Edinburgh International Culture Summit

About the Summit

The concept that culture is a bridge that promotes dialogue between nations, irrespective of external events, lay at the heart of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.

The value of the arts, culture and the creative industries - and their role in encouraging dialogue among nations – was discussed when ministers arrived for the inaugural two-day event on August 13, during the world-renowned Edinburgh Festivals.

In the Year of Creative Scotland and the London 2012 Festival, in one of the world's most famous Festival cities, the Summit celebrated and enhanced Scotland and the UK’s global reputations for creativity, innovation and imagination.

The Summit was a collaboration between the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the British Council and the Edinburgh International Festival and was hosted at the Scottish Parliament. The Summit theme was 'Culture as an International Dialogue' and the programme was devised around three strategic strands:

  • The role of the arts and culture in deepening and broadening our understanding of the complex relationships between cultures and nations
  • Sustaining private and public support for culture
  • Future skills for the creative industries and the role of technology

There were speeches in the Scottish Parliament’s debating chamber, available to watch online and attended by members of the public, as well as private policy discussion sessions in the committee rooms.  For full details of the speeches please go to the 'Why Culture Matters' webpage.

Outline Programme

Monday 13 August

1430-1600: Welcome to the Scottish Parliament and the Summit.

  • Reading from Robert Burns’ ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That’ by Scots Makar Liz Lochhead
  • Performance of ‘Cantate Domino! Alleluia!’ (Cristi Cary Miller) by National Youth Choir of Scotland National Girls Choir
  • Opening remarks by Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop and UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey
  • Speeches and debates exploring the role of the arts and culture in deepening and broadening our understanding of complex relationships between cultures and nations.

Tuesday 14 August

10.00-11.00: Speeches and debate on the topic of sustaining private and public support for culture.
14.15-15.15: Speeches and debate on skills for the future, for the creative industries and the role of technology
17.00-17.45: Closing remarks from British Council chair Sir Vernon Ellis and Edinburgh International Festival director Jonathan Mills.

The Full programme can be downloaded here in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish

Details of the contributors to programme and their biographies can be found here however you can download the biographies in English, Arabic, French and Spanish


For each of the sessions taking place in the Debating Chamber, chaired by Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP, ten pairs of tickets for the public gallery were made available.

About the summit

The Edinburgh International Culture Summit 2012 will bring together Culture Ministers with prominent artists, thinkers and others responsible for formulating cultural policy. 

They will discuss how the arts enrich the lives of people around the world and contribute to the wellbeing of nations.


  • The Edinburgh International @culturesummit has drawn to a close. Thanks for following! #culturesummit
    41 weeks 2 days ago
  • Jonathan Mills, Chief Executive of @edintfest addresses delegates #culturesummit
    41 weeks 2 days ago