Just Festival

Edinburgh’s social justice and human rights festival

Author Archives: Miranda Heggie

Just Festival Announces New Festival Manager

Just Festival Announces New Festival Manager


Just Festival is delighted to announce Miranda Heggie has taken up the role of Festival Manager, starting this year. Miranda will be returning to Edinburgh from Birmingham, where she has managed Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s talent development programme, NEXT. Prior to this, Miranda has worked for Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and St.  Mary’s Music School, as well as enjoying a freelance career as music and arts writer.

“I’m deeply honoured to be leading Just Festival, following on from Helen Trew’s amazing work guiding it through all the challenges of the pandemic. I feel that Just is a necessary voice in the canon of Edinburgh’s August festivals, providing a platform and a space for audiences and artists to engage with the social challenges and key questions facing today’s world. Since the beginnings of human history, every society and civilisation has engaged in some form of art. I believe that this innate and eternal human need for artistic expression is part of what gives it its power to heal and enhance social empathy and understanding, and I am both excited and humbled to deliver a festival which celebrates this, and developing it over the coming years. My aim is not only to nurture the festival as a space where ideas, thoughts, practices and values from across the world can be shared and explored, but also embed it within the social fabric of Edinburgh by fostering connections between those from different faiths, countries and backgrounds.”

 Miranda Heggie, Festival Manager 2022

“The Just Festival Board is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Festival Manager, Miranda Heggie.  Miranda is an experienced arts and events manager, with a strong knowledge of the festival sector in Scotland as well as in the whole of the UK and internationally. As the Just Festival moves into its 22nd August Festival, it aims to continue to create a space for dialogue, as well as platforms for engagement in local, national and international questions of justice and identity.  Having a platform for exploring these issues through social, political, ecological and faith perspectives is vital and valuable. I am confident that under Miranda’s capable leadership, the Just Festival will continue to thrive and to challenge and inspire new audiences”.

Janet Rennie, Convenor of the Just Festival Board

Special thanks go to St Johns Episcopal Church and the Just Board: Janet Rennie, Mark Hoskyns-Abrahall, Markus Dunzkofer, Finlay Ross Russell. Cate Chen and Sarah Armes.

Helen Trew, Director Just Festival“It’s been a real privilege to lead Just Festival over the last couple of years.  It’s a unique and powerful Festival which provides a much needed moment of reflection during the hectic weeks of the Fringe.  Every director of Just Festival brings their whole selves to the programming, and I’m delighted to be handing over the baton to Miranda who will rise admirably to the challenge and inspiration that the festival brings. I’m so looking forward to seeing the festival grow and develop under her stewardship.”

Helen Trew, Festival Director 2020-2021

Join our Board!

Come and join the Board of Just Festival, Edinburgh

Are you passionate about social justice? Do you have an interest in the arts? Are you looking for a voluntary leadership role that will inspire and energise you? 

Just Festival is looking forward to welcoming new Board members, including a Convenor. After two years of the pandemic and with a new festival manager at the helm, we are looking for further fresh input to help drive our festival forward. We have a range of roles available to match different skill sets and interests.

learn more

Joe Howson


Joe Howson is a versatile and award-winning pianist based in London, working in a range of settings including
solo recitals, chamber music, orchestral playing, repetiteurship, pedagogy, dance accompaniment, outreach
work and improvisation. Joe’s broad and adventurous solo repertoire spans from the baroque to the present.
He is particularly interested in the neglected piano repertoire of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries,
from neoclassical and jazz-influenced music of the 1920s to post-minimalist and crossover genres of

He completed his MMus studies in 2019 at the Royal College of Music with Danny Driver, where he was
awarded prizes for Lieder and English Song accompaniment, contemporary music, was finalist in the Chappell
Medal competition, and performed concertos with the New Perspectives Ensemble and Wind Orchestra. Prior
to his time at RCM, he was an undergraduate at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where he now works as a staff
pianist for the vocal and wind departments. He has also trained with the BBC Symphony Orchestra ‘Pathways’
Scheme, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, British Youth Opera, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
NEXT scheme, London Sinfonietta Academy, and the Philharmonia MMSF Instrumental Fellowship.
Recent performance highlights include: with Das Neue Ensemble in Hannover, multiple chamber performances
with Sinfonia Cymru, solo recitals at the Brighton and Lichfield Festivals, and residency as the Robert Turnbull
Piano Fellow at New Music on the Point in Vermont.

He is grateful to have received support from the Craxton Memorial Trust, Philharmonia MMSF, the Countess of
Munster Musical Trust, RCM Mike Rimmer Scholarship, and the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

Olivia Jago

Olivia Jago is a Welsh violinist currently based in Shropshire. Having graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2019, she has since worked with orchestras across the U.K. including the Orchestra of the Swan, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Sinfonia Cymru and the English Symphony Orchestra. For the last two years she has been part of the BCMG Next Musician Cohort and is really excited to performing today with her colleagues from the same project. Olivia is currently taught by Zoe Beyers, leader of the BBC Philharmonic.

Gordon Graham

Gordon Graham is Chair of the Edinburgh Sacred Arts Foundation, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary in the USA, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s premier academy of science and letters.

Born in Ireland and educated in Ireland, Scotland and England, he taught philosophy in Scotland at the University of St Andrews (from 1975-95). He was Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen (from 1996-2006) before taking up his post as Henry Luce III Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary (2006-18). He has published extensively on a wide range of philosophical topics relating to art, education, ethics, politics, religion, and technology. He has a special interest in the Scottish philosophical tradition, and was founding Editor of the Journal of Scottish Philosophy. From 2007-2018, he was Director the Center for the Study of Scottish Philosophy at Princeton. In 2021, he was honoured with the ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ of the Eighteenth Century Scottish Studies Society. From 2008-2015 he was Director of The Abraham Kuyper Center for Public Theology , and headed the Theology dimension of the Varieties of Understanding Project which ran from 2013-16.

An Anglican priest ordained in the Scottish Episcopal Church, he was licensed in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey from 2007-2018, and now serves in the Diocese of Edinburgh. In 1990 he was Sheffer Visiting Professor of Religion at The Colorado College, and in 2005 Stanton Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at the University of Cambridge.

Gordon Graham was Director of the St Andrews University Music Centre from 1991-5, taught as an Adjunct Professor of Sacred Music at the Westminster Choir College in 2010-12, and since 2018 has directed the Edinburgh Festival of the Sacred Arts in the Fringe. He has written several texts for hymns and anthems. Two, set to music by the composer Paul Mealor — Lux benigna’ and ‘Anthem to St David — have been published by Novello.

Beth Nichol

Beth completed her postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2021, studying with Nicholas Cox, Raphael Schenkel, and Chris Swann, graduating with a Distinction. She enjoys orchestral playing, recently performing with the Halle in their season finale concert performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Sir Mark Elder. She has also performed this year with the Orchestra of the Light Music Society and Northern Film Orchestra on clarinet and bass clarinet. She is a regular dep in the orchestras at Chetham’s School of Music, last month playing E flat Clarinet in Stravinsky’s the Rite of Spring with conductor Ben Palmer. Beth enjoys contemporary music, and for 2021-2 was a NEXT musician on the side-by-side course with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Through this she has performed all over Birmingham, including at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, CBSO Centre, and Symphony Hall, performing on clarinet, basset clarinet, basset horn, and bass clarinet. Beth has played in composer workshops with Emily Howard and Michael Zev Gordon, leading to Beth playing the concert premiere of Michael Zev Gordon’s Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet in April 2021.

Rosie Spinks

Rosie enjoys a varied musical career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. She is especially passionate about the integration of music into all communities and enjoys working with organisations such as TiPP (Theatre in Prisons and Probation), SoundUp Arts, The Messengers, Hackney Music Service, Hanson Community Arts and the Benedetti Foundation. In 2016, she began her undergraduate at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied with Hannah Roberts and Jennifer Langridge. She is currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Timothy Lowe. 

Rosie is a founder of the Larisa Piano Trio, who are an award-winning chamber group formed in 2016 at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. Holders of the prestigious St James’s Prize as well as the Christopher Rowland Chamber Music Ensemble of the Year Award, they have had many competitive successes. The trio were invited to play in Wigmore Hall in a masterclass with György Pauk. Rosie has been accepted onto the NEXT scheme with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, with whom she performed in Birmingham Symphony Hall, BSO and the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Highlights of her orchestral experience include being invited to play with The Manchester Camerata as part of their professional experience scheme and playing in Leeds Town Hall as part of Nicola Benedetti’s Four Seasons Tour. She played again with Benedetti in a string orchestra under Leonard Elschenbroich, which was featured on Classic FM. Always eager to combine her love of the arts with her music making, in 2019 Rosie created the film and musical score ‘Lines’. She has recently composed a piece written for solo cello in collaboration with Colin Blundell, which she recently premiered the Belfry Centre for Music and Art in 2020.

Liz Grant

Liz Grant is an Assistant Principal of the University of Edinburgh, the Professor of Global Health and Development and the Director of the University’s Global Health Academy. Liz co-directs the university wide Global Compassion Initiative, on the science and practice of compassion Her research spans global and planetary health and healthcare in contexts of poverty and conflict – and compassion as the value base of the Sustainable Development Goals. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) and a Fellow the Royal College of
Physicians in Edinburgh (RCPE).

She sits on the Scottish Government NHS Global Citizenship Board, and on the Steering Group for Health Information for All. Previously Liz was the Senior Health Advisor to the Scottish Government’s International Development Team working primarily in Malawi. She has worked for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) in the Public Health Directorate in Lothian. She is an advisor to a number of global health charities, and serves as a trustee for CBM Scotland and a member of the One Health FIELD work for Syrian refugees.


Derek Mitchell

Derek Mitchell was born and raised in Ayrshire and has spent most of his working life in local government in a variety of management and public policy positions. He worked for the first Scottish Government as a Policy Advisor before joining COSLA in 2005, where he became a Chief Officer leading on work with both the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as other key stakeholders. He became Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) in August 2017. CAS is the national support organisation for Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland which has over 2500 volunteers and 1000 staff. The values and ethos of the service have stood the test of time and Derek’s passion and drive is to give a voice to people who otherwise would not be heard and ensuring policy makers understand the real needs of many people in Scotland when making decisions. He lives in Edinburgh.

Jason Leitch CBE – National Clinical Director

Jason Leitch has worked for the Scottish Government since 2007 and in January 2015 was appointed as The National Clinical Director in the Health and Social Care Directorate. He is a Scottish Government Director and a member of the Health and Social Care Management Board. He is one of the senior team responsible for the NHS in Scotland and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Dundee. Jason was the 2011 UK Clinician of the Year and is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). He was a 2005-06 Quality Improvement Fellow at IHI, in Boston, sponsored by the Health Foundation.

Jason is also a trustee of the UK wing of the Indian Rural Evangelical Fellowship which runs orphanages in southeast India. He has a doctorate from the University of Glasgow, an MPH from Harvard and is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Jason was appointed to NHS England review group led by Don Berwick looking into the patient safety elements of the Francis Inquiry

Jenny Walter

Jenny Walter is Interim Director of Programmes, Mercy Corps. Jenny began working in humanitarian programmes in 2004 in northern Uganda, followed by roles in Sudan and South Sudan with UNHCR; and Sri Lanka with Norwegian People's Aid. Jenny began working for Mercy Corps in 2008, and has held several programme roles including Senior Programme Officer and Programmes & Partnerships Advisor. In 2014, Jenny led the agency Protection strategy in collaboration with Humanitarian Leadership Response and Gender Equality &  Social Inclusion teams which helped further prioritise safeguarding and protection within the organisation. In 2020, Jenny took on the role as Senior Partnerships Advisor, including providing expertise on UK government requirements to Gender, Social Inclusion & Protection.

Jenny has an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London.

Claire Duncanson

Claire Duncanson is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. She has published widely on issues relating to gender, peace and security, with a particular focus on and gender and peacebuilding. She teaches and supervises in these areas to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Edinburgh. Her current work aims to bring a feminist analysis to the political economy of building peace. She is the author of Gender and Peacebuilding (Polity Press, 2016), and a range of publications on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and on gender in militaries. Claire works with Carol Cohn at the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights on the “Feminist Roadmap for Sustainable Peace” Project ( https://genderandsecurity.org/feminist-roadmap-sustainable-peace ), co-authoring “Whose Recovery? IFI Prescriptions for Postwar States”; in Review of International Political Economy (2019) and “WPS in a Changing Climate” in the International Feminist Journal of Politics (2020).

Claire is an active member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and has co- authored with fellow WILPF member Vanessa Farr on the implementation of the WPS agenda in Afghanistan for Sara Davies and Jacqui True’s Oxford Handbook on the WPS Agenda.

Dr Lesley Orr

Dr Lesley Orr is a historian and activist for gender and social justice, and an honorary fellow of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh. Her current research interests (all with a focus on 20th century Scotland) include war resistance and peace movements, the history of Women’s Aid, and the historical relationship between faith, religious institutions and feminism. She teaches on the gendering of religion, violence and peacebuilding, and is currently working on a biography of Red Clydeside war resistance leader Helen Crawfurd. She has extensive experience of working in NGOs and the public sector, including the Scottish Government. Lesley has had longstanding involvement in movements to challenge gender inequality, violence and abuse in faith communities and wider society. She was consultant to the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010, is engaged in initiatives for active citizenship in Scotland and a longtime member of the Iona Community, which is committed to action for just and sustainable peace. She chairs Stellar Quines, the intersectional feminist theatre company.

Ewan John

Ewan John SSA is an artist and educator living and working under the shadow of Cairnpapple Hill, Torphichen. He graduated from Edinburgh College Art in 1996 and has been been a lecturer in Art & Design for over 10 years. learn more

Catherine King

Catherine King King is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone Dundee in drawing and painting. She has exhibited widely and has had work exhibited in RSA SSA, VAS, PAI, RGI. Her most recent solo exhibitions in Glasgow art club 2022, and 2019 in Stirling Smith Art Gallery. learn more

Live Music Now Scotland

Live Music Now was founded by legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1977, along with his close friend and philanthropist, Sir Ian Stoutzker. During the Second World War, Yehudi Menuhin played for the Allied Forces, often in the most challenging of circumstances, and directly experienced how music could benefit those who were sick, lonely, traumatised and reconcile differences between people and nations. learn more

Clare Yarrington

Although as a visual artist I am used to working independently, like everyone else I still found the enforced isolation of lockdown challenging. As exhibitions were cancelled or postponed, I retreated into the studio. learn more

Lesley Anne Derks

Lesley Anne Derks graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1999 with a BA (hons) Fine Art Drawing and Painting. Her early work was inspired by the lights of the Grangemouth petrochemical complex and this influence led to her painting predominantly cityscapes at night. More recently she has begun to explore lights in a different way, focusing on interiors, in particular chandeliers and the different lights they can convey. She has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and abroad with her work appearing in leading magazines and newspapers such as The Strand Magazine, Artists and Illustrators, Fine Art Collector and the Scotsman. She regularly works to commission and has produced work for Scottish Power and the Royal Navy.

On the effects lockdown had on her work, she says:

‘Art was my solace throughout the pandemic as my mum sadly took ill at the beginning of the first lockdown and never fully recovered dying the beginning of 2021. A week after her death I found out I had caught Covid. The tragedy of losing my mum and the after-effects of Covid, made me seriously reflect on life and the fragility of it. Art is an integral part of my life, but my experience throughout the pandemic made me realise I had all these idea/plans that I had put on the back burner over the years. When the first lockdown was imminent, I entered an annual art competition I had always meant to enter and never got round to, and I got to the final. I also lecture and the way I taught changed substantially throughout the pandemic; adapting to teaching practical activities online was a huge learning curve and took a lot of time. It was a bit of a juggling act trying to adapt to these new experiences, but I realised I still had to address all those ideas I had for my art and bring these to fruition. I had always wished to paint an image of an interior I took in Budapest, so I started that, not for any show but just for me. I had sheets of aluminium I always intended to experiment on so began exploring that. I also had been looking at a course on resin for years, so I finally booked and attended it last year. I’m excited to see where all these ideas will take my art!’

Shona Young

After having studied Public Art in early 2000 Shona Young went on to gain a degree with distinction in Sight Specific Design in 2006 at Forth Valley College. Since then she has exhibited in many galleries in central Scotland and been part of group exhibitions Here she found the the opportunity to work in a range of mediums and subjects. She found this opened up and stretched her imagination, and finds herself now working mostly in mixed media. Her subjects can vary but she is instinctively drawn to using strong colours, texture and often symbols which tell a story. She enjoys exploring portraiture, particularly older pieces, and loves to create magical feelings with the clothing and expression.
On living and working as an artist during lockdown, Shona states: ‘Initially the world seemed to come to a standstill with no end in sight, which was frightening for everyone. It was difficult to be inspired and creative during lockdown. Eventually I gave myself permission to step back, reset my thoughts and inspirations.’