Festival of Politics opens for fifth year


An inspiring programme of debate and drama starts today as the Scottish Parliament’s fifth Festival of Politics opens for an extended five-day run. From famous singers to political movers and shakers, activists and journalists, the Festival is the place where politics truly meets the people.

Annie Lennox and The SING campaign is among this year’s Festival highlights. Annie will discuss her personal experience of witnessing the HIV/AIDS disease in Africa and the action we can all take in fighting the pandemic.

This event will be chaired by Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP, who later in the day takes part in "The Scottish Parliament - Past, Present and Future". He will be joined by former presiding officers Sir David Steel and the Right Honourable George Reid to discuss the Parliament’s achievements, challenges and the path devolution may take in the future.

Other events today include “From Petition to Action: Yesterday’s Children”, motivated by the legal success of the Cross Party Group on Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse in producing a national strategy on the subject. The event seeks to show how the public can influence the political process in Scotland and improve the lives of its citizens.

Also happening this afternoon is “From Darwin to Dolly – and Beyond!” Professor Ian Wilmut is among the panellists examining the past, present and future of cutting-edge life-science research in Scotland. While the co-operative movement’s history and future in face of the credit crunch is debated in “Scotland: A Co-operative Past and a Co-operative Future”.

Sessions take place throughout the day and members of the public and the media are invited to attend in the Main Chamber and committee rooms. Events in the Main Chamber will be webcast live at www.holyrood.tv.

Last year’s critically acclaimed event proved so popular that the programme has been extended to five days, running from 18-22 August. The Festival 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 52nd World Press Photo exhibition. Striking images taken by the world’s leading photojournalists, that depict dramatic, life-changing worlds events in 2008, will line the public entrance. Photographic events for the public will take place alongside this year’s Festival sessions.

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 Scotsman
EAE Leaflet Marketing Specialists
The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City

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