Edinburgh International Culture Summit

Speech - Tricia Marwick MSP

Edinburgh International Culture Summit – Opening Ceremony
Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick MSP

Edinburgh International Culture Summit 2012
The Chamber, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Monday 13 August 2012

Good afternoon, Your Excellencies, Ministers, ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Tricia Marwick MSP and, as Presiding Officer, I am delighted to welcome you to the Scottish Parliament and to declare open the 2012 Edinburgh International Cultural Summit.

It is appropriate that we meet here in Edinburgh following the close of the London Olympics.  It was here in Edinburgh, after the war in 1947, that the first international festival was held, followed one year later by the 1948 London Olympic Games.  The first Edinburgh Festival in those difficult years after the war had a mission to bring countries together.

Since those formative years, Edinburgh’s Festivals have reached out to all the nations of the world through the universal dialogue of culture and the arts.

Into that mix we now add the Edinburgh International Culture Summit and I am delighted that the Scottish Parliament is playing host to culture ministers from around the world, together with artists and thinkers from the UK and further afield.  Altogether there are 37 nations represented in our Chamber.

So, this is a unique opportunity to bring us together in the midst of Edinburgh’s renowned Festivals.

The Scottish Parliament is delighted to be hosting the plenary sessions for the summit, and my thanks go to all of those who worked so hard to bring this about. 

It has very much been a team effort with the four key players being the Edinburgh International Festival, the British Council; and the Scottish and United Kingdom governments.

In many ways this summit feels like the coming together of a number of major events and initiatives.  The Olympic games, of course, and its associated cultural olympiad; the Edinburgh Festivals and this is the year of Creative Scotland, which has aimed to showcase and develop Scotland’s creative talent and ambition.

This culture summit has been greatly anticipated here in Scotland and in the Scottish Parliament.  It provides a wonderful opportunity to bring together policy makers with some of the leading representatives of the arts.

We will consider three key themes over the next two days:

  • The role of the arts and culture in broadening understanding of the extremely complex relations between cultures and nations;
  • Sustaining private and public support for culture;
  • And future skills for the creative industries and the role of technology in the development of those skills.

The Scottish Parliament prides itself on being a platform for international debate and I look forward to hosting your plenary sessions in this wonderful debating chamber.  And, of course, our Scottish Parliament is a cultural icon in its own right.

As well as the delegates occupying the floor of the chamber, I would like to offer a very warm welcome to all of our guests in the galleries.  Drawn from a whole range of organisations and locations, you are absolutely integral to the success of this summit.

Before we move into the first plenary session, I hope that this short opening ceremony will serve to set the scene for the discussions and deliberations to follow.  We have drawn on Scotland’s rich and colourful cultural traditions and I hope you will enjoy the performances.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a productive and enjoyable summit.  You are most welcome here in Edinburgh at the Scottish Parliament.  Thank you.

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.

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