What’s this about?

Edinburgh is recognised as one of the most successful cultural cities in the world – an extraordinary architectural heritage, vibrant festivals and events, significant venues and collections, and home to a diverse and inventive range of artists and innovators.

What makes a culturally successful city, and how does it remain so? Whose responsibility is it? Who measures the success? What are the challenges for those involved at the sharp end – the artists, companies, venues, and funders, who make things happen? How does it remain relevant to those who want to participate, to learn, or enjoy?

There are many definitions of cultural success – the computer games startup, the community theatre company, the high-profile city-centre celebration, the primary school animation, the public art project. And there are many thousands of people that are participating in, developing and delivering cultural activity every day.

A single agency or policy document can’t encapsulate or respond to the detailed range of needs that each instance might require. But we believe by identifying areas of shared interest we can work collectively to develop and improve the city’s cultural life – Desire Lines is our way of inviting your thoughts, ideas and experience to help articulate this common purpose.

Why now?

Those involved on the ground are best placed to know what makes something work, and to appreciate the challenges and opportunities involved in a way that Policy and Strategy documents can sometimes miss. We want Desire Lines to cut across the conventional policy-making route and provide a direction informed by experience; an authentic and clear view on how the city’s success could be even greater.

The timing for this is right: the City of Edinburgh Council is reviewing the city’s cultural policy and we think it’s an ideal opportunity to feed in the views of as many people as possible that are most directly involved in providing, and enjoying, the city’s cultural activity and to help inform how its most important public body helps contribute to maintaining, encouraging and improving Edinburgh’s cultural life.

Who are we?

We are a small group of representatives from some of the city’s cultural venues, organisations and networks who are working voluntarily to make Desire Lines happen. We are independent of the City of Edinburgh Council but have been asked by them to ensure that the response we collate through Desire Lines is the key contribution to their consultation process, and representative of a significant voice in the city.

Your thoughts

Desire Lines is an evolving project, which aims to show our pride in the city and use the collective imagination of people who live in Edinburgh and of those who love it, to develop the city’s cultural direction for the better. We want to hear from you.

There are many views on culture in Edinburgh – from the service industries, education providers, and audience – and each person may have several different perspectives they can bring. We’d like to hear as many as possible. What do you love about Edinburgh and its cultural life? What are your insights into how the city could be even more culturally successful? What are your ideas on how the city’s cultural life can continue to flourish, to inspire, teach, entertain, and to contribute to quality of life.

You can get involved online or in person, and of course we’d appreciate if you could share this opportunity with as many of your friends and colleagues as you can.

What happens now?

We will create as many opportunities as we can for your views to reach us – there will be some live events where you can contribute in person, and this online opportunity will remain open until early 2015.

Anyone who doesn’t have access to the internet can visit their local library, who will provide free supported access.

We hope to provide a contribution that represents the views we receive by Feb 2015, for the City of Edinburgh Council to consider between March and May 2015.

We really look forward to hearing from you.