Newbattle Conversations is a 5 year programme promoting academic debate and public discourse on Scotland’s history and its recent political awakening. The programme features annual lectures, hustings, seminars and other activities on topics relevant to the post-Referendum political situation. This will culminate in a major academic, international conference in Spring 2020 to celebrate the 700th Anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. Newbattle Abbey College is a fitting venue for this event as The Declaration of Arbroath was drafted at Newbattle in 1320.

Question Time
Newbattle Abbey CollegeQuestion Time for the local elections will take place on WEDNESDAY, 26 APRIL 2017, 2.00PM–3.30PM in the DRAWING ROOM, Newbattle Abbey College, involving cross-party representatives. The event will be chaired by David Lee, of the Public Affairs Co-operative.

Tickets are available free of charge from Julie Thomson at or tel: 0131 663 1921

Conversation Two
Lesley RiddochThe second conversation was held in the wake of the recent European Referendum. The lecture, entitled Scotland’s European Outlook, preceded the conversation that was delivered by Lesley Riddoch, the well-known broadcaster and journalist on 24 November 2016.
Read a report of the event here.
View pictures of the event here.

Conversation One
Prof Neal Acherson at launch of Newbattle ConversationsThe first annual lecture entitled Scotland into Europe – high and low roads was delivered by Professor Neal Ascherson on 3 November 2015. Professor Ascherson is a prominent academic and one of Britain’s most respected journalists and authors.

Professor Ascherson commenced his lecture by saying ‘It’s a huge privilege to be asked to speak in this place and at this time. Newbattle has always been a fountain of fresh thinking, and so it’s not astonishing that Newbattle has chosen to launch this ambitious five-year programme about our country, in the wake of the earthquake that was the independence referendum campaign, and in the name of the Declaration of Arbroath, which was drafted in this place.

The lecture was attended by over ninety guests from a variety of academic institutions, the media and the general public. It was followed by a lively debate on a Scotland looking forward to a number of political milestones.

Jean Urquart MSPThe 5 year programme was launched at the Scottish Parliament on 8 October 2015 at an event hosted by Jean Urquhart MSP. It was attended by MSPs, academics and the media. Former Newbattle student Alex Rowley MSP also attended.

Please click for images of Newbattle Conversations