The First Lady of Iceland and the man behind Hull’s creative vision as the UK City of Culture are due to speak at a culture and tourism conference in Aberdeen in the new year.
Eliza Reid, who is married to the President of Iceland, Gudni Johannesson, will speak at the SPECTRA Catalyst Conference, which takes place at the Anatomy Rooms at Marischal College on February 9-10.
Canadian by birth, Reid, is a former journalist who wrote for Icelandair’s in-flight magazine, Stopover, and will take part in a gathering of cultural leaders, artists and experts from across Europe and within the UK to present their strategy around cultural development in Aberdeen.
Reid, who is also co-founder of Iceland Writers’ Retreat and works to promote the art and literature scene in Iceland, was recently unveiled as a Special Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN World Trade Organisation (UNWTO).
The appointment took place at the second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture, an official event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, which was held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, on 11 and 12 December.
Reid will be joined in Aberdeen by headline speaker Martin Green, who successfully led Hull as the City of Culture 2017, as well as Sif Gunnarsdóttir, Director of the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands and Hilary Nicholl, Associate Director of the Look Again Visual Art and Design Festival.
Aberdeen City Council culture spokesperson Cllr Marie Boulton said: “The arts are the driver of and not just the result of a successful place.
“Catalyst Conference is bringing industry leaders from across the globe to Aberdeen when it is at its most vibrant. The discussions that will take place over the two-day conference will shape a series of follow up projects that will influence the arts community locally, but also on a national and international scale.
“The economic landscape of Aberdeen is shifting and as it does we must look to our cultural offering to enhance the changing economy of our city.
“Our vision for the city is to create and foster opportunities to promote and enhance the long-term economic prosperity of Aberdeen and the wider region by attracting visitors, both local and from further afield”.
The conference – which takes place against the backdrop of SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s award winning Festival of Light, from 8-11 February – will explore key arts and cultural catalysts through panel discussions, workshops, tours and discussion groups, as well as feature performances from SPECTRA 2018 festival artists and musicians. Earlier this month SPECTRA announced its line-up of musical performers including Icelandic jazz rockers ADHD, synth-heavy duo Cymbals and Mt. Wolf. Both Hull and Aberdeen have explored cultural links with Nordic countries as part of their respective festival programmes.