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Festival of Politics
19-23 August 2024

Festival of Politics 2024

General information about this year's festival.

Presiding Officer's Welcome

I am delighted to introduce the programme for our 2024 Festival of Politics.

2024 is a significant milestone in the Scottish Parliament’s history. It marks 25 years since the creation of the Scottish Parliament and 20 years since our iconic landmark building opened at the foot of the Royal Mile.

It is also the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Politics itself. The Festival of Politics is all about opening up the doors of the Scottish Parliament to welcome you, into your Parliament, to talk about some of the issues that matter and affect you.

This is also what I as Presiding Officer want to do with the wider 25th anniversary programme – to use it as a platform to talk about how the Parliament can best serve the people it represents now and in the future.

This Festival of Politics programme reflects and celebrates these milestones in Scotland’s political journey.

We have a varied programme which looks at both the future and the past. Which talks about what we can learn from our history and how we can help shape what’s next. We also look at topical issues that affect people across Scotland and indeed the world, such as women in politics, the impact of artificial intelligence, sexism, and standards in public life.

We have a lively free programme of opera, choirs, music and exhibitions in the Festival Café Bar. We look forward to welcoming you all at your Scottish Parliament.

Rt Hon Alison Johnstone MSP
Presiding Officer

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone 

(Find the BSL version of this welcome message here)


Please visit the homepage to see the programme and book tickets.

You can also browse the programme in PDF format (which has been designed to be printed rather than read on screen): 

Festival Café Bar

Join us in the lively Festival Café Bar for a programme of choirs, exhibitions, and a very special performance from Scottish Opera, as part of this year’s programme of free entertainment.

Wednesday 21 August 

Choir 21
2:45pm - 3.00pm

Choir 21 is a Makaton sing and sign group for young people with Down’s syndrome aged 12+ run by the ABC (Achieving Better Communication) team at Down’s syndrome Scotland. Choir 21 bring their joy of music to life through signing, while challenging perceptions, entertaining and increasing their own confidence and communication skills! The choir will sing a medley of Scottish-inspired songs by Altered Images, The Proclaimers and The Bluebells.

Friday 23 August 

Fife Ukelele Orchestra
12:30pm – 1.00pm 

Scottish Opera, 'In Flagrante'
3:00pm – 3:15pm

A special performance of a light-hearted short opera featuring three government ministers who find themselves in a ‘morning after the night before’ situation – and then the spin-doctor arrives!


All tickets can be booked online on this website and will be available to buy up to two hours before each event. A limited number of tickets can be booked in person on the day at the Ticket Desk in the Festival Café Bar. Arrival at least 30 minutes prior to the event starting is advised. No phone bookings can be made.

We reserve the right to change or cancel any event. We cannot offer refunds or exchanges unless an event is cancelled.


Concessions are available to children aged 5 – 16, Young Scot card holders, people aged 60 and over, students, unemployed people and disabled people.

The Festival Café Bar and all three exhibitions are free to access.

We reserve the rights to change or cancel any event. We cannot offer refunds or exchanges unless an event is cancelled.


There will be a range of books on sale, covering some of the topics covered by the Festival, including some authored by our panellists. Book signings will be arranged closer to the time. You can also preorder your books via our online shop, and pick them up when you arrive.

Visit our online shop


Healing Arts Scotland

Created by the International Teaching Artists Collaborative (ITAC) in the run up to Healing Arts Scotland, the project brought together participatory arts and health initiatives from all over Scotland. Works were made by groups including Articulate Hub, Bazooka Arts, Fruitmarket Gallery, Heart of Newhaven Meeting Centre, and Project Ability.

This curated selection of archive materials relating to two chapters from the book Grit and Diamonds and re-presented in partnership with Glasgow Women’s Library, reflects several themes explored in this year’s Festival programme including activism and violence against women.

The original exhibition highlights women as active and important contributors to Glasgow’s history between 1980 and 1990 following very masculine narratives in Glasgow’s approach to being a European City of Culture in 1990.

Scottish Youth Parliament at 25

A showcase of archive materials to mark the 25th anniversary of the Scottish Youth Parliament, selected by a group of MSYPs from material held by the National Library of Scotland and exhibited especially at the Festival of Politics.

Where do you see Scotland in 2049?

To mark the 25th anniversaries of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament, Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Schools Writer-in-Residence, Ryan Van Winkle invited members of the SYP to share their visions and campaigns for election in Scotland 2049. Hear from the young people in a pop-up exhibition about which issues are at the core of their campaign and why they want to lead the nation in Scotland 2049.

Eric Liddell: Legacy of an Olympic Legend

As you enter the Scottish Parliament building, in the Main Hall, you will also find the free exhibition Eric Liddell: Legacy of an Olympic Legend.

Other activities at the Parliament

Find our more about tours, talks and visits on offer at the Parliament

Planning your visit

For parking information, opening times, and our security measures, see our page on planning your visit


The crèche will be open on Tuesday 20, Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 August between 10.00am and 6.00pm for anyone who wishes to book a place. Please contact 0131 348 6192 or email

Contact us

You can phone Visitor Services on 0800 092 7500 / 0131 348 5000 or email us on or

Festival Supporters

  • Scotland’s Futures Forum
  • Healing Arts Scotland
  • Scottish Ballet
  • Scottish Opera
  • Climate Café
  • EIF
  • ITAC
  • The Consulate General of Spain
  • The Cervantes Chair, University of Edinburgh
  • Scottish Older People’s Assembly
  • The Law Society Scotland
  • Scottish Council on Bioethics
  • EMBT
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Stirling
  • Scottish Council on Global Affairs
  • Young Women’s Movement
  • Scottish Youth Parliament
  • The Rowett Institute
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Childlight Global Child Safety Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Centre for Responsible Debate  
  • Scottish Youth Film Foundation


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