a festival for humanity

Just Festival

Just Festival events aim to challenge perceptions, celebrate differences and promote respectful dialogue. The conversations, talks, exhibitions and performances which constitute Just’s annual programme are designed to engage with topical local, national and international questions of social justice, equality and identity, including prejudice against race, ethnicity, class and economic status. Just explores these issues by creating safe spaces for dialogue and exchange between affected groups and individuals, invited experts, practitioners, community based organisations, socially conscious performing arts groups and the general public. This multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder approach encourages creative engagement with important societal questions from a variety of angles and perspectives with the aim of reducing religious, political and social intolerance.

In 2016, the festival events will be held under the theme of From the Edge. With that theme in mind, we want to challenge our audiences to engage with the experiences and ideas of those people who are commonly perceived to sit at the edge of our communities and societies. A platform will be offered to a wide range of individuals, whether it’s those who find themselves socially or politically marginalised, or perhaps the boundary-pushers who sit at the very edge of their disciplines, challenging the way we think about science, society, faith and the arts. We want to unsettle, challenge and inspire our 2016 audiences by connecting them to people and ideas which sit outside the mainstream, encouraging alternative approaches to contemporary local, national and global questions.

What is the Edinburgh Festival?

There is no one Edinburgh Festival; it is a collective name for a number of individual festivals going on throughout August in Edinburgh. By taking place at the same time they draw huge numbers of people into Edinburgh, all going to a variety of shows in different festivals.

Just throughout the year

In addition to the annual August festival, we plan to programme regular monthly events, including 'PhD in an Hour', 'Death Cafes', 'Science, Faith and Society' conversations and 'Conscious Film Screenings' to be hosted in partnership with Scotland-based charities, institutions and community representatives. Just Festivals will strengthen its presence and visibility in Scotland and increase its impact on individuals and communities participating in and contributing to its activities through collaborative projects with arts, charitable, and community organisations.



The Just Festival creates a space for dialogue and platforms for engagement in local, national and international questions of social justice, equality and identity, both from the religious and non-religious perspectives. In line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it celebrates humanity in all its differences, promoting the exploration of new perspectives with the aim of reducing religious, political and social intolerance.


We believe that through respect for each other's faith and belief, culture, philosophy and ideas, as well as each individual's right to self-expression and freedom, we can be part of the wider movement to establish a more united world. With these values in mind, we strive to promote a safe, inclusive and creative environment for everyone who is willing to engage with us to work together to foster understanding and respect.


  • To welcome everyone, regardless of how they identify themselves or how they are identified by others.
  • To curate a socially-conscious programme of activities and events, including a centre-piece festival in August.
  • To facilitate open and respectful conversations which challenge perceptions and prejudices and celebrate differences.
  • To provide a stage for performances which explore questions of social justice, equality and identity.
  • To promote and support partnership working with local and national organisations to foster community engagement and build their capacity to engage with each other in productive dialogue.
  • To engage religious and non-religious groups in promoting and working for the benefit of all. 
  • To create opportunities for individuals and groups to achieve personal and professional development through involvement with the work of Just Festival.

'The Kielty Brothers (Gerry and John) are legendary to Fringe aficionados. Commissioned by the just Festival, the piece is an exploration of one of Scotland’s ‘badges of shame’ – bigotry. But this is not a lecture of morality – this is a hugely enjoyable romp through Scottish history, mainly through song, to see where the onion acquired its layers and what may be at the heart of it all.

In the magnificent setting of St John’s Church in the West End, this entertaining hour will not just make you think – it will make you roar with laughter. John and Gerry are joined by Jordanna O’Neill and Stan Pattison in a friendly exploration of the layers that create this Onion of Bigotry.'

Musical Theatre Review about The Onion of Bigotry - A History of Hatred, 2014