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Experts share insights at politics festival

Academics are contributing to a series of debates on some of the biggest issues facing society at this year’s Festival of Politics.

The festival includes sessions on Brexit, next year’s US presidential election, climate change and the 20th anniversary of devolution.

The festival offers people in Scotland the chance to engage and contribute alongside academics, commentators, journalists and MSPs and on some of the biggest issues shaping our political and cultural landscape.

Varied programme

The programme –  which runs from Thursday 10 October to Saturday 12 October – features 28 events including debates, exhibitions and music at the Scottish Parliament.

The Art of Intelligent Ageing exhibition explores a story of world-class research at the University that has significantly contributed to how the ageing process is understood.

Painted by the renowned artist Fionna Carlisle, the exhibition captures 24 personalities behind the Lothian Birth Cohorts, the research participants in a project led by Professor Ian Deary of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS).

Topical issues

Dr Matthew Brander of the University of Edinburgh Business School will speak at a session exploring the opportunities and challenges of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in Scotland by 2045.

A panel featuring Dr Oliver Escobar of the School of Social and Political Science and Dr Ellen Stewart of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society will discuss what can be learned from Citizens’ Assemblies around the world.

Elsewhere, a debate on the Macpherson Report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence will examine what has changed in the 20 years since the teenager’s death, with a panel featuring Professor Nasar Meer of SPS.

Wide-ranging programme

A film screening of Mariam – an award-winning film about faith and education – will be followed by a question and answer session run by Dr Nacim Pak-Shiraz of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC).  

A panel featuring Dr Khadijah Elshayyal also of LLC, will discuss religion, race, freedom of speech and Islamophobia.

Engaging events

To mark 20 years of devolution, a panel featuring Professor James Mitchell of SPS, will consider what the UK would be like had powers not moved from Westminster.

A panel chaired by Christine Grahame MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer at the Scottish Parliament, will debate whether efforts to improve public knowledge of female scientists are working.  Professor Joanna Wardlaw of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences is on the panel.

John O’Connor, Catholic chaplain for the Universities of Edinburgh, Napier and Queen Margaret, is chairing an event on responsible public debate.  Professor Matthew Chrisman of PPLS is on the panel.

Facilitating debate

BBC TV Presenter Andrew Marr is chairing a panel discussing the representation of women in British politics. The panel features Dr Meryl Kenny of SPS.

The question of whether public health laws promote healthy living or undermine freedom of choice will be under the microscope with a panel featuring Professor Linda Bauld of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.  

The Festival of Politics is an opportunity for the Scottish Parliament to open its doors to the general public in a unique way. It provides a space for everyone to consider and debate issues that matter to them in the heart of Scotland’s democracy.

The Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSPThe Presiding Officer

The Festival of Politics  

Home page image: Courtesy of Scottish Parliament