Media Release: Countdown continues to 2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit

Special closing performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

WITH less than four weeks until the 2nd Edinburgh International Culture Summit gets underway at the Scottish Parliament, it is set to be a unique and memorable event.

Award-winning a cappella vocal group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, described by Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s cultural ambassadors, will close the Summit with an uplifting showpiece during the closing ceremony on Tuesday 12 August 2014.

Culture Ministers from all corners of the globe will join an impressive array of arts leaders and cultural experts in an inspiring programme of lively discussions, presentations and performances.

The programme features a stellar line-up of speakers including Benjamin Barber from the City University of New York, Nandi Mandela, business woman and grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela; and Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.

Other speakers include Simon Anholt, one of the world’s leading authorities on national image and reputation, and a world leader on ultra-wide scale human engagement; Danilo Santos de Miranda, Sao Paolo director of Brazilian arts funding agency Serviço Social do Comércio (SESC), will talk on the success of the SESC Funding Model; and Australian-based poet, philosopher and artist Paul Carter will present on ‘Place-making and Storytelling’.

Set during the largest annual celebration of the arts in the world, Edinburgh’s summer festivals, the Summit’s belief in the ability of the arts and culture to unite and connect will be echoed on the streets of Edinburgh amongst hundreds of international performers and visitors.

Supporting the Summit and adding extra colour and depth to the theme, ‘Culture – A Currency of Trust’,will be new programme partners the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI), launched in 2000 by His Highness the Aga Khan; Asialink at The University of Melbourne; and the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) Committee on Culture – Agenda 21.

These partners will widen the reach and range of the Summit’s global cultural conversations.

There will be special presentations from Kent Larson, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab’s Changing Places Group on the latest tools and templates used for analysing urban environments, and French-Vietnamese artist, choreographer and writer Ea Sola will give a personal reflection on her work in ‘Choreography of imagination, Body and Memory’.

The Summit will open on 10 August 2014 with a performance from world-renowned musician, Jordi Savall, accompanied by Hespèrion XXI musicians performing works from the cosmopolitan traditions of peaceful co-existence inspired by the Caliphate of Cordoba.

Commenting ahead of the Summit, Sir Jonathan Mills, director of the Edinburgh International Festival and programme director of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, said:

“The Edinburgh International Culture Summit is a forum in which artists and leaders come together to discuss substantial, global issues of mutual interest, during the Edinburgh International Festival. It is a great pleasure to welcome politicians and practitioners from across the globe to Edinburgh at its most diverse and dynamic – to a wonderful city, in ‘full Festival’ flow.

“The Summit exists to make the argument for culture and the arts as an essential enlargement of the circumstances in which we imagine our lives.

“I wish you well in your deliberations at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, and hope that your time in Scotland is inspiring and rewarding.”

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

“You only need to walk into our main hall and see the crowds gathered for the Great Tapestry of Scotland to understand the power culture has to engage people.

“It is therefore our great pleasure to host the 2nd Edinburgh International Culture Summit. We are delighted to offer members of the public this rare opportunity to hear from eminent speakers as they explore the power of culture on nations. It is particularly exciting to be able to offer the public the chance to hear world-class musicians performing in our unique Debating Chamber.”

The 2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit runs from 10 to 12 August 2014.



Katy Jeffrey

Press Office

Edinburgh International Culture Summit

T: +44 (0)131 348 6242

M: +44 (0) 7912 182138

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For more on the Culture Summit, please visit and Tweet us @CultureSummit

Notes to Editors

1. Summit 2014 is a collaboration between the British Council, Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and UK Government.

2. provides information to delegates, visitors and all those with an interest in arts and cultural policy. It also hosts opinion articles from leading cultural figures from around the world, as well as live video streaming from the two-day event.

3. The theme for this year’s Summit is ‘Culture – a Currency of Trust’ reflecting Summit 2014’s belief in the capacity of culture and the arts to foster mutual understanding between nations and among citizens.

4. This year’s programme offers plenary sessions in the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber which are open to the public, and detailed private policy discussions around these three interlinking strands:

* Values and Measurements: the principles of valuing culture and how to measure that value,

* Cities and Culture: the role of cities as incubators of cultural innovation,

* Advocacy and Identity: how culture and cultural diversity are best sustained, promoted and protected.

5. Additional partner quotes which are for publication:

UK Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, said:

“This year’s Summit promises to be a wonderful opportunity to bring together cultural leaders and experts from around the world with some breath-taking performances. Set against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s Festivals it will highlight the power of culture to bring together communities and countries.”

Scottish Government Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, said:

“The Arts and Culture Scene in Scotland is currently abuzz with energy, ideas and discussion, and this Culture Summit offers another opportunity to celebrate not only Scotland’s creativity, innovation and imagination but that of nations and countries across the globe.

“The Summit will see Culture Ministers, artists and cultural experts from around the world converge in Edinburgh.

“We believe that culture is a bridge that enables dialogue between nations and this Summit 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.”

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

“With the Commonwealth Games almost upon us and the Edinburgh Festivals just around the corner, the next few weeks promise to put Scotland in the cultural spotlight. The 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. These themes matter to all countries, and will lead to an exciting exchange of knowledge and ideas while building strong international ties in the process.”

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Contact: Katy Jeffrey
Phone: 0131 348 6242