Festival of Politics
The debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament and various Committee Rooms are given over to a week of public discussions and debates on hot button issues such as sectarianism, whisky, the justice system, libraries in the digital age, sustainability, access to nature, and Scotland's place in the world as it approaches the referendum.
The Festival of Politics 2013 has still to be confirmed. It usually takes place in mid-August.
Events range from former PM Gordon Brown giving the free, inaugural Campbell Christie Lecture in the debating chamber (24th, 4.30pm) to the intriguing "Scotland's Missing Wood Cabins" (a free event) where broadcaster Lesley Riddoch and local land campaigner Andy Wightman ask why "Scotland alone in northern latitudes seems to have virtually no hut, cabin or modest second home tradition" (18th, 10am).
This being the Year of Creative Scotland there's a strong arts strand this year, with over 40 events coming together under the festival banner "Politics. Culture. Creativity. A Force for Positive Change".
For example, the late George Wyllie, sculptor of iconic works Paper Boat and Straw Locomotive, is the subject of a free panel with Murray Grigor (17th, 4.30pm), with Grigor leading a tour of Wyllie's sculptures in the Parliament Garden afterwards.
Iain Banks, James Robertson and Louise Welsh, among others discuss "Politics and Society in Scottish Writing" on 24th at 6.30pm in the main debating chamber.
Another panel, Literary Legacies, sees Jamie Byng, Managing Director of local publisher Canongate, author and former bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, and Alan Taylor, Editor, The Scottish Review of Books, discuss taking risks, literary relationships, and why it is vital never to be afraid to publish.
As well as panels on William Wallace, The Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, The Herald journalist Tom Shields, and Tommy Sheppard, owner of the Stand Comedy Club, debate satire in An Incredibly Brief History of Political Satire (18th, 10.30am).
Author Alexander McCall Smith, historians Alistair Moffat and Tom Devine, and The Herald Literary Editor and author Rosemary Goring, will discuss Scotland's key historical moments in An Audience With History (18th, 3pm).
The Festival features many discussions and debates, but there are also exhibitions and three plays - Singin’ I’m No a Billy He’s a Tim, Walking Theatre's adaptation of Shakespeare's Scottish tragedy S’Misa Macbeth, and Scottish Youth Theatre's The Magic Porridge Pot.
There's also live music performances by Scottish singer/songwriter JJ Gilmour, Mull Historical Society, and a young band night. Music-related discussions include Creativity and Social Change (18th), which looks at the role of music in prisons, and a panel on The Future of the Music Industry (25th).
Saturday 25th is Young People's Day at FoP from 1.30-3.30pm, a free event which sees young people take over the floor of the debating chamber.
During August, there are also short tours of parliament and of the Sculpture and Parliament Garden where you can see see works such as Studio, Contemplace, inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Stone of Destiny, a maquette for Berlin Burd, and The Train of the Standing Stones on display in this garden, which was based on a traditional knot garden (booking required).
Tickets for all events can be booked online via www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk
A limited number of tickets are available via the Scottish Parliament in person and via telephone on 0131 348 5405.
Tickets will be taken off sale 2 hours before each event. Unallocated tickets may be available on the day of the event and will be available from the Scottish Parliament’s Visitor Information Desk.
Booking fee for paid events. No booking fee for free events.