Chris van der Kuyl, Chairman of 4J Studios, the developers of Minecraft, has been announced by Arts & Business Scotland (A&BS) as the keynote speaker for its first event of the year, the Culture and Business Scotland Conference 2022.

Taking place online from 2pm on Thursday 10 February, this event welcomes the business, public, and culture sectors to come together to discuss how engaging with creativity and culture can be the key to not simply surviving but thriving, both in the wake of the pandemic, and in the face of key universal challenges.

Attendees will find out how arts and heritage organisations have creatively repurposed and re-allocated their tangible and intangible assets to provide solutions to these topics.

The event coincides with the launch a major A&BS survey of business and public sector organisations across Scotland. Building upon A&BS research conducted with over 190 culture sector organisations, this will uncover and define opportunities and new ways for the sectors to collaborate to overcome collective challenges, including the implications of the pandemic, becoming net-zero and staff engagement needs.

Chris van der Kuyl

The findings from these surveys will be used to create an online resource of products and services to meet supply and demand, and act as a platform to profile collaborative opportunities to help the sectors to connect and thrive.

Joining Chris will be an expert panel from a wide range of backgrounds and industries, including a representative of arguably one of the most famous museums in the world, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, and the former CEO of one of Scotland’s most successful businesses, Macsween Haggis, to name but two.

From the impact of Covid-19 and environmental sustainability requirements to staff wellbeing and retention, the event will cover a range of topics presented and investigated by these experts. Chris van der Kuyl will share his thoughts to stimulate discussion around the importance of creativity as a business asset, using his experience at 4J Studios/of Minecraft to explain why creativity is crucial in ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve. By nurturing creativity internally, businesses have the best chance at adapting to an ever-changing landscape, and Chris will be on hand to take questions as to how exactly this can be done.

Taking to the virtual stage from the culture sector perspective, Marije Pluijm from Rijksmuseum Amsterdam will discuss how a partnership with electronics giant Phillips created a win-win situation for both parties, enabling better end-user experiences for both their customers and clients, by putting technology in culture and culture in technology.

Jo MacSween

This includes how the museum was able to embrace new technology to bring the museum to life for audiences unable to visit during lockdown, and how the museum assets were employed to enhance MRI scanning from both a patient and medical perspective. Marije will be taking questions about this experience and how it can be replicated, on varying scales.

Jo Macsween, former CEO of Macsween Haggis, the events’ second keynote speaker, will share first-hand experiences of the benefits of cross sector collaboration. This includes how Macsween worked with a creative partner to enable better employee engagement, helping to create a more positive working environment, which then led to the development of a theatrical performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This show profiled Macsween as an innovative company and supported their title of being ‘guardian of Scotland’s national dish’.

Another topic of universal relevance being covered, is environmental sustainability, with representatives from Aviva Investors on hand to discuss how a partnership with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) enabled them to drive the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda. SCO will also be on hand to discuss the partnership and how it worked for them.

The full list of expert speakers confirmed is:

  • Chris van der Kuyl – 4J Studios
  • Sean McGrath – Entrepreneurial Scotland;
  • David Nelson & James Whiteman – SCO with Aviva Investors;
  • Marije Pluijm – Rijksmuseum Amsterdam;
  • Louise MacDonald – Institute of Directors Scotland;
  • Jo Macsween – Macsween Haggis;
  • Stuart Patrick – Glasgow Chambers of Commerce;
  • More speakers to be confirmed

To register for the Culture and Business Scotland Conference 2022, please go to