Open Art, Open Audiences: The Edinburgh Festivals
Arts festivals are all about bringing people together, creating shared experiences and introducing them to cultural gems that they might not otherwise have found. How can festivals make best use of new technology to develop their audiences, enhance the impact of their content and remain relevant in the Information Age? What role can festival data play in the semantic web, and does it have more to offer than just what's on where? How might social platforms, ticketing innovations and mobile applications help audiences to navigate and explore the content available at a major arts festivals? In 2011 we opened our data to the developer community through www.culturehackscotland.com. Culture Hack Scotland was an outstanding event and was one of the strongest ever demonstrations of the value of open data in the arts. Hear how Edinburgh's Festivals Innovation Lab is beginning to answer some of these questions and explore what value the Edinburgh Festivals, a significant test bed environment, can add to the SXSW community.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, and works with the other 11 major festivals in the city through Festivals Edinburgh.
Andrew Coulton is the Administrative Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and a Director of Festivals Edinburgh - the high-level organisation created in 2007 by the Directors of Edinburgh’s 12 major festivals to lead on their joint strategic development and maintain their global competitive edge.
He chairs the Festivals Edinburgh Innovation and Environmental Sustainability collaborative working groups, which bring together staff from across the festivals to identify ways to engage with these important development areas and build a sustainable future for Edinburgh's world-leading festivals.
Before joining the Book Festival, Andrew ran his own business providing production management, lighting design and technical production to theatre and event clients across Scotland.
He has always been excited by the potential of technology to transform both the delivery and the administration of arts and culture, and particularly by possibilities around systems integration and process automation, and has built a range of web and desktop applications to support arts projects.
In his spare time, Andrew continues to enjoy participating in a number of open source software communities, in particular the Kohana PHP5 framework.
Kath M Mainland is a native of Orkney, Scotland. She studied in Glasgow, began her career in the arts in 1991 as administrative assistant at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has worked in and around Edinburgh’s Festivals ever since.
She has worked as a production co-ordinator and event producer of many of Scotland’s major festivals and events, including BBC Music Live, Burns And A’ That, the Champions League Final, the opening of Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh, the MTV European Music Awards, Castle Concerts, and the Beltane Fire Festival. She has been the General Manager of Assembly Theatre, one of the highest profile venues at the Fringe, and was Production Co-Coordinator for Edinburgh’s New Year’s Eve celebration Edinburgh’s Hogmanay before, during, and after the Millennium celebrations.
In January 2005 Kath became General Manager of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and was Administrative Director there until 2009 when she took up the new post of Chief Executive of the Festival Fringe Society. She recruited and heads up the senior management team which has overseen the refocusing of the organisation on its core objectives, implemented a new Business Plan and seen the Fringe grow in size of performers and audiences by 15% in the last two years.
Kath also chairs the board of Festivals Edinburgh, a high-level organisation, created and managed by the directors of Edinburgh’s 12 major Festivals, to take the lead on their joint strategic development.
Kath attended SXSW in 2011 for the first time.