Imagining Future Culture in Edinburgh

In this article

EFI is sponsoring a hybrid event to collectively reimagine Edinburgh’s cultural ecosystem and its future.

The coronavirus pandemic shut Edinburgh’s arts and cultural sector down completely overnight. Now we are emerging from successive lockdowns, the sector is beginning to reopen, and we are approaching what can only be a much-reduced Festival offer this August.

At this key moment in the city’s development, EFI, with partner CDCS (Centre for Data Culture and Society) is supporting an event that offers participants the opportunity to collectively reimagine Edinburgh’s cultural ecosystem and its future.

Join online or in-person for the live broadcast from Leith Theatre on 1 September

Future Culture Edinburgh is a hybrid event intended to inspire creative thinking and collective action towards a more equitable and inclusive future of culture as we begin the journey to recovery post-pandemic.

The Future Culture Edinburgh event is hosted by independent creative ex-producer Morvern Cunningham and Vikki Jones, PhD Researcher at Edinburgh College of Art. Event hosts and invited speakers will be joined by a mix of online and in-person participants, held in the main auditorium of Leith Theatre and broadcast online via Zoom.

The afternoon will take the form of provocations from speakers, workshop activities using the whiteboarding tool Miro, and breakouts to establish collective, solutions-based approaches to addressing challenges and seizing opportunities for the nourishment and benefit of Edinburgh’s cultural ecosystem.


Future Culture Edinburgh – 1st September 2021, 2-5.30pm (doors, virtual & physical, 1.30pm)

Free entry, sign up via the Eventbrite event page:

Speaker Biographies

Rob Hopkins 

Rob Hopkins is co-founder of Transition Network and Transition Town Totnes, and author of several books, including ‘The Transition Handbook‘, ‘The Power of Just Doing Stuff’ and most recently, ‘From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want‘. He presents the ‘From What If to What Next’ podcast, and does a lot of public speaking and writing. He is also a founder Director of the New Lion Brewery in Totnes, the UK’s first 100% community-owned brewery, and of Totnes Community Development Society. He holds a Phd from the University of Plymouth, as well as two honorary doctorates, from University of the West of England and from Namur in Belgium. His blog is and in his spare time he gardens, draws and makes lino prints.


Leah Black

Leah Black is Chief Executive at WHALE Arts in Wester Hailes, South West Edinburgh. WHALE Arts, entering its 30th year of working in the area, is a community-led cultural hub and community-anchor organisation working from a purpose built centre and working across the area co-producing creative programmes with local people for adults, children and young people. Leah has been working in her current role for the last 3 years. Previous to this role, Leah worked in the Creative Industries Team at Creative Scotland as a craft specialist having trained and worked as a jeweller and silversmith. Before working in a funding role with Creative Scotland, Leah was Director of Upland CIC in Dumfries and Galloway and has been a board member of Craft Scotland, The Stove Network and is currently a Warden of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh.


Rosie Priest

Rosie is a queer and neurodivergent interdisciplinary artist and researcher based in Edinburgh. Rosie graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2009 with a degree in Art History and has since been carving out a career exploring the arts through creative engagement practices. Having spent time freelancing for organisations such as The Edinburgh Art Festival, WHALE Arts, Heart of Glass, Polmont Prison and The Edinburgh International Book Festival, Rosie returned to university in 2017 to study an MA in Arts, Festival and Cultural Management, writing her research thesis on the social impact of participatory art practices and continued their studies in an MSc of applied social research culminating in a thesis exploring the institutionalisation of communities within Scottish cultural venues. 


Arusa Quereshi

Arusa is an award-winning writer, journalist and editor from Edinburgh, and a passionate advocate for diversity and accessibility within arts and culture. She is the former Editor of The List and writes mostly about music, most recently Flip the Script a book about women in UK hip hop, published by 404 Ink. Her work has appeared in Bella Caledonia, Clash, The Guardian, GoldFlakePaint, Time Out and more. Arusa currently sits on the board of the Scottish Music Centre and is a member of the SMIA’s newly formed Advisory Group. 


Oli Savage

Oli is one of the founding members of the Future Fringe campaign and the Artistic Director of The Greenhouse, the UK’s first zero-waste theatre. Through the power of performance and storytelling, the company helps people build personal, emotional connections with the climate crisis. Then, through hands-on workshops and events, they share the skills people need to take action. Artistically, Oli makes intimate, site-specific work, and is particularly interested in myth, magic, and fairytales. When he’s not directing, he likes being outside, riding public transport, and playing table-top games. 

Josie Dale-Jones 

Josie Dale-Jones is co-director for Staging Change. She is also a theatre maker, producer & performer. Josie mostly works under ThisEgg. ThisEgg is Josie who self-produces, co-creates and performs shows with a variety of artistic collaborators. Responding to the world we are living in, ThisEgg invites audiences to imagine a potentially better future. ThisEgg’s work is firmly rooted in the hope that theatre can be a motivational force for social change.


Morgan Currie

Morgan Currie is a Lecturer in Data and Society in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include open and administrative data, automation in the welfare state, data justice, GIS and cultural mapping. She leads the Culture & Communities Mapping Project and co-leads the Digital Social Science Research Cluster at Centre for Data, Culture & Society.



For further information, contact event hosts Morvern Cunningham and Vikki Jones via or

Future Culture Edinburgh is supported by the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) with additional support from the Centre for Data, Culture & Society at The University of Edinburgh.

Event speakers will be announced one week before the event is due to take place.

Join us to challenge, create, and make change happen.