Founding Director, CULTURUNNERS & THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN
Stephen Stapleton (born 1976) is a British-Norwegian artist-educator and social entrepreneur known for leading organisations and developing platforms for cultural production, education and diplomacy across international borders. Following an artist road trip across the Middle East in 2002-2003, Stephen founded Edge of Arabia and the UK charity, the Crossway Foundation, as platforms for creative collaboration between the Middle East (with a focus on Saudi Arabia) and the West. In 2015, Stephen launched Culturunners at MIT to develop artists-led initiatives which utilize culture to transform communities, societies and systems and inspire greater empathy across ideological and geographical borders. In 2017, he was invited to lead international programmes at the newly established Misk Art Institute in Riyadh. In 2020, Culturunners established The Future is Unwritten, as part of the United Nations 75th Anniversary program, to facilitate cooperation between the international Arts sector and UN Agencies, and to accelerate implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Stephen is currently spearheading The Future is Unwritten’s Healing Arts initiative, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, as a rapid response to COVID-19 through the arts, with a focus on the looming mental health crisis.