Just Festival

Edinburgh’s social justice and human rights festival

Event Contributors

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 today. learn more

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. learn more

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. learn more

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.  learn more

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.

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.’
Virajita Singh

Virajita Singh

Virajita SinghVirajita Singh is Associate Vice Provost in the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) where she brings her expertise in design thinking, and partnership studies to catalyze and support equity and diversity work of colleges and other academic units at the University of Minnesota.  learn more

Ranee Ramaswamy

Ranee Ramaswamy

Ranee RamaswamyRanee Ramaswamy is Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Ragamala Dance Company with her choreographic partner (and daughter) Aparna Ramaswamy. learn more

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Pádraig Ó TuamaPádraig Ó Tuama is an Irish poet and theologian. His work has been published widely — in Harvard Review, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Ireland and many others. learn more

Mary Ann Kennedy

Mary Ann Kennedy

Mary Ann KennedyMary Ann Kennedy is a Scottish Gael brought up in the urban diaspora of Glasgow, with roots in the islands of Skye and Tiree. learn more

Tricia Imrie

Tricia Imrie

Tricia ImrieTricia Imrie is Chief Executive of Impact Funding Partners, a national fund management charity and consultancy, and has held leadership roles in Scottish and UK national charities for 13 years.  learn more

Iain Macfarlane

Iain Macfarlane is the CEO of Blue Triangle a homelessness organisation who support over 400 people every day, in 35 services, across 9 local authorities in Scotland. learn more


Stefan Ivanov

Stefan-ivanovStefan Ivanov (b. 1986) is the author of four collections of poetry – “4 Seconds Violet” (2003), “Ginsbеrg vs. Bukowski in the Audience” (2004), “Lists” (2009) and “Inwards” (2014). learn more

Jim Mackintosh

Jim Mackintosh

Jim MackintoshJim Mackintosh is a Perth-based poet and has authored six collections of poetry, most recently Flipstones (Tippermuire Books, 2018). learn more

Angela Rodel

Angela Rodel is an established literary translator based in Sofia with a BA from Yale University and an MA from University of California, Los Angeles in Linguistics. Her accolades include the 2016 National Translation Award for Georgi Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Sorrow (Open Letter, 2015) from the American Literary Translators Association.

Pete Searle

Production Manager – Pete Searle

Pete SearlePete’s journey through theatre began as a young lighting specialist at the then brand new Royal Northern College of Music before moving on to being Production Manager for the Sixty Nine Theatre Company at the Manchester Royal Cotton Exchange before heading to Scotland “ for a few months .” learn more

Tamara Nadel

Tamara Nadel is a disciple of Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy and founding member of Ragamala. She has toured extensively with the company, performing on major national and international stages. learn more

Aparna Ramaswamy

Aparna Ramaswamy

Aparna RamaswamyAparna Ramaswamy is Co-Artistic Director of Ragamala Dance Company with her choreographic partner (and mother) Ranee Ramaswamy. learn more

Janis Hart

Janis Hart

Janis Hart is an Edinburgh-based artist, designer and filmmaker who graduated in Fine Art and Theatre Design from the Slade School of Art, University of London. Her freelance artistic practice includes site-specific installations and stage designs for theatre, dance and opera productions, as well as leading contemporary art and drama workshops. learn more

Nicola Wright

Nicola Wright

Nicola WrightNicola combines her passion for history with a love of dressing up to bring characters vividly to life. She delivers entertaining and engaging workshops to primary and secondary schools on subjects ranging from castle life and the cursed Stewarts to Jacobites and WW1. learn more

Debra Salem

Debra Salem

Debra SalemDebra’s career is diverse, dividing her time between singing, composing, arranging, leading choirs, teaching, facilitation, and the artistic direction and production of creative arts projects. learn more

Dr Anthony Hammond

Dr Anthony Hammond

Dr Anthony HammondDr. Anthony Hammond is a critically acclaimed English concert organist, composer and musicologist. learn more

Robert Rae

Robert Rae is one of Scotland’s leading theatre and film director and writers. He chooses to develop his work through socially engaged practice that aligns with his own political and activist commitments. His expertise has taken him all over the world sharing and developing his methodology. His career spans over 30 years during which time he was Producer for 7:84 England, Artistic Director and CEO of Theatre Workshop Scotland for 18yrs which changed the landscape in Scotland for disabled artists in  particular, International Artist in Residence for The Playhouse, Derry, Director for his own theatre company OurLand Productions and is Co-Director of Art27scotland which is part of the national Culture Collective programme focussing specifically on arts and human rights.


Shona Robison

Shona Robison

Shona RobisonShona was born in Redcar in 1966. Educated at Alva Academy, she went on to graduate from Glasgow University with a Social Sciences MA and Jordanhill College with a Postgraduate Certificate in Community Education. Previously she worked for Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Department. learn more

Richard Carter

Revd Richard Carter

Richard CarterRevd Richard Carter is Associate Vicar for Mission.  He was ordained in 1992 and has been a full-time priest at St Martin’s since 2006. learn more

John Sparkes

Jon Sparkes

John SparkesJon joined Crisis as Chief Executive in 2014. He is also a Trustee at the Centre for Homelessness Impact and a Non-Executive Director at South Yorkshire Housing Association as well as Chair of the Welsh Government’s Homelessness Action Group. learn more

Heather Kiernan

Co-curator – Heather Kiernan

Heather KiernanA retired epidemiologist with degrees in medicine and public health from the University of Toronto and Cambridge, Heather began a second career as a free -lance writer and editor of intellectual and cultural history. learn more

Terry Flaxton

Terry Flaxton

Terry FlaxtonBritish artist Terry Flaxton (b. 1953) has worked with sound composition, photography and film, developing a particular interest in analogue video during the 1970s. learn more

Dr Alice Tarbuck

Dr Alice Tarbuck

Dr Alice TarbuckAlice Tarbuck is an award-winning poet and writer. learn more

Leila Bright

Leila Sinclair-Bright

Leila BrightLeila Sinclair-Bright is an artist and a social anthropologist. Born in the UK and raised in Zimbabwe she has always moved between cultures and places. learn more

Jeni Reddi

Jini Reddy

Jeni ReddiJini Reddy is the author of Wanderland, shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Award and for the Wainwright Prize. learn more

Peter Kennard

Peter Kennard

Peter KennardWith a career spanning fifty years, Peter Kennard (born 1949) is without a doubt Britain’s most important political artist and its leading practitioner of photomontage. learn more

Kte Hudson

Kate Hudson

Kte HudsonKate Hudson (born 1958) by profession a historian, Kate has been the General Secretary of CND since 2010, having served as its chair since 2003. learn more

Damon Bridge

Damon Bridge

Damon BridgeDamon Bridge is a Conservation Officer at the RSPB and was project Manager of the Great Crane Project from 2009-2016. learn more

RSPB Scotland

Hywel Maggs

RSPB ScotlandHywel Maggs is based in Aberdeen and has worked for the RSPB since 2002. learn more

Susan Morrison

Susan Morrison

Susan MorrisonSusan Morrison is a comedy volcano, erupting with an endless flow of scorching hot gags, spewing forth at a blistering pace. learn more

Dr Imad Faruque

Dr. Imad Faruque

Dr Imad FaruqueImad grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh and has been trained as an Electrical and Electronic Engineer (EEE) during his BSc (2009) from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). learn more

Jared Robinson Brown

The Revd. Jarel Robinson-Brown

Jared Robinson BrownJarel is a British-Born Jamaican and grew up in West London where, with his elder sister he was raised by his Grandmother. Sensing an early call to ordained ministry, Jarel began preaching in the Ealing Trinity Circuit of the Methodist Church in 2006 and later trained for ordination at Wesley House, Cambridge from 2010-2013. learn more

Prof Dimitar Kambourov

Dimitar Kambourov

Prof Dimitar KambourovDimitar Kambourov is Associate Professor of literary theory at Sofia University. learn more

Georgi Gospodinov

Georgi Gospodinov

Georgi GospodinovGeorgi Gospodinov (b. 1968) made his literary debut in the 1990s with the poetry collections “Lapidarium”, which won the 1992 National Prize for Best Literary Debut “Yuzhna Prolet”, and “The Cherry Tree of a Nation” (1996), which has gone through several editions. learn more

Mahmoud Al Khurd

Three years ago, Mahmoud Al Khurd was a prizewinner in a competition sponsored by the Network of Photographers for Palestine (NPP) involving over 100 entries. Now galleries across Scotland, from Edinburgh to Inverness will be hosting an exhibition of photographs by this internationally acclaimed Palestinian photographer during the months of August and September. learn more

Craig Dalzell

Craig Dalzell

Craig DalzellJoin Common Weal’s Dr Craig Dalzell to discuss Resilient Scotland, a recovery plan for Scotland to rebuild after the pandemic based on good jobs;  economic equality; environmental sustainability; and social cohesion, fuelled by a green reindustrialisation. learn more

Eilis Ni Dhuibhne

Eilís Ní Dhuibhne

Eilis Ni DhuibhneEilís Ní Dhuibhne is an established and awarded Irish writer who writes fiction in both English and Gaelic; a former lecturer in Creative Writing at UCD. Her latest books are Little Red and Other Stories (2020) and Look! It’s a Woman Writer (editor) (2021). learn more

Dr Nina Morris

Dr Nina Morris

Dr Nina MorrisMy research interests fall into three categories: (i) human-nature relationships, (ii) sensory perception, and, (iii) pedagogy and continuing professional development. learn more

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen

Michael RosenMichael Rosen was born in 1946 in North London. One of the best-known figures in the children’s book world, he is renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter. As an author and by selecting other writers’ works for anthologies he has been involved with over 140 books. He lectures and teaches in universities on children’s literature, reading and writing. learn more

Dr Anne Karpf

Dr. Anne Karpf

Dr Anne KarpfDr Anne Karpf is Professor of Life Writing and Culture. A writer, sociologist and award-winning journalist, she writes regularly on social, political and cultural issues for The Guardian and other publications, and is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio. learn more

Tommy Sands

Tommy Sands

Tommy SandsTommy Sands is an Irish songwriter and activist who has made peace building through music his purpose and career. learn more


Curator – Iliyana Nedkova


As an independent curator, producer and writer, Iliyana explores the relationship between public art, activism and creative practices. Her current research interests focus on peacebuilding and the arts, environmental humanities, artists’ moving image culture, women artists, literature in translation and artists’ residencies.


Iliyana’s current curatorial projects include We Refuse to be Scapegoats – a solo exhibition by Pam Skelton at P21 Gallery, London; Groundwork for Embedded Arts Practice – curatorial residency at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella; Screen.dance – Scotland’s Festival of Dance on Screen at Citymoves Dance Agency, Aberdeen; Hidden Letters – poetry activism, typography and urban gardens interventions at St John’s Church, Edinburgh; Thistles, Sunflowers and Dreamscapes  – a solo exhibition by Diana Savova at Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, and Windows, Screens and Gardens – a hybrid exhibition by artists-in-residence at Abbeyhill Primary School, Edinburgh.


Recently, Iliyana undertook associate curatorships at Horsecross Arts, Perth; Moray House School of Education and Sport, the University of Edinburgh; New Media Scotland; Stills Centre for Photography, Edinburgh; ARC Projects, Edinburgh and Sofia; Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool; Soros Centre for the Arts, Sofia; and Video Data Bank, Chicago and New York.


Iliyana holds a MPhil in Curating Contemporary Art from Liverpool John Moores University and a MLitt in English and American Studies, as well as in History and Theory of Culture from the University of Sofia. Iliyana is a board member of Colony of Artists, Friends of Pskov and Traditional Dance Forum Scotland. She has also served as the Honorary Cultural Attaché at the Consulate of the Republic of Bulgaria in Scotland.



Nadezhda Radulova

Nadezhda Radulova

Nadezhda RadulovaNadezhda Radulova (b. 1975) is a poet, writer, editor and literary translator. She is the author of six poetry books learn more

Alec Finlay

Alec Finlay

Alec FinlayAlec Finlay (b. 1966) is a poet, publisher and artist based in Edinburgh. In recent years Finlay’s work has been primarily concerned with contemporary visions of nature and landscape. learn more

Albena Azmanova

Albena Azmanova

Albena AzmanovaAlbena Azmanova (b. 1968) is a writer, scholar and political commentator based in Brussels, who is interested in judgment and justice, ideologies, democracy’s troubles with capitalism and capitalism’s devious talent for survival. learn more

David Manderson

David Manderson is a writer and former academic.  He is currently chair of the Writers for Peace committee. He has published short stories, essays and poems in a wide variety of small magazines and anthologies. His novel Lost Bodies (Kennedy & Boyd) was published in 2011. He ran the Real to Reel Short Film Festival at the Glasgow Film Theatre in Glasgow until 1999 and Nerve Magazine until 2001. Later, a creative practice PhD took him into academia where he published articles and textbooks on Scottish films, creative writing and walking, and Scottish Miserablism. His poem Expedition, animated by Samantha Hendry, won a Royal Television Student Award in 2019. In 2017 he was the recipient of a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust. He is currently completing a book on the work and life of Alan Sharp for Peter Lang publishers

Leela Soma

Leela Soma is a writer and active member of Scottish PEN. Her latest crime novel, Murder at the Mela, explores tensions within Glasgow’s Asian communities and between diverse groups in the city.

Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications and she won the Margaret Thompson Davis Trophy, for the first 10,000 words of her first novel Twice Born.  Leela has been encouraged in her writing by none other than Willy Maley, Professor of Renaissance Studies (English Literature), University of Glasgow, who commended her in his book Discovering Scottish Literature, published by Scottish Book Trust. Thereafter, he urged her to: ‘finish the novel.’  She did, and won Strathkelvin Writes Best New Writers Trophy.

Twice Born was followed by Bombay Baby, published by Dahlia Publishing. – another book reflecting Scottish – Indian connections. Bombay Baby was reviewed in Scotland on Sunday by prize winning author, Suhayl Saadi, who recommended the book as: ‘an engaging, upbeat piece of popular fiction.’

Irini Tzortzoglou

Irini Tzortzoglou

Irini Tzortzoglou

Irini Tzortzoglou is UK’s MasterChef Champion 2019.

Born on the island of Crete, Irini grew up in Athens where she and her brothers were educated. In 1980 Irini moved to London where she enjoyed a banking career in the City for over 30 years. Irini combined her work with professional (Banking Diploma) and academic (History of Art, Architecture & Design degree) studies as well as hobbies such as interior design and theatre, being both a legal director and leading lady of a London based Greek theatre company.

In 2010, Irini and her husband John left the financial world and moved to the sleepy but foodie village of Cartmel in the Lake District. In January 2020, Irini trained as an Olive Oil Sommelier and in July 2020, her debut book Under The Olive Tree (recipes from my Greek kitchen) was published to high acclaim.

Irini and her husband John have made over 40 visits to whisky distilleries, attended a weekly whisky school and love spending time on Islay and Speyside during their whisky festivals. Her dream is to visit the whisky distilleries of Japan.

Her favourite whisky is matured in sherry, sauternes or madeira casks.

Becky Paskin

Becky Paskin

Becky PaskinBecky Paskin is a UK-based spirits journalist, whisky specialist and consultant who has been writing about drinks for over 12 years. Most recently she was editor of leading online magazine Scotchwhisky.com and global trade title The Spirits Business.

She became the first journalist to gain a General Certificate in Distillation with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling – a qualification usually reserved for distillery operators, is also a judge for the IWSC and member of exclusive society Keepers of the Quaich. She was also named 2020 Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year and listed in About Time Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch in Drinks 2020.

Becky is an advocate for breaking down cultural misconceptions about whisky, and in 2018 co-founded the OurWhisky movement to promote whisky as a diverse and widely accessible drink.

She regularly presents educational seminars at global drinks festivals including Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and The Whisky Show in London.



Meeghan Murdoch

Meeghan Murdoch

Meeghan MurdochMeeghan has over 25 years in the drinks industry. During this time, she has travelled the world working in the business that she is passionate about: the production of spirits, wine and beer.

Leaving her homeland Canada in 1990, she travelled to Japan – it was there that she was introduced to the world of drinks when she landed a job learning to make Sake.

Following this, Meeghan gained a wide range of experience within the wine and spirits trade in the UK by working in retail, import/export, and buying. At this time, she was also invited to join the highly esteemed IWSC & IWC judging panels.

In 2011 she obtained her degree in viticulture in and oenology at Plumpton College, which lead her to travel again – this time to the Mosel region of Germany, as well as France and New Zealand – to put her studies into practice as a winemaker.

After mastering the grape, she trained in the grain – becoming first a brewer, then a distiller and consultant within the beer and spirits industries. Meeghan received merit in the General Certificate in Distilling with the IBD concentrating on the production of Whisky and is currently the Head of Distilling and Operations at Glenrinnes Distillery in Speyside.

Steph Murray

Steph Murray

Steph MurraySteph is a founding member of Shawfern Group Limited, a family organisation which operates a growing collection of boutique hotels such as The Dowans Hotel and Hotel 1881 in Speyside. As General Manager, she has overseen the significant growth and development of the business which, despite the impact of Covid-19 on the world of hospitality, continues to demonstrate resilient strength in a sincerely weakened market; evidence of its standing in a national and international context. Her knowledge of and passion for whisky were solidified by her attendance at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky School in 2014 and she continues to make it of pivotal importance to the business via regular events, whisky paired meals and continued marketing of The Still, the Dowans’ whisky snug, as a destination of choice. Prior to making hospitality her chosen career, she pursued a Postgraduate degree in Human Rights and International Politics from Glasgow University. Despite the move away from that field, she continues to champion the elements of her degree that were of the most pressing importance to her: equality, diversity and the pursuit of a world where the importance placed on the masculine heteronormative ‘ideal’ ceases to exist.

Ian Millar

Ian Milllar

Ian MillarPrestige Whiskies Specialist, William Grant & Sons Ltd.

Born in Pitlochry Perthshire in the Highlands of Scotland in 1953, Ian Millar joined independent family distillers William Grant & Sons Ltd in 1998 as Distilleries Manager for the company’s flagship Glenfiddich and Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky distilleries.

Ian started working in the whisky business in 1971 where he worked at Blair Athol Distillery, having worked in various parts of production he was promoted into the Production Manager role in 1982.

He was also previously Distillery Manager at the Bladnoch, Mortlach, Blair Athol, Dalwhinnie, Linkwood and Glen Elgin Distilleries before joining William Grant & Sons to manage their Malt Distilleries.

Ian was an active member of Dufftown 2000 who were responsible for setting up the Dufftown Whisky Festivals now happily absorbed into the very successful Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

In 2006 Ian moved into the role of Global Ambassador for Glenfiddich where the ambassador team increased progressively to 20, he retired from this role in 2016.

Ian was invited to become a Keeper of the Quaich in 2008, an organisation created to promote the long term global success of Scotch Whisky.

In 2019 Ian was invited to join the Keepers of the Quaich Society as a Master of the Quaich.

In 2014 Ian was invited to sit in the panel of the HKIWSC as their International and head judge for the Spirits section.

In 2015 Ian was awarded the title of International Whisky Ambassador of the year from the International Whisky Competition.

In 2016 Ian was inducted into the Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame.

Ian is married to Anneke and has two grown up children and seven grandchildren, he currently lives in Pitlochry, deep in the heart of Scotland.

Thanks to the growing success of Glenfiddich and Balvenie, Ian is spending an increasing amount of time dealing with our HNW guests at Glenfiddich Distillery in his new role as Prestige Whiskies Specialist.

When not nosing and tasting Glenfiddich, or working on his numerous community projects, Ian likes to spend his precious free time playing golf at his favourite courses around Scotland and walking his dogs in the beautiful Highland countryside that surrounds his home.

Michael Mears at Just Festival

Michael Mears

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan. This catastrophic event is referred to as ‘the mistake’ on the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima. learn more

Dr Sheila Hynd at Just Festival

The Countess of Fife

Dr Sheila Hynd at Just FestivalThe Countess of Fife is the next adventure for Dr Sheila Hynd aka Fay Fife from iconic Scottish pop punk outfit the Rezillos. learn more

Tomiwa Folorunso at Just Festival

Tomiwa Folorunso

Tomiwa Folorunso at Just FestivalTomiwa Folorunso is a writer, presenter and creative based in Edinburgh. Her work explores the experiences of marginalised voices and connecting people, ideas and stories.

learn more

Isabel Moura Mendes at Just Festival

Isabel Moura Mendes

Isabel is a multilingual Portuguese-Cape Verdean international arts project manager, with a strong practice in international cultural relations, artistic exchange and African film curation. learn more

Joseph Malik at Just Festival

Joseph Malik

Joseph Malik has been fighting against racism since the day he was born being abandoned at the hospital by his white mother, being painted white aged 5. Then at age 14 being beaten close to death by 4 police officers and enduring decades of abuse and beatings in Glasgow.
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Stewart Kyasimire at Just Festival

Stewart Kyasimire

Stewart Kyasimire at Just FestivalFilm-maker Stewart Kyasimire directed BBC Scotland’s Black and Scottish. learn more

Darren McGarvey at Just Festival

Darren McGarvey

Darren McGarveyDarren McGarvey,  better known by the stage name Loki, is a writer, columnist and hip hop recording artist, who has made regular media appearances as a social commentator. learn more

Prof Rowland Kao at Just Festival

Professor Rowland Kao

Professor Rowland Kao

Professor Kao is the Sir Timothy O’Shea Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, and is working with Public Health Scotland on coronavirus. He is a member of the UK Government’s Science Advisory Council. learn more

Prof Devi Sridhar at Just Festival

Professor Devi Sridhar

Professor Devi SridharDevi Sridhar is Professor of Global Public Health, Head of the Global Health Governance Programme Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics at Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh. learn more

Hodges and Coleman at just Festival

Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman

Coleman and HodgesRobbie Coleman and Jo Hodges are multidisciplinary public artists based in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Robbie Coleman has a background in sculpture and live art. He project manages large-scale public arts projects and is Co-Director of the D-LUX light festival and The Environmental Arts Festival Scotland. Jo Hodges is an artist, curator and producer with a background in Human Ecology, community development and social justice. learn more

Dr Michael Bonaventura

Natural Sciences trained, Mike Bonaventura holds an honorary professorship in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Glasgow, a doctorate [PhD] in Artificial Intelligence, is an external examiner at the Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University, is a (lapsed) chartered engineer [IEE C.Eng.] and co-inventor of three software patents in decision-making systems. learn more

Dr Stephen Reicher at Just Festival

Professor Stephen Reicher

Professor Stephen ReicherProfessor Stephen Reicher is the Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Social Psychology in the School of Psychology & Neuroscience , University of St Andrews. learn more

Joyce McMillan at Just Festival

Joyce McMillan

Joyce MacMillanJoyce McMillan is theatre critic, and political social commentator for The Scotsman. She has been involved in many campaigns for democracy and human rights, both in Scotland and internationally, and has been a freelance journalist, based in  Edinburgh, Scotland, for more than 30 years.

Roman Krznaric at Just Festival

Roman Krznaric

Roman KrznaricRoman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His books, including Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, have been published in more than 20 languages. learn more

Richard Milne at Just Festival

Dr Richard Milne

Richard Milne at Just FestivalDr Richard Milne is a senior lecturer in evolutionary biology at the University of Edinburgh.
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Brian Beer at Just Festival

Brian Deer

Brian BeerBrian Deer is a multi-award-winning investigative reporter, best known for inquiries into the drug industry, medicine, and social issues for The Sunday Times of London. learn more

Nicola Osbourne at Just Festival

Nicola Osborne

Nicola Osborne

Nicola Osborne is Programme Manager for Creative Informatics, funded by the AHRC with support from the SFC and the City Region Deal Data Driven Innovation Initiative. Creative Informatics is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme managed by the Arts & Humanities Research Council as part of the Industrial Strategy.

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Rev Dr John Armes at Just Festival

The Rt. Revd. Dr John A. Armes

The Rt Revd Dr John A ArmesThe Rt Rev John Armes was consecrated as 26th Bishop of Edinburgh on 12 May 2012. Prior to this, he was rector of St John the Evangelist Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh and Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh. learn more

Reverend Doctor Karen Georgia Thompson at Just Festival

The Reverend Doctor Karen Georgia Thompson

Reverend Doctor Karen Georgia Thompson at Just FestivalThe Reverend Doctor Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister, Wider Church Ministries and Operations Co-Executive for Global Ministries. learn more