Usually the Edinburgh International Culture Summit – an annual event jointly partnered by the British Council, Scottish and UK Governments, the Scottish Parliament and the Edinburgh International Festival, would welcome international visitors to the Scottish Parliament in August, against the backdrop of the Edinburgh Festivals. As this year that is not possible, the Summit launches an online Special Edition on 22nd August, with an eclectic range of international contributors set to bring their voices and expertise to three areas of discussion – Culture and Education, Culture and Social Cohesion and Culture in Vibrant Communities.
In a series of films, podcasts and interactive panel sessions, contributors from across the spectrum of the arts, economy, education, architecture, medicine, philanthropy and Ministers of Culture all from around the world will come together to examine the powerful role, and transformational potential, of culture in key aspects of our lives and particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Summit aims to highlight the vital importance of a vibrant cultural sector in sustaining resilient and open societies, examining how access to artistic practices and spaces transforms peoples and nations. Key contributors this year include Assal Habibi, Assistant Research Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California, award-winning British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, Dr Tristram Hunt, the Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and Essam Rabih from The Trojan Women Project, which creates joint therapeutic drama and advocacy projects for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Europe and the UK.