Arts Cabinet was invited to take part in a closed workshop organised by the Centre for Cultural Relations (University of Edinburgh) and GivRum (Copenhagen) on how cities develop international cultural networks and foster transnational and interdisciplinary relationships across cities. A lively discussion took place at Edinburgh College of Art, involving artists, cultural organisations and academics about how the short-term, multi-directional mobility offered by City Link and similar festivals creates connections, forms collaborations, and helps to establish transnational communities.
The aim was to explore how cultural networks between cities are established, maintained and made sustainable, with a focus on the roles of independent art organisations, civil society, cities and higher education. Mobility is an important part of the everyday life and practice of artists and academics. Both groups take part in short-term mobility in order to gain inspiration, form partnerships and contacts, and create networks and/or collaborations. Some of these pathways are well-established while other transnational connections (such as those being made via City Link) have only recently been formed. With each new connection linking up yet another city, and with every artist and academic presenting a different set of connections and trajectories, the idea of a ‘transnation’ is constantly developing, and forming multiple combinations of offline and online activities.