Culture for all, Peace-building and Fabulous Festivals. A Lecture by Shona McCarthy

Lecture series: Theories and practices of cultural leadership
19 November 2018


Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive at the biggest performing arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe, will talk about her belief that individual and collective creativity and exposure to creative experiences can make the world a better place.

Shona McCarthy was born in Northern Ireland in 1968, the year that the violent conflict known as the Troubles started. She developed an interest in, and love of, creativity and art at a young age. Music, books and films quickly became more than just entertainment, they provided a space where she could look at things from different perspectives, be part of an alternate identity and develop understanding and empathy for others.

She has spent thirty years at the Head of major cultural projects. She was the Director of Derry-Londonderry’s year as the first UK City of Culture. A year long, city-wide, transformational year of cultural activity, whose legacy was to bring divided communities closer together.

She is now Chief Executive at the biggest performing arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe, which last year had sixty-two countries participating in over 50,000 performances of over 3,500 shows in 300 venues.  She will illustrate how creative experiences can make the world a better place through her lived experience from Derry and Belfast to Edinburgh.

The lecture is a part of the series “Theories and practices of cultural leadership” organized by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art together with the Cultural and Education section of the British Embassy in Moscow.


Shona McCarthy is the Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society—the charity that underpins the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.  Originally from County Down, Shona has dedicated her career to championing and developing arts and culture.  From 2011 to 2014 she was Chief Executive of the Culture Company, leading on Derry-Londonderry’s transformational year as UK City of Culture, creating and delivering a world-class, citywide cultural program for 2013.  Prior to that she was Director of the British Council Northern Ireland leading a team of forty to oversee international programs of work across schools, arts, and Higher Education to build positive international cultural relations.



Free admission with advance registration.

 The lecture will be hel d in English with interpreting into Russian.

 The lecture will be accessible for deaf and hard of hearing visitors and will be interpreted into Russian Sign Language.


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