Ukraine in the focus of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit

Every August Edinburgh International Culture Summit takes place in the premises of the Scottish Parliament. It is a closed, several-day event that welcomes ministers of culture and key experts in the field of culture from around the world.

About the project

As part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture, the Ukrainian Institute and the British Council, in cooperation with the leadership of the Summit, organized a Ukrainian program called “Culture and Freedom”. There were several events dedicated to Ukraine, the post-war restoration of the cultural sphere and the need to rethink the modern world order.  

“Advocating for cultural diversity is a key principle of the Edinburgh Summit and its partners. We strive to present multiple perspectives rather than singular attitudes with an agenda that is deliberately non-partisan and to celebrate the inestimable value of a pluralist world. The invasion of Ukraine has focussed minds internationally on cultural identity and freedom of expression.”


The Summit delegates were welcomed by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, The Rt Hon Alison Johnstone MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland,  John Swinney MSP, the UK’s Prime Minister The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, and Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Arts). The Summit took place from 26 to 28 August 2022. 

The morning of August 26 began with the Cultural Leadership Dialogue. This closed-invite event was attended by Ministers from around the world, a delegation of cultural leaders from Ukraine, with the UK Government representatives. The roundtable discussion was designed to seek practical steps and solutions to rebuild Ukraine’s vibrant cultural sector in the future. 

“Freedom of expression is a principal value guaranteed by the Ukrainian Constitution. The Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine denies our right to be free, to have our own history and culture. Ukrainian artists, creatives and journalists are struggling not only for their country, but for the democratic values of a free world, for cultural diversity and our common future. That’s why we need to unite efforts in supporting Ukrainian culture and media now inside Ukraine.”

The official opening of the Summit

At the official opening of the Summit the prominent novelist, essayist and poet from Ukraine, Oksana Zabuzhko, Heba Alwadi, an alumnus of the Trojan Women Project, and Professor Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO 2009-2017 spoke. Maryna Krut, more famous as KRUTЬ, the renowned Ukrainian singer and songwriter played the bandura, the traditional Ukrainian string instrument, in the Parliament’s Debating Chamber. 

“While the whole of Ukrainian society is affected by the Russian aggression, culture makers are among the most vulnerable groups. Russia’s invasion and other wars and conflicts around the world are an attack on our essential freedoms and the integrity of pan-European and global cultural relations. We must not face these challenges alone.”