Creative Informatics is pleased to support the publication of Back to the Future, the third in Morvern Cunningham’s series of Edinburgh pamphlets exploring their vision of preferable futures for the city’s cultural sector. This follows “You’ll Have Had Your City?” published in 2020 and Edinburgh Reimagined in 2021.
Through their writing, Morvern reasserts the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic for Edinburgh’s cultural sector as a means of encouraging the city to work collectively to “go back to future thinking” while making a case for Edinburgh’s cultural leadership to challenge existing power structures and address inequities in access to culture through finding new ways to look forwards. By investing in and caring for people and communities; preserving digital and hybrid programmes; and making time for evaluation and reflection, Morvern asserts that hopeful futures for an equitable and sustainable cultural sector are possible.
Back to the Future sits alongside a series of work by Creative Informatics researchers, in collaboration with cultural sector stakeholders, to look at ways of imagining equitable and sustainable events and work around new framings of digital and data-driven festivals and festivals economies. In 2022, FestForward was developed through interviews, conversations and workshops with individuals and organisations working in the region’s cultural sector and told stories about possible futures – the good, the bad and the ugly – to stimulate conversations about how we work together in the present to discover and develop equitable and sustainable approaches to the application of digital and data-driven technologies.
Support for this independent publication is part of Creative Informatics’ wider engagement with the cultural sector in Edinburgh and part of its commitment to help cultural organisations to unlock the potential of working with digital technologies and data-driven approaches, while also exploring the social, cultural, economic and political challenges that this can bring. Previous support across the cultural sector includes our Challenge Projects strand, as well as collaborative research projects including online programmes in 2020; the creation of an AI-generated festival programme, ImprovBot; and ongoing cultural mapping work with Edinburgh Culture and Communities Mapping Project, currently supported by DDI.
Morvern Cunningham is a freelance creative based in Leith, Edinburgh. They are Creative Lead on the Culture Collective Programme Lead team and co-lead on the Creative Community Hubs project.
Back to the Future Illustration: HAM (@hamillustration)