The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

Futures Forum Autumn 2023 Update

Picture of the Scottish parliament with autumnal tree in foreground

In Edinburgh today, it feels like summer outside, but it is technically autumn, so here’s an update on what Scotland’s Futures Forum is up to as we enter a new season.

Our work continues to bring people together and help them look to the strategic challenges facing Scotland.

Upcoming event: How fair is fair?

On Tuesday 3 October, we are hosting a public debate on Scotland’s ambitions for the future. We have a fantastic range of expertise and perspectives in our panel, featuring the chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission, one of Scotland’s leading voices on poverty and inequality, and an award-winning author compared to Irvine Welsh.

We thank our partners at the University of Glasgow, who are supporting the event as part of their Adam Smith Tercentenary celebrations.

Recent work

This debate builds on our events during the summer at the Scottish Parliament’s Festival of Politics and in partnership with the David Hume Institute.

Among a full and varied programme, we supported panel discussions on Scotland’s poverty problem and economic transformation, exploring how Scotland could change and why it isn’t. 

Later in August, we partnered with the David Hume Institute to bring Professor Danny Dorling to Edinburgh for a seminar with MSPs and others ahead of his public lecture.

Read on to find out more details on all this work.

Group of people in a room

Tackling Structural Inequalities

A Fair and Sustainable Scotland: How fair is fair? Tuesday 3 October, 6pm, at the Scottish Parliament

As part of our continuing work on tackling structural inequalities, we are hosting an evening debate in the Scottish Parliament to explore our ambitions for the future.

Complete equality of outcome is impossible, so what does success look like? How will we tell when we have a fair country? And what should we be doing now to build it?

To consider these questions, we have an expert panel:

  1. Professor Graeme Roy, University of Glasgow and chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission
  2. Satwat Rehman, chief executive of One Parent Families Scotland
  3. Graeme Armstrong, award-winning author.

Chaired by Futures Forum director Esther Roberton, this free event is open to everyone.  

Panel of speakers in a room at the Scottish Parliament

Festival of Politics

As in previous years, we were delighted to be the lead partner for the Festival of Politics. We supported panel events on major issues facing Scotland for our future.

In “Scotland’s poverty problem“, we tackled the persistent and damaging levels of poverty in Scotland. If all political parties in Scotland are committed to tackling poverty, why has more progress not been made? 

Our event “It’s the economy, stupid” explored the different ideas surround Scotland’s economy at the moment. Post-pandemic and in a cost-of-living crisis, how can new economic ideas help us shape the future? This event took place in partnership with the Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Social Enterprise.

Finally, in partnership with the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee, we started a discussion on how Scotland’s land could be used in the future. Chaired by committee convener Finlay Carson MSP, “Radical uses for Scotland’s land” asked how can we use this finite resources to create fair and sustainable communities?

Our mailing list…

At Scotland’s Futures Forum, we run a mailing list for those interested in our work.

We only keep your name and email address, and we use the mailing list to send messages about upcoming events and other work that may be of interest. We send a couple of emails a month at most. We ask only for your name and email address, and we never share your information with anyone else.

However, if you change your mind, there is an option to unsubscribe on every message.