Scottish Parliament’s 2020 Festival of Politics moves online as it debates the great challenges facing society


The Scottish Parliament is today announcing its first virtual Festival of Politics, with events moving online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking place from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st November, the entire Festival is free to attend.

The Festival programme - in partnership with the Scottish Parliament’s think tank, Scotland’s Futures Forum - puts the spotlight on the key issues facing society, with COVID-19 and our recovery from the pandemic being a core theme throughout.  In addition to COVID-19 and its impact, topics covered include climate change, the American Presidential election, Brexit, and the type of country Scotland is likely to be in ten years’ time.

Speaking as the Festival programme was launched, the Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP, said: 

“We are delighted to launch this year’s Festival of Politics which for the first time will be held online and will be free to watch.  The Parliament has always prided itself on being open and accessible to all and moving the festival online provides us with another method by which we can engage with people of all ages and backgrounds from across Scotland and beyond.

“The challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic have affected every aspect of our lives and it has never been more important for panellists and audience members to come together to discuss and share ideas on the best way forward for society.

“But we are not just focused on the pandemic.  With sessions devoted to climate change, race, Brexit and the American elections, we will be taking on all the major issues of our time.

“I’d encourage everyone to get online from November 19th, watch for free and join the debate for Festival of Politics 2020.”

Offering people a unique chance to engage with MSPs, journalists, academics and commentators, attendees can take part in the Festival at


Events are:

Thursday 19 November

Scotland 2030: What do we want, and how can we get there? in partnership with Scotland’s Futures Forum; 19:00 – 20:00;

Friday 20 November

The Class of 2020 in partnership with Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland; 10:00 – 11:00;

Scotland’s Top 5 for COP26 in partnership with Royal Scottish Geographical Society; 12:00 – 13:00;

Brexit – the end? in partnership with the Centre on Constitutional Change, University of Edinburgh; 14:00 – 15:00;

Sustainable Cities in partnership with Edinburgh Science Festival; 16:00 – 17:00;

Who Will Make America Great Again? in partnership with The Times; 18:00 – 19:00.

Saturday 21 November 

How to Heal a Nation in partnership with See Me Scotland; 10:00 – 11:00;

Racism in Scotland in partnership with the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights; 12:00 – 13:00;

Future of work in partnership International Labour Organization; 14:00 – 15:00;

Has the pandemic impacted on female equality? in partnership with The Parliament Project; 17:30 – 18:30;

Is Digital Destabilising Democracy? 19:00 – 20:00.



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