North East's cultural future under spotlight as universities co-host Cultural Summit

North East's cultural future under spotlight as universities co-host Cultural Summit

The University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University have come together to co-host Aberdeen's inaugural Cultural Summit to explore cultural provision in the North East.

The summit, which takes place on Friday 3 March from 10am to 4.30pm at RGU’s Sir Ian Wood Building, will bring together leading cultural organisations, businesses, artists and practitioners active in the local arts and culture scenes.

The event is open to anybody with an interest in cultural vitality of the region and will be streamed live as well as in-person.

As part of the programme, leading external speakers will deliver short speeches to explore cultural provision and opportunities to enhance the North East’s culture, heritage and creative sector. The event will also bring participants together with two round table events to generate ideas about the North East’s cultural offering.

Confirmed speakers on the day include Professor Steve Olivier, Principal and Vice-Chanceller at RGU, Angela Scott, Chief Executive for Aberdeen City Council, Leila Kleineidam from the UK Cabinet Office, Jon Reid, artist pivotal in the Nuart Aberdeen festival, Rachel Grant of Fertile Ground, and Lara Ratnaraja, a Cultural Consultant & Academic from the West Midlands.

The summit will coincide with the launch of vibrant exhibition, ‘Aberdeen Open City’, jointly curate by Sally Reaper, Co-Director Gray’s School of Art’s Look Again creative unit and Associate Professor, Jon Blackwood, from Gray’s School of Art.

Four local artists, including alumni from Gray’s School of Art, will feature at the exhibition including: Marie-Chantal Hamrock, Saoirse Horne, Clare Roberts and Sofya Tagor.  The pop-up exhibition will take place at 1-5 George Street, Schoolhill, and supports the Culture Aberdeen project, led by Gray’s School of Art, to revitalise unused city centre units. It will run from Friday 3 March, with an opening launch at 6pm, until 19 March.

Organisers Dr Jon Blackwood from Gray’s School of Art at RGU and Professor Eleonora Belfiore, from the University of Aberdeen, hope the Cultural Summit will become annual event that will form new visions, ideas and initiatives, and joint working on funding and strategy, to improve cultural provision in North East.

Dr Jon Blackwood said: “The Cultural Summit provides a unique platform for artists, practitioners and policy makers to come together to discuss the crucial role culture plays in Scotland’s economic, environmental and societal success. The event supports RGU’s ongoing commitment to develop the economic, social and cultural sustainability of the region.

“We want to explore the diversity of cultural provision in Aberdeen and to discuss how Aberdeen can grow as a city. Our ambition is to build opportunities for creative practitioners and arts groups so that they can build high quality careers and sustainable arts projects in the North East. The summit is open to anyone, both online and in person, and I would encourage anyone with an involvement in the cultural sector to come along.”

Professor Eleonora Belfiore said: “The Aberdeen Cultural Summit is an opportunity for our two universities to facilitate and curate a public conversation and collective effort within the city to collaboratively develop a creative vision for the Aberdeen.

“This summit will bring together creative practitioners and leading art organisations who will discuss the vitality of the region’s visual arts in all its different forms and provide a forum to discuss innovative ideas for the future

“We hope it will have a positive impact on the future of our city providing an important platform to share ideas and ambitions for what we want to do next, and what help we will need to get there.”

During this hybrid event, people can join the conference on 3 March at 10am via Zoom, meeting code  ID: 891 6223 3619 Passcode: 148316.

For more information, please visit: RGU Events – Aberdeen Cultural Summit

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