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23/08/2012

'Linking Edinburgh to Europe through the Arts' at the Edinburgh Festival of Politics

In conjunction with the European Movement in Scotland and the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, on Saturday 18th August the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh hosted a discussion event entitled 'Linking Scotland to Europe through the Arts', at the Edinburgh Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament. The event was chaired by Struan Stevenson MEP and featured two of Scotland's greatest exponents of the export and import of cultural and artistic links: Prof Richard Demarco and Alexander Moffat.

Mr Moffat argued that one cannot fully appreciate Scottish art without understanding the European context. He said that he and Prof. Demarco had discussed a number of times how instructive the Edinburgh Festival was in Europe and the important contribution the Festival had made to European culture.  He concluded: "Scotland without Europe? Forget it!"

For his part, Prof Demarco, who has attended every Edinburgh Festival since its inception, gave an inspiring account of the origins and development of the Festival through his own life. Looking back on the origins of the Festival, he summarised: "Art makes war on war." Coming up to the present day, he spoke about a production of Macbeth celebrating the 600 year anniversary of the University of St Andrews, featuring students as the cast: students who nowadays come from all over Europe and the wider world. He also revealed that the Demarco archive would be exhibited in Poland in 2013.

Among the audience were a number of MSPs, including Christina Mackelvie, Chair of the Scottish Parliament's Committee on European and External Relations, and Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Relations. In a few words at the beginning of the session, Mrs Hyslop referred to the Culture Summit hosted by the Scottish Government in mid-August, which was attended by, among others, the European Commissioner for Education and Culture Androulla Vassiliou. She said that politicians could not lead the development of culture, but must listen to and learn from artists.

The event was covered by Summerhall TV: the short film can be viewed here. To find out more about the Festival of Politics 2012 and a roundup of the action go to parliament TV.