World’s leading culture summit announces contributors to its focus on culture and education

Following last week’s announcement of the Sixth edition of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, the world’s leading gathering of Culture Ministers with artists and practitioners, the Summit has announced more details of the programme for the first full day of the event, a day dedicated to the exploration of Culture & Education. 

Internationally-acclaimed violinist and Director Designate of the Edinburgh International Festival, Nicola Benedetti, will set the tone with a keynote address. Her Foundation has become a world leader in music Education, uniting those who believe that music is integral to a great education and demonstrating ground-breaking teaching by producing and delivering innovative and creative musical experiences that are accessible to all. A second keynote will be given by Deirdre Quarnstrom, whose work has brought the video game Minecraft to mainstream education, reaching millions of students and educators worldwide. Quarnstrom is now Vice President of Education Experiences at Microsoft Education.

Culture & Education will examine the unique role the arts can play in education curricula and explore how the creative and collaborative skills attained through cultural practices develop skills and learning habits essential to life in a cosmopolitan and digitised world. 

The creative classroom is a place where children become investigators and not just consumers of education. The Summit’s workshop-sessions bring Culture Ministers and exponents from around the world together to explore how to make children better learners, while simultaneously equipping them with long-term learning and behavioural habits that will allow them to face adult life as independent and open-minded people.  

Contributing to the conversation on how to build a creative curriculum will be Fairouz Nishanova, who as Director of the Aga Khan Music Initiative, runs interregional music and arts education programmes with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring and artistic production activities – strengthening pluralism in nations challenged by social, political and economic constraints. 

Rosemary Nalden, founder of Buskaid, also joins the Summit to talk about the classical music schools she established in the unlikely Soweto suburbs where her passion for music has been shared with hundreds of township children and transformed lives. Her pupils have gone on to study at some of the UK’s top music schools and launched professional careers in the sector. 

Head of the School and Community Team at the Korea Arts & Culture Education Service, Serin Kim Hong brings 20 years of experience of heading up projects such as International Arts Education Week, El Sistema Korea, Arts-Flower Seeds Schools, and the Asia-Pacific Arts Education Observatory. The aim of the Korea Arts & Culture Education Service is to make arts and culture education accessible for everyone to enjoy. 

Cognitive scientist and author, Professor Guy Claxton is one of the UK’s foremost thinkers on creativity, learning and the brain. His ‘Building Learning Power’ which cultivates strengths necessary to thrive in this current global context, influences educational theory and practice across the world. Guy has spoken before at Edinburgh Culture Summit about the value of arts in the curriculum and makes his return to share further insights as to why the arts should be protected as part of educational systems. 

Sona Jobarteh is a unique and pioneering musical icon of her time whose renown has been rapidly flourishing globally. Born into a Griot family from the Gambia, a tradition that dates back 7 centuries, she is the first female within this tradition to become a professional virtuoso on the Kora. Sona will share her passion and dedication to social development and educational reform in Africa where she is the Founding Director of The Gambia Academy, with the Summit delegates. 

The impact of the Gambia Academy extends beyond its current campus in Kartong. Todd Hoffman, co-director of The Gambia Academy US, will also join the Summit to discuss how the work of the academy places African traditions and cultures at the heart of education.  

Australian-born, Berlin-based violist Tahlia Petrosian enjoys a multi-faceted career as a soloist chamber musician, director of Klassik Underground, creative producer and member of the Gewandhuas Orchestra Leipzig. One of the foremost innovators transforming classical music in the 21st century, she is a much sought-after consultant and creative producer for leading orchestras, arts organisations and artists in Australia and Europe. Tahlia will be joined by Deirdre Quarnstrom and Ministers to discuss how new physical parameters in a digital world, enable educators to reshape and reimagine the classroom.

Summit 2022 will also explore the concept of play, and the creation of immersive environments that engage students’ imaginations, present problems, and reward solutions – teaching essential new skills. 

Among those bringing vast experience of the role of play in development and education are Strategic Director at Education Scotland, Ollie Bray, an experienced school leader and project manager, previously Director for Connecting Play & Education at The LEGO Foundation. Ollie’s passion for improving the lives of children and young people through the development of engaging learning experiences, playful approaches to teaching and learning and innovative learning spaces both physical and digital will bring great insight to the Summit sessions.

Professor Anne Bamford is Strategic Director of Education Skills and Culture for the City of London. Recognised nationally and internationally for her research in education, emerging literacies and visual communication, she is an expert in the international dimension of education. A World Scholar for UNESCO, Anne has conducted major national impact and evaluation studies for the governments of Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Hong Kong, and Norway and among her numerous articles and book chapters, Anne is author of the “Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education” which has been published in five languages and distributed in more than 40 countries. 

The final contributor being announced in the Education strand of the Culture Summit is Camilla Høg from Kulturprinsen Development Centre for Children and Youth Culture, Denmark. Kulturprinsen is a development centre for children and youth culture, which creates projects, builds cross-cutting partnerships, networks and communities in Denmark and abroad. Legekunst (Play Art) is their nationwide programme for children under 6 years in Denmark with a holistic, research-driven approach that builds bridges between children, day care workers, educators, heads of institutions researchers, students, artists and cultural communicators to offer innovative new ways to support young children in their early education. 

The ideas, projects, and passion of all these contributors will combine to make a truly inspirational study of how culture can enrich education, support individuals and communities, and foster a creative and critical thinking mindset in students the world over.  The Edinburgh International Culture Summit offers a unique and truly global opportunity to influence positive change and lasting impact through cultural policy and investment. 

Invitations have now been issued to Culture Ministers across the globe to attend this August, set against the backdrop of many nations’ artists taking part in the Festivals, celebrating 75 years in 2022. Hybrid opportunities are being considered in order to support those unable to travel. The inclusion of a fully integrated youth programme ensures the Summit hears from extraordinary young artists and cultural leaders sharing their vision for the future and inspiring multinational, cross-generational cultural exchange. Young people addressing the Summit will be confirmed in the coming weeks. 

The sixth Edinburgh International Culture Summit will take place from 26th – 28th August 2022 at the Scottish Parliament. / @CultureSummit #edculturesummit