‘Strictly Smith!’ Ed Balls in Kirkcaldy for lecture

Ed Balls will give the Adam Smith Lecture (Pic: John Devlin)

Ed Balls will give the Adam Smith Lecture (Pic: John Devlin)

  • Kirkcaldy to host ‘Festival Of Ideas’
  • Launch of a national conversation
  • Event includes first Jo Cox Memorial lecture
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A festival of ideas and a cast of big names – and they’re all coming to Kirkcaldy to honour Adam Smith.

The town’s most famous son is the inspiration behind the first Adam Smith Festival which runs from March 17-19.

Sally Magnusson (Pic: Jane Barlow)

Sally Magnusson (Pic: Jane Barlow)

The influence of economist and philosopher will underpin the biggest event yet staged by the Adam Smith Global Foundation.

And it will use the stage to debate the big issues as the world faces up to major political changes – from Brexit to Trump.

The festival will feature the traditional Adam Smith Lecture which has been delivered by leading politicians and figureheads across the decades.

Ed Balls, the man who went from politics to the dance floor and entertained the country on ‘Strictly’, launches the festival with his speech entitled Strictly Smith.

Brendan Cox will deliver the inaugural Jo Cox Memorial Lecture (SWNS)

Brendan Cox will deliver the inaugural Jo Cox Memorial Lecture (SWNS)

The line-up over three days of debate and discussion includes a range of broadcasters, politicians, campaigners, entrepreneurs and philosophers.

And Marilyn Livingstone, chief executive of the Adam Smith Global Foundation – the organisation behind the event – is delighted at how it has come together.

She said: ‘‘There are huge changes happening in Scotland, and the UK as well as internationally.

‘‘To tap into that, we wanted to launch a Festival of Ideas and given Adam Smith’s role in the Scottish Enlightment, this is the best place to start the debate.

‘‘And we want to then come back one year on to see where we are and what has changed.

‘‘Never before has the discussion of ideas been more necessary as the world undergoes a bewildering set of economic, technological and cultural transformations.

“The question we want to ask is that after a decade of seismic change, what will Scotland look like in the future?”

The Festival of Ideas seeks to build on the Smith’s philanthropic and academic theories– and spark some animated discussions on topics such as cultural life, enterprise, and economies and cohesive communities.

Saturday’s main speaker is Brendan Cox, an international campaigner and activist, whose wife, Jo Cox MP, was murdered last year.

Both Brendan and Jo worked with Mr Brown over a number of years, and he will deliver the first Jo Cox Memorial Lecture in Kirkcaldy as part of the festival.

It will be followed by a Q and A with the audience at the Adam Smith Theatre.

Mr Brown said: ‘‘We are fortunate to have Brendan Cox from Hope not Hate.

‘‘He was very keen to come and be part of the festival, and this will be a huge draw for people.’’

Mr Brown will also introduce former parliamentary colleague, Ed Balls, to Kirkcaldy, and then return to the venue on Saturday to form part of the panel to debate The New Economy 2025 with Martha Lane Fox, founder of lastminute.com, and Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life and deputy chairman of Barclays Bank.

Saturday’s programme also includes a session discussing the third sector, led by broadcaster Sally Magnusson.

That will then be followed by a debate on Society in 2025, with a panel which will include will feature entrepreneur Chris Van Der Kuyl.

On Sunday, the theme is New Scotland, New World.

The schedule includes Sarah Brown introducing Arabella Weir, comedian, acstress and writer.

Broadcaster Alistair Moffat will also host a conversation with a panel which will include Michael Moore, former Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rev Richard Holloway, and veteran broadcaster and journalist Kenneth Roy.

It’s the biggest event yet staged by the global foundation which is now based at 1 Adam Smith Close after restopring the 15th century building which sat at the foot of the garden behind Smith’s High Street home.

The aim is to provide a weekend of debate and discussion – and the door is open to all to attend. Some of the events are also free of charge.

And with the organisers also creating a Yube Tube channel, the hope is this will be the star of an on-going debate on the key issues both locally and globally.

‘‘We want to maintain the momentum not only online, but attempt a real national conversation that will lead to a second event in Kirkcaldy in 2018.

‘‘This festival has been a long time in the planning , and it will allow us to show the outstanding work taking place in Kirkcaldy, and will firmly establish Fife as a key economic player and as a place of ambition.

The event is supported by Kirkcaldy Area Committee, Fife Cultural Trust and Kirkcladuy’s Ambitions.

The debates take place at the Adam Smith Theatre .

Cllr Neil Crooks, chairman of the area committee and Kirkcaldy Ambitions Group said; ‘This is a once in a generational opportunity for Kirkcaldy to support the legacy of Adam Smith and welcome such a prestigious and exciting event to our town.

“I hope its impact will be far reaching and support the economic and social wellbeing of our communities’.

Heather Stuart, chief executive officer of the Fife Cultural Trust, said; “We are delighted to be supporting the inaugural Adam Smith Festival of Ideas.

‘‘With such an inspirational line-up of speakers and events, Adam Smith Theatre is the perfect venue to host proceedings, having provided a hub for cultural activities in Kirkcaldy and beyond for almost 120 years.”

>> For tickets and information, visit: Festival Of Ideas