EIF 2011 Eastern Themed Talks Series Announced

Submitted by edg on Wed, 13 Jul '11 1.15pm

Professor Niall Ferguson, Lord Wilson and Sir Vernon Ellis are among the chairs announced for Edinburgh International Festival’s geopolitical talks series, Continental Shifts.

The series of talks runs parallel to the EIF programme of performances, exploring the festival theme of Asia and the changes that are occuring in the East. Subjects range from the emergence of India as a world power (chaired by Niall Ferguson) to a discussion of Shakespeare's standing in the East which includes the Korean director of The Tempest Tae-suk Oh on the panel.

Jonathan Mills, Festival Director of the Edinburgh International Festival: “Art does not exist in vacuum, but is a reflection of the world in which we live and the changes and challenges that we experience. What better time to explore the intellectual landscape underpinning Festival 2011 and the changing patterns of interaction between East and West.”

Professors Jonathan Spence, Alexander Huang and Wang Hui will be heading to Edinburgh to discuss matters affecting modern China and its relationship with the rest of the world. Indian writers and journalists Dr Shashi Tharoor and Tarun J. Tejpal will bring a Southern Asian perspective to the mix.

Chairing the events are a collection of eminent arts and political figures including Lord Wilson, Professor Helen Cooper, Professor Dina Iordanova, Sir Vernon Ellis, Martin Davidson, Niall Ferguson, Graham Sheffield, Professor Natascha Gentz, Eugene Downes, Roanne Dods and Magnus Linklater.

The Festival hosts the talk series in association with the British Council, The Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Confucius Institute for Scotland. The talks take place throughout August at The Hub. Tickets are on sale through Hub Tickets.


Why China isn’t the New West – Saturday 15 August
Chairperson: Lord Wilson

Lord David Clive Wilson, Baron Wilson of Tillyorn will chair the keynote address by author and essayist Professor Jonathan Spence, one of the most eminent historians on Chinese history. Spence was Sterling Professor at Yale from 2003- 2008 and has written several books on China and the west. His speech will examine China’s increasing wealth and power and its effect on global relations.

All the World’s a Stage – Monday 15 August
Chairperson: Professor Helen Cooper

Professor Helen Cooper was the first female fellow at University College, Oxford, in 1978. Her latest book is Shakespeare and the Medieval World, published in 2010 as part of the Arden Shakespeare series. She will be joined by Korean director Tae-suk Oh, The Guardian’s chief theatre critic Michael Millington and Prof Alexander C.Y. Huang to discuss the enduring legacy of the Bard.

Transmission – Tuesday 16 August
Chairperson: Professor Dina Iordanova

Dina Iordanova is an educationalist and Professor of Film Studies at the University of St. Andrews. A specialist in world cinema, her special expertise is in the cinema of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and Europe in general. She will be chairing a discussion on the popular cultures of China, India, Japan and Korea with choreographer Eun-Me Ahn and authors Jonathan Clements and Anita Nair.

Global Philosophies – Monday 22 August
Chairperson: Sir Vernon Ellis

Chair of the British Council, Sir Vernon Ellis will host a conversation about ancient and modern faith and spiritual thinking with the Dean of the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University Tu Weiming, former Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church Dr Richard Holloway and Scottish crime and politics author Christopher Brookmyre.

How Chinese Money is Changing the World – Wednesday 24 August
Chairperson: Martin Davidson

Martin Davidson took up the role as Chief Executive at the British Council in April 2007, having been Deputy Director General since September 2005. Martin’s commitment to international relationships has been a constant feature of his career. Martin will be introducing author and financial Journalist James Kynge for his keynote address on the history and recent developments of the Chinese economy.

India / A Changing India – Saturday 27 August
Chairperson: Professor Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson, British historian specialising in finance and colonialism will host two conversations about the changing landscape of India. Indian parliamentarian and author Dr Shashi Tharoor will be delivering a keynote address on the changing position of India in the modern globalised world and controversial journalist and editor of Tehelka, Tarun J. Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury will discuss the emergence of India as an influential world power.

Song of the Earth – Sunday 28 August
Chairperson: Graham Sheffield

Graham Sheffield was Artistic Director of the Barbican from 1995-2010 and was recently joined the British Council as Director of Arts. Graham will be joined for a discussion of Kenneth Macmillan’s Song of the Earth by historian Dr Kirsteen McCue, Chinese poet Yang Lian and Scottish Ballet’s Artistic Director Ashley Page.

Contemporary Chinese Thought – Monday 29 August
Chairperson: Professor Natascha Gentz

Professor Natascha Gentz is Head of Asian Studies in the University of Edinburgh Director of the Confucius Institute. Dr Gentz will be introducing controversial Chinese intellectual Wang Hui, the co-editor of China's leading intellectual journal, Dushu, and the author of a four-volume history of Chinese thought, Contemporary Chinese Thought and the Question of Modernity. In 1989 he was one of the students who protested at Tiananmen Square.

Divided – Wednesday 31 August
Chairperson: Eugene Downes

Eugene Downes is Chief Executive of Culture Ireland, the national agency founded in 2005 to promote Irish arts worldwide. Tim Supple has directed a new, authentic dramatisation of One Thousand and One Nights for EIF 2011, sourcing stories from across the Arab speaking world. Dr Michael Shinn and Dr Rachael are experts in Korean and Indian cultures. Together they will discuss the cultural impact partition on nations.

Heirlooms- Thursday 1 September
Chairperson: Roanne Dods

Chairwoman Roanne Dods, who established the arts funding body the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, will be joined by textile curator Ben Divall, collector Jonathan Hope and artist Shakti Maira to discuss Heirlooms, the exhibition of Asian textile at the Dovecot Gallery.

Ritual and Memory – Friday 2 September
Chairperson: Magnus Linklater

The Scotland Editor of The Times Magnus Linklater will host a talk between French-Vietnamese Choreographer Ea Sola, whose family fled the country of her birth during the Vietnam War, Indian writer Swati Chopra and anthropologist Dr Rita Langer that considers the shared cultural memory and tradition in Asian societies.