Highlights from the Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament's Festival Café Bar

This article is from 2016

Highlights from the Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament's Festival Café Bar

Diverse attractions on offer from LEGO to literature

Given the toil and budget which went into the construction of the Scottish Parliament building, it's appropriate that an architecture and construction theme runs through the Festival of Politics' cultural programme in its café bar. This year, the festival hub will be largely taken over by LEGO, with a team creating a map of Scotland out of everyone's favourite plastic brick-based toy – the Falkirk Wheel might prove a design challenge – and a Brick History exhibit depicting political landmarks from the suffragette movement through to the inauguration of Barack Obama.

'It's a great opportunity to build something that reflects the locale,' says LEGO master Warren Elsmore. 'As well as having the chance to display some of our more politically related models for the first time, we'll be using the height of the café bar to construct our giant map of Scotland.'

Jenny Lindsay is no stranger to the Festival of Politics, having hosted its first poetry slam as one half of literary / cabaret duo Rally & Broad. Now set up as Flint & Pitch Productions, she's invited a host of artists to participate in a new spoken-word show News from Nowhere, inspired by the William Morris novel of the same name. 'Amongst other things, he explored socialist thought, the built environment, labour, art and creativity,' says Lindsay. 'And we reckon this fits neatly with the broad theme of "the Architecture of Democracy".'

Other happenings in the free programme include appearances by a group of Dabke dancers and singers from Bethlehem, a day of live acoustic music featuring winners of the Holyrood Rocks competition as well as Edinburgh music club Folksville, and a short film made in St Peter's Seminary by artist Lydia Levett. This will coincide with yet more LEGO-related activity during family fun day on the festival's Saturday, hopefully proving that if you build it, they will come.

Festival Café Bar, Scottish Parliament, Horse Wynd, 18–20 Aug.

The Scottish Parliament Building

Horse Wynd, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP

In the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, the new Scottish Parliament building opened in 2004 and has since welcomed over five million visitors. Usually open from Monday to Saturday, visitors can join a free guided tour or see parliament in action…