Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Look out for the Flamenco flashmob surprise!

SOME 50 dancers aged 18-75 are will surprise passers-by with a flamenco flashmob on 1 August as part of opening events for the 2013 Just Festival.

Taking place at 6pm on Thursday, at a mystery location in the city centre, the flashmob will feature solo performances by professional dancers as well as a powerful choreographed routine performed by the whole group.

The Just Festival - sponsored by a wide range of civic, educational faith and church groups - begins on 2 August and will feature 129 events and 450 performances across 28 venues in Scotland's capital.

The flashmob famenco dancers come from all over Edinburgh, following a call out from event partners Hispanic Arts Scotland and Just Festival to residents of Wester Hailes and Craigmillar.

The estates, where life has been tough in recent years, are taking part in a series of free classes ahead of the event, as well as classes hosted by the national dance agency Dance Base. For many participants this is their first opportunity to learn to dance and perform in public.

Flamenco is a beautiful, fun and fiery Spanish folk dance from the Romani, or Gypsy, community, but with roots in Indian culture and a spiritual side that makes it a fitting introduction to the programme for August's Just Festival.

The flashmob location for Thursday 1 August will be revealed on and @justFestival on Twitter an hour before the event takes place. 

Our picture shows some of the Craigmillar participants getting ready!

* Media info on flamenco flashmob, Just Festival performances, workshops, exhibitions, family and Persian Tent: Leila Frank, e:, t: 07552 717 827.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Africa Entsha are back!

SINGING sensations Africa Entsha have taken Edinburgh by storm over the past couple of years, and they are set to do so again in 2013 as part of the Just Festival.Take a look at them in action here...

Just volunteering...

AS well as a dedicated staff team, the Just Festival gives people from across the world rich and rewarding opportunities for volunteering.

Indeed, without the volunteers, there would be no Just!

Duties undertaken by our amazing team include, stage organisisation, front of house, box office, social media, photography and filmmaking.

We also have a dedicated kitchen which we encourage everyone to get cooking together.

Here at the Just Festival we are committed to providing a wonderful volunteer experience, and to make sure everyone is fully involved, there have been training sessions taking place this weekend... because the Festival is now only a few days away!

Get ready for Just...

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Who controls your wonga?

AS the Church of England and the Church of Scotland talk about plans to compete with high-interest charging pay-day lenders, the Just Festival looks at whether and how business can be ethical and sustainable. 

'Business for just the other 99 per cent' takes place on on 21 August at 6pm, in the hall at St John's Church, with speakers from Social Bite, plus Social Enterprise Scotland and Islamic Relief Worldwide .

Full details and booking hereDon't miss it!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Charity spotlight: Waverley Care

JUST Festival is delighted to be supporting Waverley Care as one of its sponsored charities in 2013, backed by a percentage of each ticket sold throughout August.

Waverley Care is Scotland's leading charity providing care and support to people living with HIV or Hepatitis C.

A diagnosis of HIV or Hepatitis C brings with it not only issues of poor health and a lifetime of medication and hospital visits, but individuals also face social exclusion, stigma and discrimination.

Waverley Care believes that every person has a right to be cared for, loved and respected, whether they are HIV/Hepatitis C positive or not.

From facilitating peer support, to pastoral and spiritual care and help with job applications, it challenges stigma and discrimination so that everyone can work towards reaching their full potential in life.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Charity spotlight: Mary's Meals

ONE of the two highly-regarded charities with local and global links being supported by ticket sales from Just Festival in 2013 is Mary's Meals.

Mary's Meals is an international movement that sets up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

Mary's Meals is a simple idea that works - by providing a daily meal in a place of education, chronically poor children are attracted to the classroom where they can gain a basic education that provides an escape route from poverty.

The average cost to feed a child for a whole school year is £10.70 / €12.40 / $16.80 - a small amount that can make a really big difference.

Wherever possible they purchase locally produced food for use in the meals we serve in schools. This supports the local economy, it respects local culture and food preferences, and it avoids incurring extra transport costs.

You can find out more about the work of Mary's Meals here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Just a small ticket tax...

THE organisation that brings you Just Festival is a social enterprise dedicated to supporting those with a practical vision for a better, fairer and more peaceful society.

This vision, supported by people of different faiths and of no religious belief alike, is both local and global. It takes shape in practical actions, not simply lofty ideals.

Just is about putting our money where our heart is.

Each year we raise money for selected humanitarian causes through a 50p ticket surcharge.

This year we will split all money raised between the inspirational charities Waverley Care and Mary’s Meals.

Over the next couple of days, Just Festival News will give you a flavour of the invaluable work these two important NGOs do, so that you can get to know them better.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Lux Prize films at Just

THE European Parliament and the Lux Prize have partnered with Just Festival to bring to screen four films that were contenders for the prize in previous years. All the screenings will take place in Edinburgh's Filmhouse.

The fiims show as follows:

4 August 2013 at 17:45
Le silence de Lorna
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Belgium France Italy 2008 • 1h55m
French/English subtitles
A young Albanian woman is stuck in a strategic marriage set up by a Russian gangster.
Q&A tbc

8 August 2013 at 18:00
Olivier Masset-Depasse
Belgium France Luxemburg 2010 • 1h35m
French/English subtitles
Tania has been living illegally in Belgium with her 14 year old son. Refused asylum from Russia she lives in constant fear of being caught.
Q&A with Liz Leonard

15 August 2013 at 18:00
R: hit first, hit hardest
Michael Noer, Tobias Lindholm
Denmark 2010 • 1h36m
Danish/English subtitles
R has been sent to prison for violent assault. Determined to stay out of harm's way, he faces the challenge of navigating prison culture.
Q&A with Alex Dunedin

22 August 2013 at 18:00
Kalinovski Square
Yury Khashchavatski
Belarus/Estonia 2007 • 1h27m
Belarussian/English subtitles
A documentary exploring the demonstrations on Kalinovski Square after the elections on 19 March 2006 in Belarus.
Q&A with Dr Alan G. Flowers

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Not just Edinburgh... the moral heart of Festival

EDINBURGH's annual Festival of Spirituality and Peace has been relaunched in 2013 as Just Festival, comprising 129 events across 450 performances in 28 different venues.

The relaunch happened at St John's Church in Scotland's capital on 18 June 2013. Though the events happen from 2-26 August in Edinburgh, the style, remit and scope of the Festival is far wider – global, in fact.

Among the many cultural highlights this year there will be live music from Chile's Tejas Verdes, music and dance from Afriva Entsha, topical conversations, film screenings, exhibitions, family events and Edinburgh's first Death Café (would you like that death tall, grande or venti?).

The renaming of the festival, says The List magazine, marks a shift away from emphasising the absence of conflict and towards a more active engagement with justice and compassion.

Edinburgh Spotlight comments: "It would be unfair to suggest that Edinburgh’s other festivals shy away from moral, political and social issues. However, by curating a series of events and performances which both celebrate and highlight the importance of the world’s cultural and ethical diversity, the Just Festival could perhaps be described as the festival season’s compassionate heart."

Just Festival is being supported and sponsored by the Scottish Government, the European Parliament, the University of Edinburgh, the Scottish Episcopal Church, Ekklesia, Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together (ecumenical), Edinburgh Inter Faith Association, and the main venue, St John's Church.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Just like and follow us...

THE Just Festival is taking place at the busiest time of the year for cultural events in Edinburgh, and as the publicity hots up around the capital and beyond, it is often personal recommendations that get people to take the plunge and book an event.

There's a huge amount to choose from in 2013, and as well as keeping you up to date via the website and this diary, the Festival has its own very active Facebook and Twitter pages.

So go on... like us, follow us, recommend us to your colleagues and friends. Be the roots, shoots and branches that help us grow. Help make 2013 the year of Just Festival!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Sponsors: The Scottish Government

LAST year the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, opened what was then the Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

Now, in 2013, FoSP has become Just Festival, and continues to value the strong support it gets from the Scottish Government, in recognition of its role in promoting harmonious communities, breaking down barriers of culture and belief, making peace, and combatting bigotry and sectarianism.

The devolved government for Scotland is responsible for most of the issues of day-to-day concern to the people of Scotland, including health, education, justice, rural affairs, and transport.

The Scottish Government was known as the Scottish Executive when it was established in 1999 following the first elections to the Scottish Parliament. The current administration was formed after elections in May 2011.

The Government's purpose is to focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sponsors: University of Edinburgh

THE Just Festival is pleased to enjoy creative links with academic bodies, as well as with community, faith and civic ones throughout Scotland and beyond.

The University of Edinburgh and its constituent parts have given strong support over the years.

In particular we have appreciated engagement with the Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World, which seeks to promote a deeper understanding of Muslim beliefs, cultures and practices.

Also very much valued are our links with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), which was established in 1969 to promote interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences within the university, and the Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI).

CTPI promotes reflection and research on important public issues to which Christian theology can make a constructive contribution. Founded in 1984 as the world's first centre for research on public theology, CTPI is a unique meeting place for theologians, social scientists, church leaders, policy makers and the public.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sponsors: Scottish Episcopal Church

MENTION the word 'Anglican' in many circles, and people think of 'Church of England'. In fact the Anglican or Episcopal tradition has many exemplars throughout the world - with Scotland having a particular and distinct place within the development of the Reformation.

The Scottish Episcopal Church, locally and nationally, has given a great deal of support over the years to what is now the Just Festival.

Today, the Church is part of the 78 million strong world-wide Anglican Communion, with seven historic dioceses covering the whole of Scotland bearing witness to contemporary faith, and tracing a history back to the earliest known Christians in Scotland.

The Scottish Episcopal Church, as its name suggests, is governed by bishops, differentiating it from the national Church of Scotland which is presbyterian and governed by elders.

However, unlike the Church of England, the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church are elected in a procedure involving clergy and laity of the vacant diocese voting at an electoral synod.

With some 52,000 members across Scotland, and many more linked to its community activities, the Church is strongly involved in social action, exploring and promoting the Gospel in everyday life, and engaging with those of different beliefs and backgrounds.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Sponsors: Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together

ALTHOUGH Just Festival rightly has a global vision, it value its local roots and connections with civic organisations, charities, communities, faith bodies and churches.

Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together is an ecumenical grouping of three churches in the New Town: St Cuthbert's on Lothian Road (Church of Scotland), St John's on Princes Street (Scottish Episcopal Church) and St Andrew's & St George's West on George Street and Shandwick Place (Church of Scotland).

Working together on a number of projects, Together aims to demnstrate the Christian message in word and deed while engaging with those in the city centre on a daily basis.

Projects it supports include the Just Festival, workplace chaplaincy, Christian Aid, work with the homeless and links with organisations such as the City Centre Neighbourhood Partnership.

Together was formed at a special service held in October 2008 attended by senior representatives of the Church of Scotland and the Episcopal Church of Scotland and by City Councillors including the Provost.

 It replaces the former ecumenical grouping of West End Churches Together (WECT), which itself replaced the Council of West End Churches (CWEC).

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Sponsors: Ekklesia

DISCUSSION, debate, dilaogue and conversation are among the highlights of the Just Festival, alongside artistic, social, family and cultural events.

2013 marks the third year of our partnership with the beliefs and values thinktank Ekklesia, which has acheived a high profile for its imaginative engagement with issues of religion and politics in a changing society.

Ekklesia is Christian in its orientation, drawing particular inspiration from peace churches, Anabaptism and a wide range of ecumenical links. But it also works creatively with people of all faiths, as well as with  humanists and those of no religious conviction.

In addition to publishing books, producing reports and responding through the media, parliamentary bodies, academic alliances and policy organisations, Ekklesia runs a 'news briefing' service and associated bulletins.

Ekklesia's co-director, Simon Barrow, is also involved in providing press and media support for the Just Festival.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Sponsors: European Parliament

AS well as being a vibrant festival with a high profile in Edinburgh and Scotland, Just has strong links across Britain, Europe and beyond.

In 2013 e are delighted that the European Parliament has recognised and supported our work, which aims at building vibrant cross-cultural communities, enhancing peace, encouraging integration and developing educational and cultural opportunities for a wide range of people.

Since 2005, the European Parliament has managed an annual grants programme, cofinancing projects in the Member States which aim to enhance understanding of the role and functioning of the European Parliament, encourage a wider public interest in the decisional process, and which provide a platform for those citizens to raise issues which are important to them.

A wide variety of projects have been co-financed, particularly audiovisual and web based projects.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Sponsors: Edinburgh Inter Faith Association

CROSSING bridges of belief and culture is an important - no, vital - aspect of what Just Festival is all about. Our partnership with the Edinburgh Inter Faith Association (EIFA) is a key element of this.

EIFA was officially formed in 1989 to promote and facilitate positive engagement between the faith communities of our religiously and culturally diverse city. The Edinburgh Inter Faith Association is now considered one of the most experienced and developed Inter-Faith bodies in Scotland and in Britain as a whole.

Over many years EIFA has organised and promoted numerous public talks, dialogues, panel events, film screenings, exhibitions, highly successful and well attended city based Inter-Faith ‘pilgrimages’, conferences on subjects such as Islamaphobia, Science and Religion, Religion and Education, Re-visioning Inter-Faith and Positive Education.

The Association also co-ordinates and promote a significant programme of activities in Edinburgh during Inter Faith Week.

Recently the Association has played a lead or supporting co-ordinating role in the visits to Scotland by religious and spiritual leaders such as the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Swami Chidanand Saraswati Ji, Chief Rabbi David Rosen, Sr Joan Chittister, Archbishop Abuna Elias Chacour, and other distinguished persons such as Arun Gandhi, Prof Rajmohan Gandhi, Prof Tariq Ramadan, Karen Armstrong, Nobel Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire and many others.

Past events include the world’s first Inter-Faith Burns Supper, an Inter-Faith memorial service for a young murdered Muslim, a centenary celebration of the 1893 Chicago Parliament of the World’s Religions, a significant bid to host the 2005 Parliament of the World’s Religions, the production of an Inter-Faith greetings cards based on designs by Edinburgh school children, an exhibition for the University of Edinburgh’s Millennium celebration.

EIFA can be found on Facebook here.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Sponsors: St John's Church

ST JOHN'S CHURCH in the heart of Edinburgh is a hive of activity throughout August, with its usual rota of activities supplemented by being the major venue and host for the Just Festival.

Indeed it was St John's who played a highly significant role in getting Just's annual predecessor, the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, going some thirteen years ago.

We are delighted to be working with the folk at St John's once again in 2013, as the Just Festival takes off in a number of new and exciting directions, building on the success of what has gone before.

St John's itself is a thriving Scottish Episcopal church at the heart of Scotland’s beautiful capital city.

"Here we aim to express love for God and neighbour in all that we do, and to help people discover for themselves the significance of Jesus Christ," it explains on its website. 

"You would be very welcome to join us for worship at one of our Sunday services. And if you would like to be involved in other ways you will find plenty of opportunities on this website. If you want to know more please contact us."