Copenhagen Meet Edinburgh: City Link Festival

How can we learn from and work with people around the world to create innovative change in our city spaces?

Communities in Copenhagen and Edinburgh are joining forces create an unique arts festival that answers this question, taking place from 24- 27 September 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Together, Danish and Scottish artists and culture-makers have been co-creating a diverse programme with a focus on people led and grassroots initiatives in the arts and culture.

The City Link Festival began in 2012 as an initiative between Hamburg and Copenhagen, framed by talk of The Fernham Belt Fixed Link tunnel between Germany and Denmark. Launched by GivRum, a Copenhagen-based non-profit that seeks to develop unused spaces in the city, the festival first came to fruition in 2014. It aimed to answer the question: if Hamburg and Copenhagen are to be physically connected, how can we connect these communities? How can we share information across cities to effect positive change?

The artists discuss ideas for this year's co-created exhibitionin Edinburgh | Scandinavia Standard

These two cities working together makes sense – as small but thriving cities with young populations and growing creative communities, there will be much to talk about. 1500 people are expected to attend. Most events are free, with the all-day symposium costing only 10 GBP.

Because GivRum was at the heart of the movement, the focus came down to unused urban space. The festival consists of an opening event, lectures, participatory events around Edinburgh, a closing party and an artist exchange that will produce collaborative pieces in both cities.The artists exchange has already begun, and you can see the presentations from the artists involved here:

City Link aims not only to connect Copenhagen to other cities, but to continue to connect the sister cities to others. The hope is that Edinburgh and Hamburg will go on to make connections with their own sister cities and continue the discussion.

For that reason, many of those who organised the Hamburg festival will be attending in Edinburgh. The 2016 City Link Festival is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey.

Discussions at The Biscuit Factory - this years exhibition space in Edinburgh_

Want to get involved?

Call for Photography: If you’re passionate about your city, take a picture of a treasured spot and send it, with approx. 50 words, via Hold Me Dear’s website by September 17th. All photos will be featured at an exhibition 24 Sept – 20 Oct in a converted railway tunnel in Edinburgh during the festival. You don’t need to have a fancy camera or be a professional photographer; this is about showing off the spaces you love!

We can’t wait to see how knowledge-sharing between Copenhagen and Edinburgh will translate to action.

See more on the City Link Festival and this year’s programme.

Will you be in Edinburgh in September? Let us know what you’re looking forward to at City Link Festival!

Header image: Morvern Cunningham

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Rebecca Thandi Norman

Rebecca Thandi Norman is a co-founder and Editor-in-Chief at Scandinavia Standard.