Festivals, Cultural and City Events

1. How can we keep the festival spirit of internationalism and interculturalism alive?

Video: Edinburgh Culture Conversations Event 1
Edinburgh Culture Conversations Event 1


Culture and Festivals

The emergence of Covid-19 has seen many events and festivals taking place from April, either cancelled or postponed. How can we continue to promote and protect the intercultural values festivals bring to cities across the world? And how can we ensure current debate is embedded into future cultural practice?


Jess Brough 

Jessica Brough is a writer, producer and psycholinguistics PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. Jess is the founder of Fringe of Colour – a Scotland-based multi-award-winning arts initiative for Black and Brown people, with its first online arts festival, Fringe of Colour Films, launching on 1st August.

Fergus Linehan 

Fergus Linehan is Festival Director of the Edinburgh International Festival, a world-leading performing arts festival serving an international audience every August. He began his career producing work for independent companies in Dublin before going on to direct the Dublin Theatre Festival. In 2004 he took up the role of Artistic Director of Sydney Festival, before becoming Head of Music at Sydney Opera House in 2010. His next step was as Festival Director of Vivid LIVE until his 2014 move to Edinburgh. 

Chitra Ramaswamy 

Chitra Ramaswamy is an award-winning journalist and author.  Her first book, Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy, was published by Saraband in April 2016. It won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize. She writes mainly for The Guardian, is the restaurant critic for the Scottish edition of The Times, a columnist for the National Trust for Scotland magazine, and she broadcasts regularly for BBC Radio Scotland.

James Smith 

James Smith is Vice Principal International and Professor of African and Development Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He has researched and worked across Africa, working for organisations like Oxfam. His research explores the interplay between science, innovation and development. He is currently writing a book on the history of sleeping sickness research and control.

Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp CBE, FRSA 

Kenneth is Director of The Africa Centre, London.  He began his career as a dancer; as one of the leading dance artists of his generation, he had a 25-year career as a performer, choreographer, teacher and director.  From 2007 to 2016, he was Chief Executive of The Place, the UK’s leading centre for contemporary dance development.

Farooq Chaudhry OBE

Farooq Chaudhry, co-founder and Producer of Akram Khan Company, supports Akram Khan’s artistic ambitions and projects. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged Chaudhry in a list of the world's top hundred cultural actors and entrepreneurs in 2008. Chaudhry also produced for China’s national dance icon Yang Liping and English National Ballet and was awarded an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University for his services to dance. In 2018 he became the Course consultant for the new MA Dance Producing and Management at London Studio Centre and Goldsmiths University. In Sept 2018 he became the Co-Artistic Director of PECDA (Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards) in India. In 2019, Chaudhry was awarded an OBE for his services to Dance and Dance Production and was appointed a Tate Artist Trustee.


1. How can we keep the festival spirit of internationalism and interculturalism alive?

First in the series of discussions to take place on Monday 13th 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.