Festival Director Fergus Linehan on art and creativity

A change in perception of the idea of creativity and the challenges and opportunities that this presents is at the heart of this lecture from Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan.

Date posted

7 April 2016


With 73 per cent of millennials identifying as creative, the definition of creativity has broadened to include commercial innovation and ideas. It is against this backdrop that Linehan asks: “Where will art and the arts sit in this brave new world? Are they going to move into the centre of our economy and society alongside creativity? Or are they still going to be perceived as other?”

Linehan clearly urges us to embrace the democratisation of creativity: “The move of creativity to the centre of popular thinking represents a huge opportunity for the arts to play an expanded role in public life.”

Looking closer to home at how this plays out in the world of festivals, Linehan points out that, “With so many cultural creative juices flowing, people are less inclined to go to white, middle class, cultural gatekeepers to be told what art is and why they should appreciate it.” He elaborates on this to say that, “Curation is becoming a more collaborative process between artists, institutions, curators and audience members.”

Watch the full lecture

So who is doing it well? Linehan highlights a great early adopter, striking the right balance between art and creativity, as Manchester International Festival, which he says “established itself as a festival with an umbilical connection to the zeitgeist”. His praise of another festival supports his view that “Creativity has become our primary asset. The best ideas rather than the best institutions win. It’s the ultimate meritocracy.”

Fergus Linehan quotes