Creative Informatics Research Envisions Digital Futures for Festivals in 2030

A research team from Creative Informatics based at The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University, has launched a fictional, speculative magazine, set in 2030, which explores possible futures for the development of digital technologies and data-driven innovation with festivals in Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

This fictional July 2030 edition of the imagined cultural publication FestForward, was developed through interviews, conversations and workshops with individuals and organisations working in the region’s cultural sector in 2022. The magazine was produced in partnership with Glasgow-based futures design researchers Andthen.

festforward Inline 2

The research aims to stimulate conversation about possible equitable and sustainable digital futures in the festivals and cultural sectors. By envisioning and telling these stories, the research team hope to present ideas that could contribute to work in the present to discover and develop more equitable approaches to the application of digital and data-driven technologies for those working in, with and around festivals and culture.

Project co-lead, Dr Chris Elsden, said:

“As festivals and the cultural sector in our region begin to look beyond the pandemic, FestFoward magazine is an invitation to think broadly about the opportunities and implications of digital technologies for those working and participating in festivals and the arts. Some stories are exciting, some are silly, and some sound an alarm. Altogether, our aim was to humanise and out up for debate some of the new technologies emerging in this sector”

Patricia Erskine, Director of Culture and Community at Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) said:

“EFI works on live issues, side-by-side with communities, business, citizens and government. Together, we explore how data and knowledge from multiple perspectives – technical, corporate and social – can tackle complex challenges. FestForward is a brilliantly creative approach to imagining equitable and sustainable futures. From a guided walking tour through a virtual festival programme, to taking a restorative break in the digital community garden, it will open up conversations about the many ways data-driven innovation can embrace opportunities for festivals in Edinburgh and South East Scotland and beyond.”

FestForward is available now as a limited edition in print, distributed via Creative Informatics, or online at