Digital Edition of Edinburgh International Culture Summit Announced

The future survival and sustainability of the arts and cultural sector will be the key areas to be urgently addressed at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit to be held on August 22, 2020.

Featuring key names from across the arts, culture and political spheres, the Summit will consider ideas and perspectives embedded in our cultures that can support new ways of life required to deal with Covid-19 as well as examining the challenges to culture across the world.

The Summit, that is free of charge, is delivered in partnership by the British Council, the Scottish Government, UK Government, the Scottish Parliament and the Edinburgh International Festival

Among those taking part are Assistant Research Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California, Assal Habibi. At this year’s Summit, she will discuss her most recent study, the results of which indicates that musical training is beneficial for children’s brains, language and communication as well as engaging areas that are responsible for decision-making, focusing attention and inhibiting impulses.

She will be joined by award-winning British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak who believes in the importance of multiplicity when it comes to identity and how literature and the art of storytelling help us make sense of the world and our place in it. She is a big believer in the promotion of female solidarity, sisterhood and in women empowering women. Elif will also appear as part of the 2020 Edinburgh International Book Festival’s free, online programme. 

Also on the panel is Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Dr Tristram Hunt who will discuss how the digital component of museums and galleries is now a substantial part of what they do and  how Covid-19 has allowed for the V&A to explore new ways of engaging with the public through the digital sphere. He will also discuss the important roles of cultural institutions as places of congregation and social interaction and their role in serving every element of the society within which they exist and to be accessible to everyone.

Another feature of the summit will be the Trojan Women Project run by Charlotte Eager, William Stirling and Itab Azzam who have been creating joint therapeutic drama and advocacy projects for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Europe and the UK since 2013. The importance of this project is that it plays a key role in allowing those taking part to tell themselves the story of who they are, allowing them to regain some sense of identity. The play holds up a mirror to the audience, in a time of cultural turmoil, saying ‘we were you and now we are here’, ‘this has happened to us, it could happen to you’.

Irene Brown

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