ScotlandsFest 2019

The festival within the Festival invites you to enjoy fifteen varied afternoon sessions of stimulating conversation, readings and debate covering topics from George Orwell to Eduardo Paolozzi, the outer reaches of St Kilda to the inner workings of Glasgow, the science behind the standing stones to the political landscape of Scotland as she stands in the aftermath of Brexit. All this and more at ScotlandsFest sessions with writers, artists and thinkers,
where you are also invited to have your say. 
See below for the day-to-day programme and tickets. Day Passes and Week Passes are also available here.

Monday 19 August

The Scottish Parliament: the next 20 years

What has the Scottish Parliament achieved so far? And what might it achieve in the coming years? Drawing on letters written in submission for a Dear Scottish Parliament... campaign championed by YoungScot, Jim Johnston and James Mitchell, co-editors of The Scottish Parliament at Twenty, reflect on the role of the Scottish Parliament over the last 20 years and look forward to the next 20.

Meaning and mystery: the standing stones of Scotland

What can we know about our inheritance of ancient megalithic monuments? How can story passed down through the generations help us understand them? Pictish expert and storyteller Stuart McHardy, co-author of Stones of the Ancestors explores the history of standing stones in Scotland and the wealth of local stories associated with them, through oral storytelling and music.

Keeping indigenious languages alive

To mark the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council and author of Am Balach Beag a dh'Èisteadh aig Dorsan and Alan Riach, professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow and co-author of Arts and the Nation, celebrate creative approaches to strengthening the indigenious languages of Scotland in the future.

Tuesday 20 August

Moving on from the Trainspotting generation?

Scotland is a very different place from when Alistair Findlay entered front-line social work, as depicted in his memoir Mollycoddling the Feckless. He discusses the changes in Scottish society over the last 50 years with Trainspotting expert and guide Tim Bell, author of Choose Life, Choose Leith: Trainspotting on Location.

Herstory: foregrounding women of Scotland

Gerda Stevenson's Quines: Poetry in tribute to women of Scotland has had a rapturous response and is changing the perception of women's contribution to Scottish life. In parallel, Anna Groundwater's Scotland Connected takes an illuminating approach to Scottish history, setting it against a timeline of world and UK history and giving due credit to the contribution made by women. Together they present the herstory of Scotland, recognising some of Scotland's underappreciated female icons.

'Whaur extremes meet': the Scottish psyche in verse

Poets/editors Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone discuss the Scotia Extremis project, and the fascinating process of choosing and pairing dualities 'from the extremes of Scotland's psyche'. They commissioned poets from all around Scotland to write on pairings such as Laphroaig and Buckfast; Oor Wullie and Black Bob; Cullen Skink and Irn-Bru; Sawney Bean and Bible John; Jimmy Shand and Jack Bruce.

Wednesday 21 August

The Godfather of Pop Art: Paolozzi's Edinburgh

Godfather of the Pop Art movement Eduardo Paolozzi was born and raised in Leith. The range and impact of his work to be found in Edinburgh – from monumental sculpture to delicate stained glass – is discussed by Christine De Luca, poet and co-editor of Paolozzi at Large in Edinburgh, and art historian Bill Hare, author of Scottish Artists in the Age of Change.

Framing the nation: interpreting Scottish identity through art

Art historian Tom Normand, author of a new book on artist/photographer Calum Colvin, in conversation with portrait artist Alexander 'Sandy' Moffat, whose career Bill Hare charts in Facing the Nation and photographer Calum Colvin, about their different ways of framing and interpreting Scottish identity.

Tribalism in Scotland

From LGBT boxers to cowboys and cowgirls, drag artists to Jacobites, buskers to Gaels - Glasgow has it all and more. Stephen Millar and Alan McCredie talk about their journey creating Tribes of Glasgow, meeting and photographing the colourful tapestry of people that live, work and socialise in Scotland's largest city.

Thursday 22 August

The Glasgow Effect: social mobility in Scotland

Kenneth Calman, former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, chair of the Calman Commission and author of It Started in a Cupboard discusses the health issues of modern Scotland with environmental activist/artist Ellie Harrison, whose challenging project The Glasgow Effect engages with issues of poverty, sustainability and lifestyle.

Constitutional change and political will

Former First Minister and author of People, Politics, Parliament Henry McLeish reflects on 20 years of a devolved Scottish Parliament. An advocate of proportional representation and constitutional change, he is joined by Andrew Conway, whose How Scotland Works dismantles barriers of political jargon and misinformation for citizens.

The Scottish Parliament 20 years on: visions of Scotland the Brave

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, Gerry Hassan and Simon Barrow, editors of Scotland the Brave? discuss social transformation with James McEnaney, author of A Scottish Journey, Director of Equate Scotland Talat Yaqoob, and Director of Voluntary Arts Scotland Jemma Neville, contributors to an influential new book about changing the face of Scotland.

Friday 23 August

Going green: the art of living well

Do you believe in the power of 'stopping to smell the flowers', spending time in green places and engaging with nature whenever possible? Chaired by Donald Smith, meet two pioneers of natural living in a modern lifestyle: Joanna Geyer-Kordesch, author of Why Gardens Matter and Joanna Thomson, author of Live Well, Eat Well, Be Well.

Isolated islands: the remote lifestyle that inspired Orwell

What was it about island life that George Orwell was so drawn to on Jura while writing 1984? Landscape photographer and author of St Kilda: The Silent Islands Alex Boyd and island writer Norman Bissell, author of Barnhill, a novel of Orwell's last years, discuss the realities of remote island living and its potential for creative inspiration.

What lies beyond our skies? A cosmic collision of science and art

What is Scotland's contribution to astronomy? Astronomer Royal for Scotland John C Brown discusses stars of Scottish astronomy such as James Clerk Maxwell, the dark skies movement, the latest discoveries and the creative interplay between science and the arts, using magic to explain the science behind the phenomenon. His co-author of Oor Big Braw Cosmos and National Trust for Scotland Scriever in Residence Rab Wilson performs cosmic poetry in Scots.