The 2006 Arts Conference will feature plenary session addresses by noted artists, writers, curators, and cultural policymakers, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Garden Conversation Sessions

Main speakers will make formal 30 minute presentations in the plenary sessions. They will also participate in 60 minute Garden Conversation sessions at the same time as ongoing parallel sessions. These sessions are entirely unstructured - a chance to meet the plenary speaker and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Keynote Speakers

This year, our invited speakers include distinguished invited guests from the Edinburgh Festivals and members of our international advisory board who will address the Arts Conference on selected conference themes. With focus on our overarching conference theme of Arts of Engagement, keynote speakers will speak from their leadership roles in such fields as curatorial practice, festival direction, visual arts, cultural heritage, and arts policy.

The Speakers

  • Sir Brian McMaster

  • Brian McMaster has been Director of the Edinburgh International Festival since October 1991. 2006 is his last year as Director. Born in Hertfordshire, Brian McMaster read law at Bristol University and Strasbourg University and qualified as a solicitor. In 1967 he studied on the first Arts Council of Great Britain's course in Arts Administration and subsequently joined EMI Records for five years as a member of their International Classical Division. In 1973 he went to English National Opera as Controller of Opera Planning and three years later joined Welsh National Opera as Managing Director, where he remained until 1991. During the period 1984-89 he also served as Artistic Director to Vancouver Opera. Brian McMaster was appointed Director of the Edinburgh International Festival in October 1991.

    He is currently Chairman of the National Opera Studio, and a member of the Arts Council of England. He has served as a judge for the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition since its inception. Brian McMaster was awarded the CBE in 1987 and a Knighthood in the 2003 New Year Honours. He has received honorary doctorates from Bristol University, University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, University of Glasgow and Napier University. As well as leading the Edinburgh festival, Sir Brian also sits on the board of the Arts Council of England, and is chairman of the National Opera Studio in London.

    Source: BBC

  • Antonio Eligio (Tonel)

  • Tonel was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. He graduated with a degree in art history from the Facultad de Artes y Letras, Universidad de La Habana, Cuba, 1982. His work as a visual artist has been exhibited in Cuba since 1973, and internationally since the early 1980’s. His most recent one-person show includes, Conversación con "La primera carga...", Galería La Casona, Havana, (2003); Tonel, Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, California, (2002); and Lessons of Solitude, Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, (2000).

    He has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute (2001), and he has been a visiting artist/lecturer at the Center for Latin American Studies, Stanford University (2001-03). His articles and essays on Cuban and Latin American contemporary art have been published regularly in catalogues, magazines, and books in Cuba and abroad, and have been translated into English, German, Dutch and Portuguese. Tonel was awarded the prize for art criticism by the Cuban Section of the International Art Critics Association (AICA) in 1988. He is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in the Humanities (1997-98) and a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for painting and installation art (1995).

  • Mario Antonio Minichiello

  • Mario Minichiello has for 20 years been a visual designer and one of Britain’s most respected political and reportage artists. He is Head of Visual Communications programmes at Loughborough University, UK. Since joining Loughborough University School of Art and Design in 1998, his work has established the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Illustration, Graphic Communication and Animation. These programmes are publicly acknowledged as amongst the best in the country.

    His war art for the Afghanistan conflict has been published in both book form and on the internet . His work as an art and design scholar has been recognised both nationally and internationally and has helped to define the area of practice based research.

    Mario's work formed part of BBC Newsnights BAFTA award winning presentation in 1990. He has been a regular artist for the award winning political sections of both the Guardian and the Financial times newspaper’s. Mario has exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues in America, Singapore, Europe and, in Britain, at many leading venues including the Barbican and the South Bank Centre in London.

  • Paul Gudgin

  • After leaving the University of Surrey in 1986, where he studied music, Paul accepted his first post in the arts as Concerts Manager for the Aldeburgh Foundation, which promotes the Aldeburgh Festival (established by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears) and also manages Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Paul was then appointed Manager of the Bury St Edmunds Festival in 1989 at the age of 25. Over his five years there, he extended the event from a small cluster of productions over two weekends into a busy sixteen-day showcase described by The Times as "one of the best small Festivals in Britain".

    From Bury St Edmunds, Paul moved to Edinburgh in 1995 when he became General Manager of the Queen’s Hall. This busy concert hall is home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and hosts over 300 events a year. His strong association with festivals continued as the Queen’s Hall itself hosts events by the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival and of course the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

    In 1999, Paul was appointed Director of the world's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Fringe has expanded considerably during Paul's time at the helm and in 2003 the event passed a significant milestone with the sale of one million tickets that year, and has since continued with such strength. The Fringe 2005 presented 26,995 performances of 1830 shows in 250 venues.

  • Tessa Jackson

  • Tessa Jackson set up International Cultural Development over four years ago, is the founding Artistic Director of Artes Mundi, Wales International Visual Art Prize, and is Chair of the Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF).

    Tessa has worked in key positions within the UK cultural sector for more than twenty-five years, as a curator and gallery director, as well as a senior cultural administrator and consultant. After working in regional museums and galleries, Tessa was appointed Head of Visual Arts & Architecture for Glasgow 1990 – European Capital of Culture, where she was responsible for initiating and co-ordinating the programme, establishing Tramway as a significant new centre for contemporary visual arts and many other initiatives. From 1991 to 1999 she was Director of Arnolfini, Bristol, taking responsibility for artistic programming and securing the initial £5 million Arts Council Lottery Grant for its capital development. From 1999 to 2001 Tessa was Director of the Scottish Arts Council, Scotland’s national arts and cultural development agency as well as a distributor of national lottery funding. As Accounting Officer to the Scottish Parliament she was responsible for a £56 million budget, and she worked closely with the Scottish Executive towards the creation of a National Cultural Strategy.

    Tessa Jackson now runs her own consultancy, International Cultural Development, and undertakes a range of work including international policy advice, strategic planning and feasibility work across the arts, culture & heritage, including curatorial projects, arts & education initiatives, building developments, writing and mentoring. She has recently been responsible for preparing, with Marc Jordan, policy recommendations for the Arts Council England’s major Review of Contemporary Visual Arts. Since 2005 she has chaired Edinburgh’s newest festival, EAF which brings together and promotes the city’s vibrant visual arts sector in a programme of international diversity.