present a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city and Scotland’s culture, and to bring together artists, Culture Ministers and delegations from around the world in an unparalleled celebration of the arts.”

Speaking ahead of the event, the Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP, said:

“Here at the Parliament, we promote culture as a way of engaging with people on issues that matter to them. We’ve seen, first-hand, the positive reaction from visitors to world-class art such as that of Andy Warhol and the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which will be back at Holyrood again this summer.

“It is therefore our great pleasure to host the second Edinburgh International Culture Summit, and we are delighted to offer members of the public this rare opportunity to hear from world-renowned speakers, including Ms Nandi Mandela, as they explore the power of culture on nations.”

Scottish Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“This excellent line up of speakers demonstrates the importance of the Culture Summit, which will showcase Scotland as a vibrant international Cultural Hub during the Edinburgh Festivals in August.

“The second Summit follows the success of the first event held in August 2012 and is particularly appropriate at a time when the eyes of the world are already focused on Scotland for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and other events of 2014.

“The Summit will celebrate and enhance Scotland’s global reputation for creativity, innovation and imagination.”

UK Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, said:

“The UK’s culture is world-renowned and this year’s summit will allow us to highlight this country’s unique and varied cultural offer, but also to bring other countries together and explore the opportunities cultural dialogue can bring, building relationships and boosting business too. The range of speakers and attendees from around the world will ensure we can strengthen both our cultural and wider relationships and I look forward to seeing everyone there.”

Chief executive, British Council, Sir Martin Davidson KCMG, noted:

“Scotland’s historic capital has culture and learning at its heart and is perhaps the greatest cultural festival city in the world – and that makes Edinburgh a fitting place to stage the summit.

“Building on the success of the first event in 2012, this August’s summit will bring together culture ministers from every continent and especially the Commonwealth.

“The themes this year include the value of culture and how to measure it, and, at different ends of the spectrum, the roles of cities and international organisations.  hese themes matter to all countries, and I anticipate a productive exchange of knowledge and ideas while building strong international ties in the process.”


Pictures available, on request.

Contact details

Fiona Stewart

Communications manager

Edinburgh International Culture Summit

T: +44 (0)131 348 6247

M: +44 (0) 7940 560453

F: +44 (0)131 348 6925


You can follow the Culture Summit on Twitter @culturesummit or visit

Notes to editors:

Key partners

The Summit is a collaboration between the British Council, Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and UK Government. It will bring together Culture Ministers with prominent artists, thinkers and others involved in developing and implementing cultural policy.      


Members of the public can apply for tickets to attend four Debating Chamber sessions throughout the Summit. The full programme will be announced on 11 July with the public sessions as follows:

On Sunday 10 August, the Opening Session and Plenary 1 will take place (Session 1 – 16:00 – 18:00) with special artist performances and selected speakers reflecting key issues from each of the three policy strands explored at the Summit.

  • On Monday 11 August, Plenary 2 (Session 2 – 09:30 – 10:30) and Plenary 3 (Session 3 – 14:30 to 15:30) will showcase a further suite of presentations.
  • On Tuesday 12 August, the Summit concludes with the Closing Plenary (Session 4 – 10:00 – 11:30). Rapporteurs will summarise the various presentations and private discussions of the Summit, observing the salient points, ideas and outcomes. There will be an opportunity for Ministers to respond with comments from the floor and a final artist performance.

Tickets can be applied for via email at or in writing to Public Ballot, Edinburgh International Culture Summit, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

The public are being asked to clearly indicate which of the sessions they would like to attend by Friday 25 July, 12 noon and will be notified of their allocation by 29 July. Members of the public can keep up to date with the Summit progress via the website –

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Contact: Fiona Stewart
Phone: 01313486247