News Story

Edinburgh International Festival’s former Managing Director Joanna Baker was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

Joanna Baker joined the Edinburgh International Festival in 1992 as the Marketing and Public Affairs Director, going on to become the Managing Director in 2006. During her 26 committed years in the office she worked alongside three Festival Directors to take the reputation of the International Festival as the world’s leading performing arts festival to new heights.

She has made major contributions to the wider cultural life of Scotland, both through her roles at the International Festival and through her service on the boards of numerous organisations including Creative Industries Federation, Queen Margaret University, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland), British Arts Festivals Association and as Chair of the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Festival Director Fergus Linehan said: “I know I speak for my fellow Festival Directors, Sir Brian McMaster and Sir Jonathan Mills and all who have worked with her, when I say that Joanna Baker is hugely deserving of this recognition. Joanna’s contribution to the Festival was immense delivering outstanding management, astute communications, creative programming and critical advocacy over 26 years.”

Joanna Baker said: “This is a wonderful and unexpected surprise. I have the pleasure and privilege of working alongside many amazing colleagues, artists and cultural organisations; their creativity and passion are a constant joy and inspiration. The work of the Edinburgh International Festival, National Youth Choir of Scotland and many others makes a real difference and this honour is also for all of them.”