New ‘festival of ideas’ to coincide with SNP Conference and draft Independence Referendum Bill

A radical new festival celebrating “the most important issues facing Scotland” is underway at the SECC to coincide with tomorrow’s SNP Conference.

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A radical new festival celebrating “the most important issues facing Scotland” is underway at the SECC to coincide with tomorrow’s SNP Conference.

More than 40 organisations have been taking part in the “festival of new ideas” which is run by Common Weal.

The aim of IdeaSpace is to “let members of the SNP and the public learn and be inspired” by fresh ideas outside the current political agenda.

Organisations showcased at tomorrow’s free event include Upstart Scotland, Unison, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Energy Democracy Project and Scotland Against Criminalising Communities.

The event has generated high levels of engagement on Twitter.

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Common Weal operations manager, Tiffany Kane, said: “The organisers of the event and those who have attended aren’t just imagining a better future. They’re making it happen.”

Maggie Lennon from Women for Independence, said: “If we’re heading towards another referendum — and I sincerely hope we are — the challenge will be how to engage with different people because not everyone who voted for Brexit is a right wing extremist, and some Brexit voters have been attending IdeaSpace.”

Max Wiszniewski, campaigns officer of Common Weal, said the original plan was to have a stall at this year’s SNP Conference but the SNP had raised the price considerably since last year’s annual conference in Aberdeen.

This led to IdeaSpace which was funded by “financial contributions and partner organisations.”

He said: “Over the last three days I’ve met so many people who want to take part in a constructive movement following the independence referendum and Brexit, and this is why the festival has been so important.”

The festival ends tomorrow at 2pm, with the line-up including talks on the attainment gap (9am), the SNP leaders (11.30am), Christian values in Scotland (12.45pm) and the Prevent strategy (2pm).

Ideaspace coincides with Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement at the SNP Conference that a draft Independence Referendum Bill will be published next week.

 

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Tomorrow’s IdeaSpace schedule. Photo: The Common Weal.