Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Scottish Ideas

This series of events explores the innovations, history and ideas which make this country such a fount of intellectual curiosity.

Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Scottish Ideas

About Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Scottish Ideas

There’s been plenty of focus in recent years on Scotland’s constitutional future, but this series of events explores the innovations, history and ideas which make this country such a fount of intellectual curiosity. From our islands to our borders, from ancient maps to modern art, this strand explores how Scotland has been viewed over the centuries. A series of ReimagiNation events sees the culmination of two years’ work looking at the past and future of Scotland’s post-war New Towns and we’ve got some of the best of contemporary Scottish writing.

Alistair Moffat
Sunday 12 August 11:45 - 12:45
Founder of the Borders Book Festival and former director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Alistair Moffat has recently been exploring Scotland’s forgotten paths in order to depict an alternative history of the country, which he does beautifully in his new book The Hidden Ways. Journeying along hidden roads previously traversed by armies, pilgrims and warriors, Moffat proposes that these pathways are reopened for the public. Chaired by Jenny Brown.

Gerda Stevenson
Sunday 12 August 18:30 - 19:30
In histories written by men, good women have rarely been given much credit. In Scotland, there’s a growing urge to redress the balance and, with her new collection Quines, Gerda Stevenson has produced a very necessary corrective. These unforgettable poems recognise the salt sellers, the fish-gutters, scientists and politicians who have made such a key contribution to Scotland’s history. Chaired by Jackie McGlone.

ReimagiNation Debate: Housing
Sunday 12 August 19:30 - 21:00
Scotland's 5 New Towns were built to alleviate urban overcrowding and poverty. Just over 70 years later, we have similarly pressing problems: housing shortages, a privately-owned rental market, and widely unaffordable house prices. Examine the future of housing with our panel: Roma Agrawal, structural engineer and author of Built, and John Boughton, author of Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing. Chaired by architectural historian Diane Watters.

Roger Billcliffe
Monday 13 August 10:00 - 11:00
Best known for his architecture and furniture design, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was also an accomplished artist who along with three friends from the Glasgow School of Art were 'The Four' at the centre of the Glasgow Style of the late 19th century. In his beautifully illustrated new book Roger Billcliffe maps the graphic language of this illustrious group. Chaired by Susan Mansfield.

Dan Cruickshank
Monday 13 August 14:00 - 15:00
Colourful architectural historian Dan Cruickshank returns with his book about a building form, Skyscraper, that in fact originated in Edinburgh. Cruickshank’s focus is on the innovative 1890s, the era not only of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Otto Wagner but of Gilded Age Chicago. He charts the development of the high-rise; a symbol of modernity that’s now tainted by controversy and tragedy. Chaired by Sheena McDonald.

Kirsten Carter McKee & E Patricia Dennison
Monday 13 August 17:45 - 18:45
The development of Scotland’s urban landscapes links the latest works from historians Kirsten Carter McKee and E Patricia Dennison. Edinburgh’s ‘Third New Town’ (aka Calton Hill and the surrounding area) is the focus for Carter McKee who finds that the architecture and design on the hill is a vivid demonstration of Scotland’s cultural identity. Dennison's The Evolution of Scotland's Towns considers urban heritage over 1,000 years, asking what we have lost and may continue to lose through neglect and fragmentation. Chaired by Sheena McDonald.

Alice Strang
Wednesday 15 August 14:15 - 15:15
Alice Strang, Senior Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland, considers modern Scottish art in A New Era and shows there was more to the nation’s output between 1900 and 1950 than the Colourists. Exploring links to Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism, she puts Scottish artists such as William Gear, J D Fergusson and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in their rightful place on the historical map. Chaired by Jane Fowler.

Brian May & Roger Taylor
Wednesday 15 August 17:00 - 18:00
In the 19th century, Scotland was a pioneer of photography. A leading practitioner was George Washington Wilson, whose innovations in stereoscopic photography created some of the most captivating 3D images. Join photographic historians Dr Brian May (also the lead guitarist of Queen) and Professor Roger Taylor as they trace Wilson’s career, show key examples of his work using a stunning new 3D projection system and present their accompanying book, George Washington Wilson, Artist and Photographer, published by the London Stereoscopic Company.

James Crawford
Friday 17 August 12:15 - 13:15
Few of us experience Scotland’s majesty from above. In his book Scotland from the Sky, based on the BBC Scotland series, aerial photography buff James Crawford gives us a bird’s eye view of our nation in both space and time, starting with what an early aviator saw from the cockpit and building up to the present day. What he finds is a story of conflict, countryside, innovation and people.

Moving Image Archive
Tuesday 21 August 10:00 - 17:00
The National Library of Scotland showcases rare print items and films from its collections, which capture and celebrate the unique stories from the New Towns of Scotland: East Kilbride, Cumbernauld, Glenrothes, Livingston and Irvine. Enjoy film screenings from the Moving Image Archive, listen to audio from Scotland’s Sounds and take part in creative activities throughout the day.

ReimagiNation: Scotland's New Towns
Wednesday 22 August 16:15 - 17:45
For the last two years, social historian Daniel Gray has been searching for utopia. Appointed by the Book Festival as lead writer on our ReimagiNation project, Gray has gathered the stories of communities across Scotland’s five New Towns. Join him and a cast of local residents from Cumbernauld, Irvine, East Kilbride, Glenrothes and Livingston as they tell Scotland’s New Town story, 70 years after they were created.

ReimagiNation Debate: Environment
Wednesday 22 August 19:30 - 21:00
How does our environment impact on our everyday lives? Just over 70 years ago, Scotland's New Towns were designed to incorporate green space. Today, novelist and architect David F Ross joins author and nature writer Karen Lloyd whose latest book is The Blackbird Diaries, to discuss the interaction of nature and the built environment with social historian Daniel Gray, who has been chronicling the voices of Scotland's New Town residents throughout the Book Festival’s ReimagiNation touring programme.

ReimagiNation Debate: Health
Thursday 23 August 19:30 - 21:00
What does ‘healthy living’ mean for people with conditions that impact on their mobility and employability? The intersection of health, environment and benefit systems, both locally and globally, is the subject of today’s discussion. Explore the issues with our panel: Edinburgh GP and author Gavin Francis; Devi Sridhar, the Global Public Health Chair at the University of Edinburgh; and Daniel Gray, lead writer on a Book Festival project involving sufferers of chronic lung conditions in Fife.

ReimagiNation with Edinburgh College of Art
Sunday 26 August 11:00 - 14:00
From totem poles to hippo parades, Scotland's New Towns include some weird and wonderful examples of public art. Drop in to explore some of the creations that illustration students from Edinburgh College of Art discovered while taking part in our ReimagiNation project. Once you've admired their work, have a go at creating your own masterpiece.

Piers Dixon & Fiona Watson
Mon 27 Aug 14:00 - 15:00
Archaeologist Piers Dixon and medieval historian Fiona Watson have teamed up to produce A History of Scotland’s Landscapes. In this stunning book they present maps and photographs showing patterns and markings in fields, forests, mountains and roads. In doing so, they reveal the myriad ways that land use has changed over the centuries, from the passing of the Romans to the decline of heavy industry. Chaired by Rosemary Burnett.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: Scottish Ideas are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.

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