Scotland's Futures Forum 2019 Review of the Year

Hello and welcome to the Scotland's Futures Forum review of the year for 2019!

In this, we have a look back over some of what we've done in 2019, and as well as looking forward to what's coming in 2020.

If you have any questions about this or anything else related to the Futures Forum, just get in touch with us on ScotlandsFuturesForum@parliament.scot.

Scotland 2030

Speakers and panel members at our Scotland 2030 Programme events this year, chaired by Andy Wightman MSP, Gordon Lindhurst MSP, Sir Andrew Cubie, Alex Rowley MSP, Claudia Beamish MSP, Linda Fabiani MSP, Stuart McMillan MSP, Clare Adamson MSP and the Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP.

In 2019, we continued our exploration of the future in our Scotland 2030 Programme, covering issues as varied as the idea of a wellbeing economy, the interaction between housing and ageing, and building sustainable futures for rural and urban communities.

Presentation slide from Dr Chris Dalglish at our event on the future of rural communities

We joined in with the Scottish Parliament's 20th birthday party and explored the future for the Gaelic language (in Gaelic and in English!)

For all the events and discussions, we aim to produce event reports, along with videos and podcasts of the contributions where possible. We're in the process of updating our website, so check out our Scotland 2030 Programme webpages for all the details.

A Citizen's Income?

One idea that has emerged frequently in Scotland 2030 discussions is that of a Citizen's Basic Income. Using new research supported by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, we hosted a debate in April on whether it presents a realistic option for Scotland.

The panel discussion featured an expert from Finland, which has also experimented with a citizen's income, an advocate from the Citizen's Basic Income Network in Scotland, and a sceptic from Scotland.

Presentation slides from Professor Mike Danson

In An Enlightened Future

Writer and performer Susie Maguire was unable to take part as planned in the session. Instead, she wrote a response – a dream – to the issue.

Future education and learning

With our partners the Goodison Group in Scotland, we've been continuing our project to look at the future for different stages of education and learning.

Using a draft scenario of what education in 2030 and beyond could and should look like, we interrogated the challenges of leadership with international education expert Graham Donaldson and the University of Aberdeen's Director of Leadership Programmes, Neil McLennan.

Presentation slides from Neil McLennan (l) and Graham Donaldson (r)

The project will conclude in March 2020 with an event at the Scottish Parliament - stay tuned for more details.


Head coach of the Scotland men’s rugby team, Gregor Townsend speaks on leadership in sport.

The Futures Forum also undertook a series of short projects this year, bringing innovative thinking and expertise to a parliamentary audience.

Leaders in Sport and Physical Activity

In 2019, the Futures Forum worked with the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) hosted a series of seminars hearing from leaders in sport and physical activity.

Each was asked to share the lessons they’ve learned in their journey through sport, along with their thoughts about the future. Where possible, these presentations were recorded for a Scottish Parliament podcast.

Former Fed Cup Captain Judy Murray reflected on her experience of coaching in tennis in Scotland, the lessons she’s learned, and her aspirations for the future.

The founder and chief executive of Street Soccer, David Duke, spoke at the Scottish Parliament about his journey from homelessness to winning the Homeless World Cup with Scotland and becoming a leading social entrepreneur.

The Head Coach of the Scotland Women’s National Team, Shelley Kerr, spoke at the Parliament about her battle to play football as a girl growing up in Scotland, her coaching journey culminating in taking Scotland to the 2019 World Cup, and her thoughts about the future of women’s football.

Digital Democracy

Presentation slide from Professor Cristina Leston Bandeira

In conjunction with the Scottish Parliament’s Digital Engagement Tools Team, we held a seminar in May to explore how the Scottish Parliament can best engage with citizens in a digital age.

This event, chaired by Angus MacDonald MSP, Deputy Convener of the Public Petitions Committee, heard presentations from Professor Cristina Leston Bandeira from the University of Leeds, and the Scottish Government’s Digital Engagement Manager Christine Connolly.

2020: What's next?

Next year, we bring the Scotland 2030 Programme to a conclusion with a report and event on Wednesday 27 May at the Scottish Parliament - save the date now!

Ahead of that event, we'll be looking at the Future of Education with our partners the Goodison Group in Scotland, as well as considering the potential for Carbon Positive Jobs (5 February) and Ethics and Values in future Scotland (1 April).

We're also supporting a story competition with Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing, Cymera, and Shoreline of Infinity, Scotland’s award-winning science fiction magazine. Check out our website for more information.

We'll provide more details about our plans in the new year. In the meantime, everyone at Scotland's Futures Forum wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.


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Photos: (C) Scotland's Futures Forum/Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body