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Cultural Strategy Diversity Programme

A series of activities and initiatives has been developed to best understand and respond to the needs and ambitions of local ethnically diverse artists and creatives. These have offered networking, exchange, collaboration and professional development opportunities for over 400 individuals and organisations who have attended monthly meetings, online gatherings and training sessions since September 2019.

The programme also provides guidance and training to local arts and culture organisations to support them in their efforts in creating more diverse and inclusive boards, teams and working environments. It continues to build platforms for dialogue and partnership working between ethnically diverse artists and creatives, arts and culture, and community organisations.

The three main programme strands include Engagement and Networking Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion Fund, and Professional Development Programme. Please find more information below. 

To contact The City of Edinburgh Council’s Diversity Officer, Beata Skobodzinska, please email

Engagement and Networking Opportunities

Regular monthly BAME Artists and Creatives meetings were hosted between September 2019 and February 2020 to provide a safe space to address issues relevant to the experiences of minority ethnic creative practitioners based in Edinburgh. To register for the upcoming sessions, please register to attend Artistic Identities events on Eventbrite.

Updates from monthly, quarterly and 1:1 meetings can be found online

Edinburgh BAME Network Email Service (currently subscribed to by over 200 members, including artists and creatives, arts and culture organisations, and community venues and organisations) launched in December 2019 has served as a platform for exchanging information surrounding professional development training and career opportunities, board membership opportunities, funding opportunities, calls for project partnerships and engagement opportunities, and so on. 

Edinburgh BAME Artists and Creatives Facebook Group (currently subscribed to by over 440 members) launched in October 2019 has served as a platform for the members to share their projects and ideas, promote engagement opportunities and better engage with one another. 

Edinburgh Multicultural Festival hosted its first edition in October 2019 at which it promoted more than 30 minority ethnic artists and ensembles. The 2019 Edinburgh Multicultural Festival Report is available online.

Edinburgh Multicultural Festival offered an exciting online programme throughout late 2020 and early 2021. A unique selection of artists across artforms, ages and ethnicities graced the digital screens presenting their original work. The online programme is available on the Edinburgh Multicultural Festivals’ YouTube channel

2019 Festive Gathering – Industry Showcase Event hosted at the Church Hill Theatre in November 2019. The event gathered BAME artists and creatives, arts and culture organisations’ representatives, funders, as well as local and national government officers. It provided a performance and display platform for 13 local creative practitioners (including. poets, writers, musicians, vocalists, film makers, visual artists and theatre makers) and was commended for the opportunities it created for industry members to meet and engage with quality programme showcasing diverse talent in Edinburgh. 

Discussion Panels on Diversity in Arts and Culture at Edinburgh College in 2019 and 2021 hosted by the Diversity Officer and joined by ethnically diverse industry representatives including  Ashwin Rodrigues (Music and Dance Artist), Harriet Mould (Press & PR Manager, The Lyceum), Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh (Auteur), Briana Pegado (Fringe of Colour), Eliza Kesuma (Textile Artist), Fin Ross Russell (Theatre Practitioner) and Courtenay Drakos (Lighting Technician) addressed visibility and representation of ethnically diverse artists and diverse narratives. 

Online Directory of Edinburgh’s Ethnically Diverse Artists and Creatives is currently in development. This user-friendly tool will promote local ethnically diverse artists and creatives and allows programmers, curators and other artists and creatives to access information on creative practice and contact details with the aim of encouraging greater collaboration and partnership across the arts and culture sector.  

Professional Development Programme

Second Edition May – August 2021

Following the successful delivery and positive feedback of the first edition the Professional Development Programme, delivered as part of the Culture Service’s Diversity Programme, we are delighted to announce the second edition of the programme. A series of online workshops, webinars and networking meetings is offered ethnically diverse artists and creatives between May and August 2021 with the aim of improving opportunities and connections in mind.

Bespoke workshops and webinars will explore a range of topics, including: Funding and Fundraising with Lorna Duguid and Helen Trew (Creative Scotland), Giles Agis (Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival), and Flore Cosquer (Scottish Documentary Institute); PR & Comms with Arusa Qureshi and Halina Rifai; Digital Marketing with Jeda Pearl Lewis; Failspace with Prof David Stevenson (Queen Margaret University); Producing and Programming with Katie Queen (The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society); as well as Networking Meetings connecting Edinburgh arts and culture organisations and ethnically diverse creatives.

All events in this year's programme can be booked on Eventbrite.

First Edition | September – December 2020

The Professional Development Training Programme was developed as part of the Culture Service Diversity Programme in response to the needs identified by local artists and creatives at industry meeting sessions hosted by the Council’s Culture Service's Diversity Officer.

The first edition of this bespoke training offered ethnically diverse artists and creatives an opportunity to further their knowledge and skills in Governance with Dr David Stevenson (Queen Margaret University) and Catriona Reynolds (Arts and Business Scotland); Business Management with Briana Pegado (formerly Creative Edinburgh); Leadership with Asif Khan (The Scottish Poetry Library); Working internationally with Isabel Moura Mendes (British Council Scotland); and Storytelling in Film with Samir Mehanovic (Paradiso Films).

For more information about the first edition of the programme, please view the programme report online.  

Funding and Resources

Collaboration, Research & Development Fund 2020/21

The Diversity & Inclusion (Collaboration, Research & Development) Fund was aimed at supporting independent artists and creatives who wished to further their creative activity in partnership with other freelancers and continue collaborations, develop new projects or promote individual practice via digital media. Project grants were awarded by an independent Panel consisting of Briana Pegado of Fringe of Colour, Harriet Mould of The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Sanjay Lago (Independent Practitioner) and Veronique AA Lapeyre of Craft Scotland/Zanana Project, as part of The City of Edinburgh Council Flexible Fund assessment and awards process.  
More information about these successful projects including artists’ profiles, related websites and promotional videos can be viewed from the document below.

Diversity and Inclusion Fund 2020/21

A new Flexible Fund created by the Culture Service at the City of Edinburgh Council supports local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Artists and Creatives in furthering their performing and visual arts projects contributes to a greater visibility of Edinburgh’s diverse cultures. 2 projects were awarded grants of up to £20,000, 6 of up to £10,000 and 2 of up to £5,000. 

The panel consisting of Asif Khan (The Scottish Poetry Library), Ethelinda Lashley-Scott (Performing Arts Programme Leader, Edinburgh College) and Naomi Shoba (Diversity Officer, Glasgow LIVE!) recommended 9 projects ranging from music and theatre production, to film making, to professional development programmes and to BAME community engagement arts and culture activities for funding.

More information about these successful projects including artists and organisations’ profiles, related websites and promotional videos can be viewed from the document below.