Get to the heart of the matter with a whole series of questions, talks, debates and films at the Big Tent. Throughout the weekend we will be raising challenging questions and bringing experts to help address some of the real issues of the day. The talks, debates and films will take place in a variety of venues at the Big Tent including for the first time, the House of Falkland (the A-listed House that is in the care of the Centre for Stewardship). Please note you can pre-book your seat at talks in the House of Falkland only.
Saturday programme of questions, talks and debates
Are politicians doing enough to protect Scotland's environment?
Our environment is a complex system, providing a range of resources and services on which all life ultimately depends. A clean and healthy environment is essential to our health and well-being, as well as to sustainable economic growth. Protecting our environment means looking after the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the resources that provide us with energy. Of all the legislation we have in place to protect our environment, almost 90% is European in origin. To discuss how this works, whether it works, what the future holds, two of Scotland's six MEPs will give us their thoughts and answer questions from the audience.
Speakers are: Catherine Stihler MEP and George Lyon MEP. 11am Saturday
Living with less - when is enough, enough?
Might it now be time for some of us to learn to live more lightly with austerity?
With Carol Craig, Director of Centre for Confidence & Wellbeing.
Scotland's forests: going local
Recent research has revealed that woodland ownership in Scotland is highly concentrated, with a pattern very different to that elsewhere in Europe. As a result it may not be delivering all the benefits it can. What models of ownership and management do we have which could diversify this pattern and result in a more 'local' forestry? And why does it matter? This session is being run by the Forest Policy Group.
Jamie McIntyre, Forest Policy Group & woodland crofts proponent,
Andy Brown, co-founder, Scottish Woodlot Association,
Andy Wightman, writer and researcher on land rights. 12noon Saturday.
Craft, culture and community
Craft is by its nature a transformative process...turning raw materials into something else. This session will explore the role of craft in creating a more sustainable and healthier society - changing the way we see and act in the world, not just for ourselves but with and for others...
This session will involve Big Tent craft makers, from willow weavers to furniture makers, and some key thinkers and supporters of sustainable craft in Scotland. It will be facilitated by social anthropologist Emilia Ferraro and contemporary jeweller Sandra Wilson, co-authors of "Craft and Sustainable Development: reflections of Scottish craft and pathways to sustainability" 12.15pm Saturday.
Craft, culture and community takes place in the House of Falkland - talks in the House can be reserved in advance.
Reforesting Scotland's "A thousand huts" campaign was launched by a hundred folk in Edinburgh in June 2011. With over 800 Facebook followers, the campaign is showing strong growth including many urban dwellers seeking a frugal rural retreat at weekends.
The session will provide an opportunity to hear what the hutting campaign is all about and what we can learn from Wales and Nordic countries.
Andy Wightman, land rights campaigner (Chair), Gerry Loose, Secretary of Carbeth Hutters on the joys and tribulations of hutting, Lesley Riddoch, journalist and researcher on hutting traditions in Norway and Scotland, Carol Craig, Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing on the value of huts in times of austerity, Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE at Trinity Saint David University (Institute for Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness) and Welsh Minister of Sustainability and Environment, 2007-11 on her experience of introducing and implementing the One Wales, One Planet policy on low impact development as a Minister for the Welsh Assembly. 1pm Saturday
National Tree Collection Scotland
Scotland has some of the world's finest tree collections. Their diversity reflects the pioneering work that Scots plant hunters, landowners and foresters have played over the centuries, collectin planing and caring for specimen trees from around the world.
Talk will be hosted by Tom Christian, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Session hosted by Forestry Commission Scotland. 1.30pm Saturday
The National Tree Collection Scotland talk takes place in the House of Falkland - talks in the House can be reserved in advance.
Is it time to radically change the way we farm and grow our food in the UK? Is it better to grow more “locally” or “globally” and at what cost? Is small beautiful or big better when it comes to producing people’s food? And how can farmers and growers contribute to a more sustainable, healthy and vibrant food culture? This session will be chaired by Professor David Atkinson. Panelists will include Colin Tudge, writer, on a vision of “enlightened agriculture", Pete Ritchie, organic farmer and Chair of Nourish, on reconnecting people with good food, Michael Blanche, Nuffield scholar, on how and why to bring new blood into farming, Professor Maggie Gill on sound science and sustainable farming and Andrew Arbuckle, farming journalist and writer, on what we can learn from the past. 2.30pm Saturday
Food, farming and the future takes place in the House of Falkland - talks in the House can be reserved in advance.
Should car sharing be the future of motoring? We are in the midst of global trends that point to more congestion, air pollution, and traffic injuries and deaths in our cities, not to mention the transport sector’s increasing contribution to climate change. These problems present an opportunity to create a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we scale up sustainable transport solutions worldwide. Join our panel for a discussion - hosted by SEStran on Saturday at 3pm.
The Oxfam Humankind Index- the new measure of Scotland's prosperity?
GDP isn't working. Pursuing relentless growth of just one dimension of prosperity has left the whole economy in a mess. Find out how the Oxfam Humankind Index for Scotland us helping us set a new course to a new kind of economy.
Kenny McBride, Oxfam Scotland UK Poverty Programme. Saturday at 4pm.
Land, life and livelihoods
How can Scotland’s landscapes and land uses best promote and sustain multiple benefits to people and nature? How might our land resources once again generate productive work for people? And who will make the best owners and stewards of the land in the future? The session will be chaired by Jane Davidson (image on right) who leads the Inspire project at University of Wales and was previously Welsh Minister of the Environment. Panelists will include: John Hutchison, Chair of the John Muir Trust and of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust and director of Community Land Scotland, Daye Tucker, farmer, artist and non-executive director of Land and Estates, Andy Wightman, advocate of land reform, Sarah Skerratt, the Rural Society Research Team, Scottish Agricultural Colleges, Andrew Bruce-Wootton from Atholl Estate. 4pm, Saturday.
Land, life and livelihood takes place in the House of Falkland - talks in the House can be reserved in advance.
The student demonstrations, the Arab Spring, protests across Europe and the Occupy movement have all burst onto our streets. On first view these protests have looked the same as street protests from the past but behind the scenes has seen the phenomenal use of social media. Social media has played an important role and our panel discuss ponder if this is changing the nature of modern protest? Featuring Peter McColl (Rector of Edinburgh University), Laurie Penny (journalist and feminist activist), Adam Ramsay (direct action specialist), Chaired by Nick Wilding.
Saturday at 5pm.
Sunday programme of questions, talks and debates
Bees, beavers and biodiversity
Come and join the debate about some of the hottest topics in the biodiversity world! Chaired by Colin Tudge, speakers will be Johanna Willi, Fife’s Biodiversity Officer, on the value of integrated habitat networks for biodiversity; Paul Ramsay on the reintroduction of beavers; and Michael Smith (Director) and Norton Millar (Head Beekeeper) of Johnny’s Garden on the plight of the bumblebee. Sunday at 11am.
Book launch: A Handbook of Scotland’s Wild Harvests
Editor Fi Martynoga and contributor Emma Chapman will give an illustrated talk at the launch of this exciting new book full of foraging know-how and expert advice from members of Scottish Wild Harvests Association and Reforesting Scotland. Sunday at 12noon.
What makes Fife, Fife?
What are the essential qualities that make Fife the place it is and distinguish it from other regions? And what, if anything, marks out a Fifer?
Speakers: Authors Ian Rankin and Aileen Paterson. Chaired by broadcaster Lesley Riddoch with audience participation. Sunday at 1pm.
(photograph of Ian Rankin: copyright Rankin)
Heritage, hardship and hope
What is the case for preserving heritage in a time of recession and how do you do so with less money? How do you balance the needs, merits and heritage value of an “A” listed country house (such as the House of Falkland), Glenrothes Town Art or city tenements? Is it time to redefine heritage, for whom are we keeping it and why?
Panelists are: Debbie Mays, Director of Projects at RIAS and previously Deputy Chief Inspector & Head of Listings at Historic Scotland, on weighing up heritage merit in c21 Scotland; Neal Ascherson is a Scottish journalist, author and founding editor of the journal "Public archaeology"; Paul Jardine, Director of Jura Consultants on the contribution that heritage makes to the economic development and on who pays the price of sustaining our heritage; Alex Woolf, University of St Andrews, specialises in early medieval history with an interest in the wide socio-economic and cultural context for understanding history; Tom Morton, principal of Arc Architects on why sustaining built culture is important to individuals and the importance of knowing when it is not.
Sunday at 2pm.
Heritage, hardship and hope takes place in the House of Falkland - talks in the House can be reserved in advance.
Join a lively discussion to debate the Fife Diet's 20 Ways to Change the Way We Eat. Launched this year the Food Manifesto lays down a challenge to the way we eat. "The manifesto is the culmination of five years action research in Fife and beyond, trying to get an understanding of how food can be part of restorative practice across health and well-being ecology and community." Taking the best practice from around Europe the ideas form a pathway to a better food system.
Join a facilitated discussion asking: Which ideas do you like best and how can we make them a reality? With Mike Small.
Sunday at 2pm.
Slow Food - making connections across the planet
Slow Food was founded in Italy in the late 80s by Carlo Petrini, partly as a reaction to the invasion by the ‘fast food culture’. It global, grassroots organisation with members in over 150 countries. Daniel Gotts, chair of Slow Food Edinburgh, talks about what Slow Food does in Scotland – and some of the challenges to be addressed if we are all to share in A Better Way To Eat."
Sunday at 3pm.
Is Politics working for you? A debate hosted by the Electoral Reform Society
Maybe our democracy never really worked that well.
Maybe increased transparency and developments in technology mean that
ordinary people are able to appreciate the realities of power and its
Maybe the modern age has seen an erosion of values such as public service
and duty that have led to a loss of trust in politics.
Whatever the underlying causes, the truth is that trust is ebbing away.
This is no small thing.
If we lose our faith in democratic politics we lose faith in our ability to
act together to tackle our problems and to create a better future.
Scotland is a relatively small place with a strong history of collectivism
and democratic action. This, combined with the current focus on the way we
should be governed provides an ideal opportunity for us to question and
discuss what might make our democracy better.
The Electoral Reform Society are running 'Democracy-Max', a programme to ask
those questions and organise those discussions.
As part of that programme we are holding a democracy debate at the Big Tent
festival where we hope to engage with festival goers to come up with some
ideas, language and signposts to a new and improved Scottish Democracy. Join the Electoral Reform Society for a vital and vigorous debate!
Sunday at 3pm.
One Small Step
A final Big Question session on what we need to do next. Setting aside the moon, cyberspace and politicians what action can ordinary folk take to make Scotland a better place?
Chaired by Lesley Riddoch, expect a lively debate with panelists and festival goers, Sunday at 4pm.
The Place Apart
This church without a roof will host a programme of inspiring talks and gentle music on the time of Soil, Soul and Story - welcoming seekers of all faiths and none who are looking for a better relationship with life on earth - in ways that might sometimes 'disturb and comfortable and comfort the disturbed'. Contributors will include scientists and spiritual thinkers, artists and activists, poets, musicians and singers. The space will be facililated by the Centre for Stewardship in partnership with Lapidus and the Scottish Churches Rural Group.
10:45am: Protest in Harmony singing for the earth workshop led by Jane Lewis and Chris Booth. Start the day with some inspirational group singing, meeting at the chapel, hopefully taking a song around and about the site. No previous experience or ability to read music necessary. All welcome! Jane Lewis is a song leader with Protest in Harmony radical street choir.
2 pm: Well Wishing & Remembrance Poetry Tree led by Margot Henderson. Make a poem, make a wish, and then put it on the remembrance tree over the weekend. All welcome
3:30 pm: Open Mic session with David Campbell Soul, Soil and Story with 'Special Guest' Lesley O'Brien. Hear stories connected to the earth from David a truly well-travelled and experienced teller from his rich and vast repertoire. Expect to get interactive with Lesley who loves to tell tales from all around the world using music and a variety of instruments, games and rhymes. Ask a question or possibly have a go yourself
5.30 pm: Body Writing inspired by Taichi & haiku with Larry Butler. Lapidus's very own convenor and vastly experienced Taichi instructor invites you to write a haiku; on the human body!
10:45 am: Protest in Harmony singing for the earth workshop led by Jane Lewis and Chris Booth. Start the day with some inspirational group singing, meeting at the chapel, hopefully taking a song around and about the site. (See Saturday)
11.15 am: Mind/Remind/Remember with geology Professor Stuart Haszeldine & Larry Butler. Join this family workshop making site specific installations, living sculptures and poems. Reminding us what we can do to prevent further loss of biodiversity, Minding what survives and thrives in this place and encouraging new habitats and Remembering to celebrate and commemorate extinct species, and grieving for what we have lost
1:15 pm: Celebrating the Connection between trees and writing with Mandy Haggith, writer and environmentalist down from Sutherland for a workshop for you to explore the ancient connection between trees, the natural environment and your writing. Just bring something to write with. All age welcome
3:00 pm Earth Stories - Family story making session with Eco-Storyteller Allison Galbraith. Explore our connection to the Earth through environmental games and stories. Just bring an object of choice i.e. your favourite cuddly animal or enviro gadget, and of course your imaginations. Allison will help you to create your own original stories, which will no doubt be the solutions to all of our planet's and communities' environmental problems! Suitable for the whole family.
4:30: Open Mic: session let by Margot Henderson with 'Special Guests' the ever popular Blether Tay-gither storytellers!
Scottish Churches Rural Group (Saturday only)
Hosted by David Atkinson, Emeritus Professor of Land Resources and Bill Harvey of the Scottish Churches Rural Group.
1100 Soil and Soul: Being rooted - Readings and reflections on the science and spirituality of being rooted in the earth - drawing from the ancient texts such as the Book of Job to twentieth century writers such as Rachel Carson with opportunities for audience contributions.
1200 Soil and Story: The role of place in our Journey - An exploration of special places and journeys in our heritage and
contemporary culture from the pilgrim routes of Fife to the Frank Bruce Sculpture Trail and Feshiebridge with opportunities to for audience participation.
Transition Scotland Tent
Folk down the road are changing the world - want to join them?
Community groups across Scotland are working together to make their villages, towns and cities greener places to live. Meet local community groups Falkland and the Lomonds Transition Community, Sustainable Cupar, St Andrews Environmental Network, Greener Kirkcaldy and Transition Linlithgow who will inspire you with their projects on food and gardening, energy saving, renewables, waste, recycling and transport. Also in this tent are Permaculture Scotland - the national network that supports people to learn about and use permaculture.
Drop in any time 10.30am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday
Introduction to Permaculture - The What, Why and How... With Lusi Alderslowe, 2-3pm, both days.
Permaculture Practicals - family friendly fun making "New Things Fae Old Things"... With Luci Ransome, 11.30-12.30pm, both days.
Celebrate the people and movies that are changing the world with Take One Action's global cinema and talks programme this weekend. Grab your food and join us for lunch in Africa, dinner in Aberdeen and breakfast under the sea.
THE DANCING FOREST (Sat, 1-3pm) with Mike Small (The Fife Diet), Sara Cowan (Oxfam Scotland) and Hannah Newcomb (The Co-operative).
SURPRISE SCREENING! (Sat, 6-8pm) explosive documentary filmed in Scotland: community, power and the environment.
CHILDREN'S ANIMATION (Sun, 10am-12noon) animation film and activities for young festival goers.
Ray Perman is the author of
'The Man Who Gave Away His Island: A Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna’. Ray was a journalist for 30 years and in 1977 he first visited Canna and met John Lorne Campbell, with whom he corresponded with John’s until his death in 1996. He will be talking about his book on Saturday at 4pm.
Meet the author, Laurie Penny, journalist, author, feminist. She is a columnist and reporter for The Independent and has written for The New Statesman, The Guardian, The Nation, Salon and many others. She is the author of Meat Market (Zer0 Books, April 2011) and Penny Red (Pluto Press, October 2011).
1pm on Sunday
Catriona Child will be discussing her first novel Trackman (published by Luath Press). "In her debut novel, Catriona Child has all the makings of a cult hit" Alastair Mabbott, The Herald. 2pm on Sunday.
Sunday 3.45pm the Festival Café. Join Aileen Paterson for a chance to hear about Maisie’s Travels to Fife and beyond... Aileen Paterson is the author of the Maisie books. Maisie is of course the best–kent kitty in Scotland.