Mobile Minds: Culture, Knowledge and Change


The times in which we live are marked by constant change and transformation. Technological progress, environmental impacts, migration patterns and enhanced connectivity all affect our societies, our views of the world, values, cultures, and our understanding of the future. Within this framework, the 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture will focus on the intersection and confluence - from both traditional and contemporary viewpoints - between knowledge, culture, artistic practice, creative spaces, innovation and the digital revolution.


the objectives of the Summit are:

●  to inspire participants with provocations on how global change (societal, technological, political, environmental) reframes the creative environment and vice versa

●  to respond to different perspectives on how governments and policy makers find balance between cultural preservation and progress, between transformation and tradition, and managing the positive and negative impacts of both extremes

●  to reflect on the impact of innovation, creativity, education and digitalisation on societal and cultural change and the response of the cultural sectors in transforming, empowering and building sustainable communities

● to share good practices on how culture and the arts enable communities to learn from the past and apply traditional knowledge to address contemporary issues  

● to challenge the role of the arts in responding to rapid change and societal needs, particularly to young and older people, First Nations peoples, women and under-represented communities.

Key concepts

Recognising that the terms culture and knowledge are not neutral but rather active spaces of contestation, conflict, power and influence, the following principles will guide our shared understanding of key concepts:

Mobile Minds refers to the agility and the ability with which we can respond to our circumstances in times of disruption, tension and rapid change. Socio-cultural and technological disruptions can positively challenge mobile minds, they can also uproot individuals from their communities and identities. It is not limited to the notion of mobility, though it does recognise the importance of cross-border engagement and the exchange of ideas and practices.

Culture encompasses traditional as well as contemporary cultural expressions and content in their many forms. Cultural content refers to the symbolic meaning, artistic dimension and cultural values that originate from or express cultural identities; and cultural expressions as those which result from the creativity of individuals, groups and societies, and that have cultural content. Culture and creativity open possibilities for finding solutions to new problems across the Global South and North.   

Knowledge encompasses traditional and historical knowledge and wisdom, current thinking and future transmission, including digital literacy, as the framework of ideas that help us understand the world in which we live.

Change encompasses major shifts in thought, politics, approaches, rights, models, economies, society and our environments as well as technological change. It also considers the different rhythms and patterns of change in different contexts; the ability of individual and institutional actors to respond; and the role of governments, agencies, civil society and artists as instigators, negotiators and leaders of change.

The Summit programme will explore key issues across three days, each with a specific focus:



The first day of the Summit will kick off with reflection on our current state. We will identify the key issues arising from change that face the arts and culture sector; explore emerging tensions versus those that revisit familiar challenges for arts and culture in public life; and consider how the roles of State and non-State actors have shifted in recent years. Are we having the right conversations? Are we leading or responding to change? And when we respond to change are we already too late to the table?


On the second day we will explore how artistic and creative practices are responding to change, whether through positively converging with its possibilities or questioning its direction and actively diverging from its trajectory. We will question how creative practice can embrace change to enable new conversations and collaborations; how it can interrogate current approaches to inspire further change; whether the digital era has democratised creative spaces, or created new challenges; and ask who is pioneering in this space and what standard do they set for us?


The final day will ground the discussion to look at how we influence and make tangible change for the future, and discuss how arts and culture can lead change to create spaces we wish to inhabit. Delegates will identify what they take away from the Summit, agree on what is non-negotiable and confirm how we will work together to keep the conversation alive. We will envision how the sector can continue to thrive and demonstrate to governments and peoples the contribution made by arts and culture to society.