PRESS RELEASE Festivals Edinburgh director announced

Mon 04 Dec 2006

FESTIVALS EDINBURGH
The Association of Edinburgh’s Festivals

Monday 4 December 2006

For immediate use

Festivals Edinburgh director announced

Festivals Edinburgh today announced Faith Liddell, one of the most widely experienced and respected figures in the Scottish arts world, as the inaugural director of the organisation.

The appointment has been warmly welcomed by the festivals’ partners and stakeholders, including the Scottish Executive. Patricia Ferguson, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, today said ‘Edinburgh is the greatest Festival city in the world, famed for its diversity and excellence. The appointment of the first director of Festivals Edinburgh is an important step. It signals the commitment of all those involved to work together to take forward the Thundering Hooves recommendations, in order to safeguard Edinburgh’s pre-eminent position.’

Festivals Edinburgh is a brand new, high-level organisation created by the directors of Edinburgh’s festivals, to look at additional, over-arching areas of mutual interest, and to help ensure Edinburgh and Scotland’s continued pre-eminence as the world’s leading festival destination.

The part-time post, funded by the festivals themselves, is seen as crucial in helping to shape thinking and strategy for the collective future of the festivals, and in particular to co-ordinate initiatives coming out of the Thundering Hooves report.

Faith Liddell has worked in a wide range of key strategic and creative roles across literature, theatre, music, film and visual arts for the last fifteen years. A former director of Dundee Contemporary Arts, she has worked with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, collaborated with the Edinburgh International Film Festival and was director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival for three years. Now a leading arts consultant, her current roles include being Executive Producer of award-winning theatre company Suspect Culture, working on the world’s biggest short story prize and international cultural project development.

Faith Liddell today said, ‘I absolutely relish the opportunity to take on this essential role and to be working with the rich and unrivalled range of Edinburgh’s Festivals, and their partners and funders. I know I can rely not only on the strength and ambition of each individual Festival but on a genuinely exciting collaborative approach to future development, unlike anywhere else in the world, which will bring enormous benefits to the Festivals, to their audiences and their artists and to the city as a whole.’

Cllr Donald Anderson, Executive Member for Sport, Culture & Tourism, City of Edinburgh Council, said ‘I am delighted with Faith Liddell's appointment. It is an excellent decision and the calibre of the candidate reflects positively on the importance placed on the Festivals Edinburgh organisation. Faith is held in very high regard, and her appointment demonstrates the very real progress being made on the Thundering Hooves recommendations. I wish her every success in her new role.’

Jim Tough, Director of Arts, Scottish Arts Council, said ‘The appointment of a Director for Festivals Edinburgh is a significant development for this organisation, which has been formed to build on the collaborative working of the festivals in Edinburgh. In the context of Thundering Hooves and the challenges facing Edinburgh’s festivals to remain world-leaders, we welcome this initiative and commend the commitment from the individual festivals that has made this possible. Scottish Arts Council looks forward to working with Faith in this role.’

David Williams, Chief Executive, EventScotland, said ‘Edinburgh’s reputation as a festival city is world-renowned and the appointment of the first Festivals Edinburgh Director is a significant step forward in developing the infrastructure that will sustain that pre-eminent position’.

ENDS

NOTES

Festivals Edinburgh
Festivals Edinburgh is a mechanism for joint working on issues of importance to the whole group including lobbying, advocacy, joint marketing, long term improvement of the operational infrastructure, strategic leadership regarding the festivals potential as a cultural force and for ensuring ongoing economic impact.

The group of festivals was brought together in 1999 as a result of the City of Edinburgh Council's Joint Festivals Strategy initiative. Since then the joint festivals and their funders have identified the need to work together, most crucially, in the interests of maintaining Edinburgh's pre-eminence as a festival city in an increasingly competitive international arena.

The recently published study ‘Thundering Hooves’ sets out the challenges to be met in achieving this. A priority for the new Director of Festivals Edinburgh will be implementing the resulting action plan on behalf of all the member festivals. Festivals Edinburgh is at present funded by subscription from its members.

Each individual festival retains full artistic and operational autonomy and independence. The organisation and the new post have been created to look at areas of strategic interest for the future.

Thundering Hooves
The Thundering Hooves study was commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council in partnership with Festivals Edinburgh, the City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Executive, EventScotland and Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian. It is the first full comparative assessment of the extent to which cities throughout the world are investing in festivals as engines of economic growth, urban regeneration, cultural tourism, quality of life and more. It has 14 recommendations designed to ensure Edinburgh remains the world leader in the field. Festivals Edinburgh has identified four key priorities from this list including:

• The formation of a high level forum focusing on the longer term health of Edinburgh as a Festival City and the investment strategy required to sustain its position cost effectively.

• The development of a joint festival, national and international, marketing strategy over and above the individual festival’s marketing plans.

• Strategic investment in appropriately costed internationally competitive programming.

• A development plan for the city infrastructure (including ticketing and venues) required for the success of the Festivals.

Economic Impact
In 2005 a major economic impact study showed that Edinburgh’s festivals contribute £170m to Edinburgh and £184m to the Scottish economy and general 3,900 FTE jobs. The combined audiences of the festivals is over 3.1million attendances.

Current Membership of Festivals Edinburgh
Bank of Scotland Children's International Theatre Festival
Edinburgh Art Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival
Edinburgh International Science Festival
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh’s Winter Festivals

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