Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK represented the Isle of Man at the second Edinburgh International Culture Summit at the Scottish Parliament last week.
The Isle of Man was one of 25 international government delegations brought together with speakers, arts leaders and culture experts from across the world.
According to a statement from the Scottish Parliament, the event has been ‘hailed as a great success by participants and delegates, and recognised as a truly global collaboration on the current day role of culture and the arts’.
The programme featured a line-up of speakers including Nandi Mandela, businesswoman and grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela; Benjamin Barber from the City University of New York, Danielle Cliche, UNESCO - Secretary on Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and Simon Anholt, the world’s leading authority on national image and reputation, and a world leader on ultra-wide scale human engagement.
A plea was heard over the three-day summit for recognition of the importance of the arts and cultural contribution to society. In particular there was a call for culture to be placed at the centre of government policy making and a more unified voice for the arts across the world.
Mr Crookall said: ‘I welcomed the opportunity represent the Isle of Man at such a high-profile gathering of Culture Ministers and culture and arts experts from around the globe.
‘I had really positive discussions with Nandi Mandela; Tricia Marwick, presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament; Illugi Gunnarson, Iceland’s Minister for Education, Science and Culture; Jean Kapata, Minister for Arts and Culture from Zambia; Aileen McKechnie, director of Culture and Heritage Scotland; Joanne Orr, director of Museums Scotland and Alistair Carmichael MP, Secretary of State for Scotland.
‘I hope we will be able to further these links among all nations.
‘There is a demonstrated correlation between having a strong, positive cultural identity and attracting business investment, so I was pleased to take part in discussions on the importance of culture for the economic success of a country.
‘A British Council survey has shown positive influences on a country’s ‘cultural attractiveness’ include not only the presence of culture and historic attractions but also its countryside and landscape, its people and a reputation for being safe, all attributes of the Isle of Man.’
Sir Jonathan Mills, director of the Edinburgh International Festival and programme director of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, said: ‘The theme of the 2014 summit has been somewhat provocative.
‘At a time when economic systems have become forces unto themselves, and struggle to be perceived as either transparent or trustworthy, the thought that the creative outpouring of our civilisations might fill such an ethical vacuum and become a currency of trust seems appropriate, if a little confronting.
‘The Edinburgh International Culture Summit is hosted by a city in which, for almost seventy years, cultural relationships of a most diverse and intense kind have been initiated and nurtured. I hope that from this summit there will emerge a series of practical recommendations that are sensitive, sensible, and above all achievable.’