Festivals, Cultural and City Events

2. What do we need to do to plan for future festivals and cultural events?

Video: ECC Week 2
Edinburgh Culture Conversations Week 2

Culture and Audiences

How quickly will audiences feel safe to come back together to experience cultural events? What will need to happen societally and operationally to enable audiences to put their trust back into the arts?What kinds of strategic interventions do cities need to plan and reanimate cultural life?


Andy Arnold

Andy Arnold is a theatre director, deviser and writer.  In 1991 he became the Founder and first Artistic Director of The Arches - a converted arts space under Glasgow Central Station. Since 2008 he has been Artistic Director of Tron Theatre Glasgow. He has also been director of Theatre Workshop Edinburgh and the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.

Susan Deacon CBE

Susan Deacon is Chair of the Edinburgh Festivals Forum, the strategic commission which brings together leaders from the major organisations with a stake in the success of Edinburgh’s Festivals. Susan's career has spanned a diversity of leadership roles across the private, public and third sectors, as well as higher education and national politics. She has more than three decades' experience of working at the interface between research, policy and practice and in the development of strategic partnerships and collaborations at both city and national level. 

Fiona Gibson

Fiona Gibson joined Capital Theatres as the Chief Executive in April 2020, having previously been the CEO at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.  Passionate about the arts, she believes theatre not only brings joy and aspiration to people but also plays a central role in place making and inspiring creative lives.

Shona McCarthy

Shona McCarthy joined the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society as Chief Executive in March 2016. She has championed Edinburgh’s Fringe as the world’s leading open access, performing arts festival and founded on the principle of freedom of expression. From 2011-2014 she was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, leading on Derry - Londonderry’s transformational year as UK City of Culture. Prior to that she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland.  She also spent many years as Chief Executive of Cinemagic Film Festival for young people, Belfast; and the Foyle Film Festival, Derry; and was Head of Exhibition at the Northern Ireland Film Council. Shona has 25 years’ experience of working in senior leadership positions and was awarded a prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship for Innovation in 2014 and a NESTA cultural leadership award which took her to live and work in India.

Gavin Reid

Gavin Reid is CEO of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Chair of the Association of British Orchestras and Vice-Chair of IMPACT Scotland. He began his career as a trumpeter, before becoming General Manager of Manchester Camerata and then Director of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. A former Governor of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland he was awarded Fellowship of the RCS in 2018.

Joshua Ryan-Saha 

Data Driven Innovation Lead for Tourism, Festivals & Infrastructure at the University of Edinburgh.  Joshua leads on the application of data-driven innovation to the tourism and festival sector as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. Joshua was the Skills Lead at The Data Lab where he led data science skills programmes. He joined from Nesta where he established the £10m Longitude Prize.



2. What do we need to do to plan for future festivals and cultural events?

Second in the series of discussions to take place on Monday 20th July at 6pm. Produced by the University of Edinburgh's Festivals, Culture and City Events Team and hosted by Director, Janet Archer. Recording of the event available here now.