There is an urgent need to embed active, creative cultural inclusion into every aspect of our societies, education, health and well-being, economics, skills and jobs. Why is is that creativity and culture what we turn to as the last resort when all else has failed? We know it works, from Cities of Culture, Festival cities to failing schools that have been transformed by becoming arts schools.
The Creative industries grow at twice the rate of the rest of our economy. Study after study has provided evidence and statistics to illustrate the positive impact of creativity and making, the social, cultural and economic value. Ken Robinson wrote All our Futures 20 years ago and is a global advocate for creative learning and educational reform, there have been almost 50 million views of his TED talk. So, what has changed? If feels like we are in reverse on this agenda. Humanity needs us to be in acceleration. Shona McCarthy is the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society – the charity that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.
Originally from County Down, Shona has dedicated her career to championing and developing arts and culture. From 2011 to 2014 she was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, leading on Derry-Londonderry’s transformational year as UK City of Culture, creating and delivering a world-class, citywide cultural programme for 2013. Prior to that she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland leading a team of 40 to oversee international programmes of work across schools, arts and Higher Education to build positive international cultural relations. She was the CEO of Imagine Belfast, heading up Belfast’s bid to be European Capital of Culture. She was Head of Exhibition at the Northern Ireland Film Council and also spent many years as Chief Executive of Cinemagic Film Festival for young people in Belfast; and the Foyle Film Festival in Derry.
In 2007 she was the Northern Ireland recipient of a NESTA cultural leadership award which took her to live and work in India with Seagull Foundation for the Arts in Calcutta, and in 2014 she was Northern Ireland’s recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship. As well as her Fringe commitments, Shona is Chair of Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, and Walk The Plank, a Salford-based Creative agency specialising in spectacular outdoor arts and pyrotechnics. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx