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Speakers Series

Cultural Capital Speakers Series will bring international and national speakers to Edmonton to contribute to our discussions, aspirations and dialogue on the many aspects of culture, arts, urban planning, heritage, cultural wealth, creative city planning and community.

Upcoming SpeakersPhoto of John

John Holden
January 22, 8:00pm
MacEwan College Conference Theatre
5-142 MacEwan Centre Downtown Campus, 105St. Building

Mr. Holden will speak to the topic: Culture & Politics: Creating Change

To establish support for culture at a political level, the arts must first create a greater legitimacy with citizens, and find new ways to build democratic consensus about its importance. John Holden, author of 'Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy', asserts that establishing a different alignment between culture, politics and the public will require courage, confidence and radicalism. Drawing on his recent publications, John will show how different groups in society value culture in different ways, and he will examine how the changing role of the arts and culture in contemporary society can influence public policy.

John Holden is Head of Culture at Demos and a Visiting Professor at City University.

Based in the United Kingdom, Demos is the think tank for ‘everyday democracy.’ Their aim is to put this idea into practice by working with organizations in ways that make them more effective and legitimate. They focus on six areas: Public services; science and technology; cities and public space; arts and culture; identity; and global security. There partners include policy makers, companies, public services providers and social entrepreneurs. Their international work extends across Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Brazil, India and China.

As an independent voice, they can create debates that lead to real change. They use media, public events, workshops and publications to communicate ideas. All their books can be downloaded free at

John Holden has a Masters Degrees in law and art history and his main professional interest is in the development of people and organizations in the cultural sector. He has been involved in numerous major projects across the sector, from libraries to music to heritage, and has worked with many organizations both large and small. He was a principal organizer of the influential Valuing Culture conference in June 2003, and has developed a theme of work around the topic of cultural value. John has spoken at many conferences in the UK, and also in Finland, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. John is a member of the Management Committee of the Clore Leadership Program, and a FRSA.