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Highlights from the 2014 Edinburgh International Culture Summit

(PRWEB UK) 15 August 2014

The second Edinburgh International Culture Summit at the Scottish Parliament has been hailed as a great success by participants and delegates. The Summit brought together 25 international government delegations with speakers, art leaders and culture experts from across the world. It was recognised as a truly global collaboration on the current day role of culture and the arts.

An impassioned plea was heard over the three day Summit 2014 for recognition of the importance of the arts and cultural contribution to society. In particular there was a call for culture to be placed at the centre of government policy making and a more unified voice for the arts across the world.

In discussing the Summit theme ‘Culture – a Currency of Trust,’ three key topics of values and measurements, cities and culture, and advocacy and identity formed the basis of the lively programme of discussions and presentations.

Culture Ministers from all corners of the globe joined an impressive array of arts leaders and cultural experts in an inspiring programme which featured a stellar line-up of speakers including Nandi Mandela, business woman and grand-daughter of Nelson Mandela; Benjamin Barber from the City University of New York; and Danielle Cliche, UNESCO – Secretary on Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, who read a speech written by Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.

Other speakers included Simon Anholt, the world’s leading authority on national image and reputation, and a world leader on ultra-wide scale human engagement; Danilo Santos de Miranda, Sao Paolo Director of Brazilian arts funding agency Serviço Social do Comércio (SESC); Australian-based poet, philosopher and artist Paul Carter discussing ‘Place-making and Storytelling’ and cultural activist; and arts manager, Basma El Husseiny.

There was a special presentation from Kent Larson, Director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab’s Changing Places Group, on the latest tools and templates used for analysing urban environments and French-Vietnamese artist, choreographer and writer, Ea Sola, gave a personal reflection on her work.

The opening ceremony was led by Jordi Savall, world-renowned musician, accompanied by Hespèrion XXI musicians who performed works from the cosmopolitan traditions of peaceful co-existence inspired by the Caliphate of Cordoba. Award-winning a cappella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, described by Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s cultural ambassadors, closed the Summit with an uplifting showpiece on Tuesday 12 August 2014.

Commenting on the Summit, Sir Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival and Programme Director of the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, said:

“The theme of the 2014 Summit has been somewhat provocative. At a time when economic systems have become forces unto themselves, and struggle to be perceived as either transparent or trustworthy, the thought that the creative outpouring of our civilizations might fill such an ethical vacuum and become a currency of trust seems appropriate, if a little confronting.

“The Edinburgh International Culture Summit is hosted by a city in which, for almost seventy years, cultural relationships of a most diverse and intense kind have been initiated and nurtured. I hope that from this Summit there will emerge a series of practical recommendations that are sensitive, sensible, and above all achievable.”

Speaking following the event, the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP, Presiding Officer said:

“It has been a joy to host the Edinburgh International Culture Summit at Holyrood – with thought provoking contributions and inspirational speeches about the power and importance of culture in our world today.

“With the soaring voices of Ladysmith Black Mambazo bringing the conference to a close, it remains only for us to say to friends and delegates from across the globe to haste ye back.”

Scottish Government Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“This year’s Culture Summit has been hugely inspirational, with delegates from all over the world discussing how culture can build a bridge between our nations. The meetings I had with other culture ministers helped to deepen and strengthen our international links.

“The Culture Summit gave us another opportunity to celebrate not only Scotland’s creativity, innovation and imagination but that of nations and countries across the globe, in the setting of a city and a country currently with energy, ideas and discussion, and at a time when the eyes of the world were already focused on Scotland for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and other events of 2014.”

UK Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey said:

“Culture in all its forms is a powerful and enduring thing which, at its finest, is endlessly rewarding and infinitely moving. It brings people together through the common language of creativity and passion, transcending age, gender, race, nationality and class. So it is absolutely right that Governments around the world take time to come together and share experiences and thoughts on how to use its power for the good of all. This year’s summit has been a triumph.”

Chief Executive, British Council, Sir Martin Davidson KCMG noted:

“As well as establishing itself as an internationally leading cultural gathering in its second year, the Culture Summit revealed a call to action on several fronts, including a more unified, inclusive and confident voice for the arts, moving culture closer to the centre of government, and better measurement of cultural value and impact. In these ways, culture can become a more potent force in public policy and the sustainable development of social capital across the globe.”

**A short video clip of the Culture Summit highlights can be found at

**Speeches delivered by the Summit’s guest speakers can be found at



Katy Jeffrey

Press Office

Edinburgh International Culture Summit

T: +44 (0)131 348 6242

M: +44 (0) 7912 182138

E: media(at)culturesummit(dot)com or katy.jeffrey(at)scottish.parliament(dot)uk

For more on the Culture Summit, please visit and Tweet us @CultureSummit

Notes to Editors

1. Summit 2014 was a collaboration between the British Council, Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and UK Government.

2. Summit 2014 was gratefully supported by Programme Partners: the Aga Khan Foundation, AsiaLink, the United Cities and Local Government’s Agenda 21 for Culture, UNESCO and the MIT Media Lab.

3. provides information to delegates, visitors and all those with an interest in arts and cultural policy. It also hosts opinion articles from leading cultural figures from around the world, as well as live video streaming from the event.

4. The theme for this year’s Summit is ‘Culture – a Currency of Trust’ reflects the Summit 2014’s belief in the capacity of culture and the arts to foster mutual understanding between nations and among citizens.

5. This year’s programme offered plenary sessions in the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber which were open to the public, and detailed private policy discussions around these three interlinking strands:

Values and Measurements: the principles of valuing culture and how to measure that value,
Cities and Culture: the role of cities as incubators of cultural innovation,
Advocacy and Identity: how culture and cultural diversity are best sustained, promoted and protected.

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New Social Media App Launching at Comic-Con Transforms Virtual Connections Into Encounters

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (PRWEB) July 16, 2014

A new social media app available now in the App Store will help visitors to Comic-Con 2014 come out from behind their mobile devices, meet new people and actually do something together. Unlike other apps that create virtual connections, ConnectiKon is designed to help users connect in person, allowing them to make the most out of the annual convention.

Users wanting to get a jump on the Comic-Con social scene can download the app and start connecting now by logging into San Diego to view and post events related to their interests. Users can then continue to log in to the app while they are at the convention to add new events, and find out what others are out and about doing. ConnectiKon will facilitate a better social experience for attendees, allowing people to find others who are attending not only the official Comic-Con panels and programs, but also the “unofficial” parties and events that surround the convention.

“We chose to launch ConnectiKon at Comic-Con because these are our people,” said Jesse Singer, a former Yahoo executive who has spent the past two years developing the app. “They are super active folks who love to engage with each other live and in-person. That’s perfect for us because CKON is all about finding that great after-hours poker game, the Yoda beer pong party, the Storm Trooper breakfast. It’s not about sharing something with old friends, it’s about doing something with new people and having fun together.”

In fact, “Do Something” is ConnectiKon’s slogan, and its founders seek to distinguish it from the glut of what Co-founder and Creative Director Adam Klugman calls ‘share something’ apps. “There are plenty of apps out there that help people share stuff, and they are great. But ConnectiKon is a ‘do something’ app.”

ConnectiKon puts the fun front and center. Users can get as creative as they want, entering any three words they can think of to ‘tag’ their activities. These ‘tags’ then appear on a word cloud where other users discover and then tap them to find out more about the activity and the person who posted it. Each time a user drills down, they find more information. Even the profiles are designed to be playful, asking questions like a user’s favorite band, their favorite food, their favorite movie or to fill-in-the-blank: “I’d rather be__________.”

“Socializing should be fun and so should the tools we use to facilitate it,” said Klugman. “That’s what ConnectiKon is all about—using your mobile device to have fun discovering local people who share your passions and interests—all with a user experience that is entirely different from anything out there. And because CKON is a truly global app, the cloud is everywhere. So if you want to do something, no matter where you are in the world, all you have to do is tap it.”

Watch the ConnectiKon video.

About ConnectiKon

Adam Klugman and Jesse Singer founded ConnectiKon in 2012 to develop a new mobile social media app to connect people with the same interests. They recognized the evolution of social media and saw shared virtual experiences starting to replace lived experiences, necessitating the need for people to use technology to “do something” in a way that facilitates real-world, human encounters. With everyone connected virtually through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and a plethora of social media apps, ConnectiKon is a way to give people the power to engage each other, in the real world, based on their own interests and passions, regardless of how unique or quirky those might be. Download ConnectiKon at the App Store.


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Pond5 Raises $61 Million From Accel Partners and Stripes Group

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 16, 2014

Pond5, the world’s leading online marketplace for video footage and stock media, announced today that it has raised $ 61 million in equity financing from Accel Partners and Stripes Group. The funding is the first institutional investment for the company and will be used to fuel global growth, hiring, and product development.

Artists from around the world use Pond5 to upload video clips and other media, including music, photos and special effects. Those creating media projects, like films, mobile applications and video games, can then buy the royalty-free content for their own use.

“Our mission since day one has been to build the world’s most vibrant, artist-friendly marketplace for creativity,” said Pond5 CEO and co-founder Tom Bennett. “We thought very carefully about the kind of partners we wanted to join us, and we couldn’t be more excited to team up with Accel and Stripes for the next phase of our adventure.”

Pond5’s fast-growing collection of more than 15 million media clips is sourced from 30,000 artists in 127 countries and serves as a key creative resource for the global media production industry. The company’s 2.7 million videos compose the largest royalty-free video collection on the Web.

Pond5 footage has found its way into blockbuster films like Iron Man, Thor and Dallas Buyers Club, and hit television series like AMC’s The Walking Dead and NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Media clients include BBC, NBC, and CBS, advertising agencies like Leo Burnett and Wieden & Kennedy and a growing roster of emerging video artists on sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

“Pond5 has organically built a community of artists and creators that is as passionate about the site as some of the best marketplaces we’ve backed, including Etsy,” said John Locke, Partner at Accel Partners who will join the company’s board. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this team going forward.”

“True marketplace businesses are rarely created,” said Dan Marriott, Managing Partner of Stripes Group, who will also join the company’s board. “They are built brick by brick to serve all of their constituents equally well and have the opportunity to redefine their industries globally. We couldn’t be more proud to support such a great story and global team headquartered here in New York City.”

Based in New York, with offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Prague, Czech Republic, Pond5 has been cash-flow positive since its founding in 2006 and is doubling sales annually. The company raised a seed round of $ 500,000 from the New York Angels in 2008. In 2013, Pond5 acquired Pixmac, an international network of stock photos sites based in Czech Republic. It currently employs a global team of 70 people.

A video explaining the financing, featuring producer Ryan Lewis of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, is also available here.


Pond5 is the world’s most vibrant marketplace for media makers, offering the web’s largest collection of royalty-free stock video footage, as well as millions of stock photos, illustrations, music tracks, sound effects, Adobe After Effects project templates, and 3D models. Disrupting the traditional stock agency model with an open, dynamic marketplace, Pond5 invites media makers from all over the world to submit their own content and set their own prices. Contributing artists earn 50% on each sale – significantly higher than traditional players. Submissions are curated by the Pond5 team, and made available for immediate preview, purchase and download. All content is licensed under a simple royalty-free license that provides customers lifetime, worldwide usage rights across all media.

Pond5 was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Union Square, NY, USA with offices in Geneva, Switzerland and Prague, Czech Republic. For more information, visit

Accel Partners

Founded in 1983, Accel Partners has a long history of partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class businesses. Accel today invests globally using dedicated teams and market-specific strategies for local geographies, with offices in Palo Alto, California, New York City, London and Bangalore. Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies, many of which have defined their categories. For more information, please visit the Accel Partners website at Find us on Twitter at

Stripes Group

Based in New York City, Stripes Group is a leading growth equity firm that invests in Internet, Digital Media, Software and Branded Consumer Products businesses. Stripes Group partners with founder-driven, profitable, market-leading companies with proven business models that are generating exceptional growth. For more information on Stripes Group, please visit

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