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.

Tommy Sheppard MP
Tommy Sheppard MPNewbattle Abbey College is looking forward to welcoming Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East, to the college for the fourth event in a series of ‘Newbattle Conversations’.

The event, a discussion on the Current Political Climate in Scotland, will take place on Thursday 8 November 2018 from 6-8pm at the college. Refreshments will be served from 5.30pm onwards. The event is free of charge but tickets must be booked in advance.

After Mr Sheppard’s presentation, there will be an opportunity for further debate in the question and answer session and more informally over refreshments from 7.30pm.

“Our Newbattle Conversations are designed to engage people of all ages in debating topical issues in Scotland today. We are delighted to welcome Tommy Sheppard to the college during such an interesting time for Scotland. We are anticipating a lively debate following his presentation” said College Principal, Marian Docherty.

Danielle Rowley MSP
Danielle Rowley MSPYounger People in Politics is the theme of our latest Conversation. Danielle Rowley, Scottish Labour MP for Midlothian has kindly agreed to be our guest. She was elected as Midlothian Member of Parliament in 2017, and will be able to give us her perspective of the younger voice in politics. Please join us from 5.30pm for a 6pm start on Thursday 31 May 2018. Tea and coffee will be available. There will be opportunity for questions and discussion. The evening will finish around 8pm. Please e-mail or call 0131 663 1921 to reserve tickets.

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