Protest theme opens Festival of Politics seventh year


A lively and thought-provoking programme of topical events covering everything from the Arab Spring to political protest songs and Twitter-inspired TV will start today with the Scottish Parliament’s seventh annual Festival of Politics.

Among today’s highlights are two events featuring musician and Live Aid founder Midge Ure OBE debating whether the political song has had its day, plus an intimate solo performance from the Ultravox frontman in the evening.

A panel of female academics and MSPs question the need for quotas to achieve gender balance at the Scottish Parliament while the event with Richard Holloway, the Scottish writer and former Bishop of Edinburgh is likely to demonstrate why he is one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Later, a distinguished panel of architects, critics and curators will discuss the V&A Museum at Dundee and why it is one of the most internationally significant architectural projects in a generation.

Other events today include, ‘Has Twitter changed the world? Social media and Scottish politics’, where broadcaster Lesley Riddoch debates whether the use of Twitter and other social media in events like the Arab Spring has lessons for parliamentary democracies. She is joined by Joan McAlpine MSP and Kezia Dugdale MSP, Peter Cruickshank from the International Teledemocracy Centre and Dr Andy Williamson from Digital Democracy Programme.

This morning, esteemed playwright David Greig joins a panel of commentators and academics to discuss whether culture can help us understand Scotland’s place in the world in ‘Whose heritage, whose society?’ A youth element also runs through today with Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tam Baillie in “a RIGHT blether”, talking about the good things happening in 74,000 young people’s lives.

This afternoon, Wave Theatre Blueprint presents its drama ‘Nighthawks’ about an eclectic group of people whose lives are changed when a stranger’s arrival sets the past, present and future on a collision course.

Programme availability and tickets

Festival Partners

This year’s Festival of Politics is delivered in formal partnership with:

  • Carnegie UK Trust and the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust
  • The Law Society of Scotland


The Festival, which runs from 20 – 27 August, presents a diverse programme of events bringing together politics, media and the arts through performance, discussion and debate. On their way to and from events, visitors will be able to view one of the largest and most prestigious photographic exhibitions – the World Press Photo exhibition 2011. Striking images taken by the world’s leading photo journalists that depict dramatic, life-changing events from around the world, line the public entrance to the Scottish Parliament. Photographic events for the public will take place alongside this year’s Festival sessions.

Members of the media should contact:
Sally Coyne: 0131 348 6265 RNID TypeTalk calls welcome

For public information enquiries, contact:
Telephone: 0800 092 7500
Textphone users can contact us on 0800 092 7100. We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service.

Text message: 07786 209888


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