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Festival of Politics
9-11 August 2023
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The Festival of Politics

In partnership with Scotland’s Futures Forum and the Edinburgh International Festival

The Scottish Parliament hosted its 19th Festival of Politics in August 2023. Extra events, run in partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival, took place before, during and after these dates.

Featuring sessions on politics, current affairs, social and environmental issues, the festival offers people in Scotland an opportunity to come to their Parliament and discuss the issues facing society today.

Catch up by watching recordings of the sessions, available below.

Updates about the Festival of Politics

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Past events

Wednesday 9 August at 11:00

In Conversation with Dame Evelyn Glennie

Join us for a unique opportunity to chat with the legendary Dame Evelyn Glennie OBE and gain insights into her exceptional musical journey.

Wednesday 9 August at 11:00

In Conversation with Dame Evelyn Glennie (BSL)

BSL version

Join us for a unique opportunity to chat with the legendary Dame Evelyn Glennie OBE and gain insights into her exceptional musical journey.

Wednesday 9 August at 11:30

Is the West in decline?

What are the geo-political repercussions for the West when we all face the global challenges of climate, poverty and health?

Wednesday 9 August at 11:45

COP28: climate change urgency & justice in vulnerable low-lying countries

The plea of the world’s low-lying nations can no longer be ignored. Where is the will to act; and what needs to happen this year?

Wednesday 9 August at 13:45

How to disagree agreeably

How do we revive the art of critical thinking, recognise the value of the ‘grey area’, and both parties making a discovery over being right?

Wednesday 9 August at 13:45

How to disagree agreeably (BSL)

BSL version

How do we revive the art of critical thinking, recognise the value of the ‘grey area’, and both parties making a discovery over being right?

Wednesday 9 August at 14:00

Volunteers and the state

Are volunteers vital for the delivery of public services in Scotland or is this contributing to the erosion of state-funded services?

Wednesday 9 August at 15:45

Ukraine

It is the biggest European conflict since World War II and has left millions of Ukrainians displaced. How will it end?

Wednesday 9 August at 16:00

Cheap food and mental health

How does ultra-processed food impact as a social injustice and what are policymakers and manufacturers doing to address it?

Wednesday 9 August at 18:00

Twenty-five years of devolution in the UK

What have the gains and losses of devolution been? What do the next 25 years herald for each devolved nation?

Wednesday 9 August at 18:15

Women of colour in politics and challenging racism

What has inspired women of colour to enter politics, and/or be activists, and how has this intersected with their experiences as BME women?

Thursday 10 August at 10:45

Activism – vote for me

What does it mean for democratic politics if 18-to-34-year-olds are disillusioned by conventional party politics?

Thursday 10 August at 11:00

The future of broadcasting

What are the challenges for public service broadcasters, commercial streaming companies, and for us the audience, in today's era of TV?

Thursday 10 August at 11:00

The future of broadcasting (BSL)

BSL version

What are the challenges for public service broadcasters, commercial streaming companies, and for us the audience, in today's era of TV?

Thursday 10 August at 13:00

In Conversation with Michael Portillo

Join us for a lively conversation with Michael Portillo, where we'll discuss his life, career, and current events.

Thursday 10 August at 13:00

In Conversation with Michael Portillo (BSL)

BSL version

Join us for a lively conversation with Michael Portillo, where we'll discuss his life, career, and current events.

Thursday 10 August at 13:15

Workers’ rights – who cares?

How relevant are trade unions to a post-Covid flexible working workforce who may be self-employed or part of a globalized gig-economy?

Thursday 10 August at 15:00

Talking to boys and men about gender-based violence

How do we talk to boys and men in ways that will engage them and stop gender-based violence?

Thursday 10 August at 15:15

Thirty-five years since Section 28

What was the immediate and longer impact of repealing Section 28 legislation on LGBTI+ teachers and pupils and changing societal attitudes?

Thursday 10 August at 17:00

The future of Scotland’s arts and culture – where do we go from here?

What are the next steps if future generations of performers and audiences are to thrive and what’s the most sustainable funding model?

Thursday 10 August at 17:30

Radical uses for Scotland’s land

What can we learn from international models of land ownership, subsidy and use? How can Scotland create fair and sustainable communities?

Friday 11 August at 11:00

Navigating migration

Join the panel to discuss the realities of migrants and asylum seekers as they negotiate their rights to work, study, and live in the UK.

Friday 11 August at 11:15

It’s the economy, stupid

The panel discusses new ideas of how our economy should work: inclusive growth, social enterprise and a circular economy, among them.

Friday 11 August at 13:15

The Language of Poo. Can words disengage communities?

Are current processes for developing public health messaging fit for purpose? How can we create health messages to reduce inequalities?

Friday 11 August at 13:30

Scotland’s poverty problem

All political parties are committed to tackling child poverty, so why has more progress not been made? Does stigma hold back the debate?

Friday 11 August at 13:30

Scotland’s poverty problem (BSL)

BSL version

All political parties are committed to tackling child poverty, so why has more progress not been made? Does stigma hold back the debate?

Friday 11 August at 15:30

Scotland – a good global citizen?

What is Scotland doing post-COP on climate reparations, ethical consumerism, human rights, mediation and international development?

Friday 11 August at 16:00

Where are the ethics in AI?

Is AI a tool with capacity to do unimaginably great good or does it really herald unimaginable harm that will culminate in human extinction?

Friday 11 August at 17:45

Aviation and the sustainability agenda: to fly or not to fly?

Is ‘fly shaming’ obscuring the air industry’s drive and advances towards meeting net zero carbon targets by 2045?

Friday 11 August at 18:00

Scotland’s music venues

How can politicians and the music industry work together to keep live venues open?

Friday 25 August at 11:00

In Conversation with Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel chats about his musical journey and experiences, and responds to the EIF's theme this year - Where do we go from here?