News Story

Today details are announced for Power, Gender and the Arts, an afternoon of debate, discussion and performance that will explore the history and reality of power in the creative industries.

Power, Gender and the Arts is a first time collaboration between the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh’s Art, Book, Film and Fringe Festivals, alongside the actor’s union Equity and the Musician’s Union, with support from Edinburgh Trade Union Council and Scottish Trade Unions.

Taking place at the International Festival’s HQ The Hub on Friday 10 August from 1pm – 5pm, the event brings together performers, producers, activists and cultural workers to investigate where power really lies and what needs to be done to ensure that the arts and creative industries embrace and reflect the full range of talents and experiences.

Co-curated and chaired by Catherine Mayer – journalist, author and co-founder and president of the Women’s Equality Party – the event will welcome participants from across the arts and creative industries for an afternoon of debate and discussion.

Panelists include actor and Equity president Maureen Beattie, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland Jackie Wylie, film producer Alison Owen whose credits include Suffragette, filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach, whose credits include The Levelling, and political advisor-turned-comedian Ayesha Hazarika.

Author and Journalist Chitra Ramaswamy also joins the line-up alongside writer and curator Layla-Roxanne Hill. Naomi Pohl, the first female Assistant General Secretary of the Music Union, will be on the panel, alongside Ruth McCarthy who helms the Outburst Queer Arts Festival in Northern Ireland.

Power, Gender and the Arts will be broken into three areas of discussion that explore the gatekeepers of culture, how funding determines cultural output, and the barriers that people face in accessing and working in the arts.

The debates will be punctuated by performative provocations, and the panel will invite voices from the floor, including invited guests from the cultural sphere, politics and the media, to further explore questions of representation and value in society and culture.

The event aims to identify key outcomes, targets and mechanisms for change for the Festivals and other cultural institutions to work towards. Talking about the partnership, Edinburgh International Festival Managing Director Joanna Baker said: ‘Edinburgh in August plays host to creative practitioners and thinkers from every part of our industry. It is the ideal setting for bringing many different voices together to explore how to achieve positive change in collaboration with colleagues across the Festivals and Trade Unions.’

Talking about the event, co-curator and chair Catherine Mayer said: ‘I am delighted to curate and lead an event that for the first time brings together the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Our collective aim is to uncover the structural barriers to female participation across culture and through debates and artistic provocations to deliver, on the day, a manifesto for progress.’