Here’s our programme for the weekend of the 20th/21st November 2021.

Click on the image below for a full calendar where you can click on each event to see a more detailed description, or see the full descriptions below this image.


What is education for? 

Saturday 10-12 Bellfield Celebration Hall

Serge Marti, Gemma Sethsmith, Simon Bateson, Alan Hepburn

Is education as currently provided in Scotland fit for purpose? How can the education system best reconnect us to our communities, to nature, to the skills and sensitivities children need?

Some possible themes:

How can we help children become active citizens in the face of the climate emergency? Are teachers valued and supported enough? Is the current ‘closing the attainment gap’ approach working? What’s the impact of private schools on our community? Why can high school be frightening and disempowering? 

What can we learn from flexi-schooling, Forest schooling, or from Indigenous learning and nordic schooling? Can multi-age, multi-ability learning and community music / learner-led approaches help include everyone, and enable creativity to be at the heart of learning and living?

Moving around Porty

Saturday 11am-1pm – Outside Town Hall

Porty Community Energy and Spokes Porty
(Part 1 of a two-part transport conversation)

Talk to us about how you get around Portobello – What is good? What is not so good? What would you like to change?

Grief and Building Resilience: How do we care for ourselves and each other during times of transition and grief?

Saturday 1.30-3.30pm St Marks

Lynn Darke

Building Resilience: how do we create safe, inclusive and caring spaces in our community where those who are grieving and / or passing through a significant life-transition feel seen, heard and supported?

The future of work

Saturday 1.30-3.30pm Wash House

Lynn Houmdi, Jess Gildener and Susanne Müller

Our “Heart Talk” offers anyone living or working in Portobello an opportunity to shape a conversation on the future of work. We reflect on the changes to the way, hours and location of work brought about by the pandemic and explore our collective futures using inclusive and community futures tools.

Community Cinema 

Saturday 1.30-3.30pm Bellfield Small Hall

Max Blinkhorn

Cinemas have been a velour and flip chair experience for most of their existence but the Cameo. Filmhouse and Dominion show that it can be different.

We have the opportunity to create a different viewing experience in Portobello venues and the possibilities are huge. Come along for a chat about what cinema could be in Portobello and express your own preferences. We could do “meet the stars”, “what was that all about?” or just “wasn’t that great!?” social events. We could have live music played to silent movies, comment from film experts, sing-alongs, party films or arty stuff and exotic movies from far away lands as well as film festivals.

Come and have a chat, get your ideas logged down and maybe be part of the curation of the Porty community cinema scene. Whatever you like but do come.

Pedestrianising Our High Street

Saturday 4-6pm Bellfield Small Hall

Stephen Hawkins/PEDAL

What would a pedestrianised Portobello High Street look and feel like and how would it contribute to a sustainable community? There are many challenges before this can be achieved, not least of which are our collective car ownership and the local authorities willingness to reduce the amount of traffic generated and passing through Portobello. However, without a vision of what improvement this would bring and how it could be introduced, we will be subject to what others want for us.

A lively Prom that works for us all. How do we manage the success of the Prom?

Saturday 4-6pm Bellfield Large Hall

Alastair Cameron

As the prom gets busier and busier, what do we need to do to ‘manage’ this demand in a way that minimises the negative impact on local residents, and ensures the beach and Prom can enable visitors and residents alike to improve our well-being?


Could Porty have a Community Fridge?

Sunday 10-12 noon Bellfield Celebration Hall

Hazel Darwin-Edwards

Join me for a breakfast of perfectly good food which has been rescued from shops that would have thrown it away. Food waste is a massive issue and many other places have started up community fridges to tackle it, providing healthy food for those who need it and reducing food waste in the process. We’ll hear how folk in Dundee set up their community fridge project and talk about how it might work here.

Community Growing

Sunday 10-12 noon Bellfield Large Hall

Kerry-Anne Sauter-Deraps/Jenny Messer

How can we reimagine our pockets of unloved or under used green and brown space? 

Non-traditional growing sites such as bus shelter roofs, areas of waste ground, roadside verges, as well as redesigning our parks as spaces for community food growing, planting for wildlife and spaces for people to gather, really bringing nature and food into the heart of our community. 

We’re realising how much being in nature benefits our physical and mental health and how lacking in exposure we are as a nation. We saw through lockdown how people turned to their gardens and local outdoor spaces. Is there ways we can maximise our nature connection in our urban environment and increase growing spaces for those with little or no access of their own? How could these areas improve our connection to each other? 

At a time when we’re beginning to see the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and with episodes of food shortage, how can we take responsibility for growing in our community to benefit all?

Seafield development – opportunity or threat?

Sunday 12-2pm Bellfield Large Hall

Frazer McNaughton

What do we know of the current plans that are emerging for Seafield? Will the development bring benefits, area renewal and affordable housing to the Portobello community or will it overwhelm our services and dominate the Seafield beachfront?  What does the new housing area need in terms of its design, services, transport, open spaces and other aspects of a successful development? How can the community engage with the proposal and best shape this new neighbourhood?

Providing community-led housing opportunities in Portobello?

Sunday 1.30-3.30pm St Marks

Ian Cooke / Jayne Saywell

This conversation looks at the housing need in Portobello, and explores what can be done to provide new housing opportunities – both owned and rented – for local people through community-led development. We will be joined by John Kinsley and Pete Allen of CoHere Collective Custom Build who will outline what collective custom build is, and how the approach can be applied to different types of housing.

Supporting new parents in adjusting to life out of lockdown

Sunday 1.30-3.30pm Bellfield Small Hall

Mhairi Cameron

It takes a village to raise a child, but lockdown removed that support network from new mums everywhere. The struggle is ongoing with activities being the last to start up again. This conversation is to allow parents to talk about their experiences and make suggestions as to what we can do locally to support each other.

Reclaiming the streets of Porty – How do we reduce traffic in Portobello and make it cleaner and greener?

Sunday 2-4pm Bellfield Large Hall

Porty Community Energy and Spokes Porty
(Part 2 of a two-part transport conversation)

Based on the results of recent transport surveys we will discuss how to reduce car traffic in and through Portobello, how to enable and inspire people to leave their car, and priorities for active and shared travel.

How can community organising and decision making in Portobello be enlivening and effective?

Sunday 4-6pm Bellfield Large Hall

Dave Francis, Eva Schonveld and Justin Kenrick

Decision-making needs to include everyone. It also needs to respect and learn from different points of view, but airing these differences can lead to conflict. 

How do we handle real differences in a way that respects diverse viewpoints and experiences, and so strengthens rather than divides us as a community? 

How can we organise in a way that is inclusive, energising and manages differences? And how should we make decisions: by majority, consensus, or are there other ways? What can we learn from people’s assembly and citizens’ assembly processes?

This conversation is to think about how we as citizens can collectively respond to the rapidly increasing challenges we face now and in the years ahead where community is likely to become far more critical to ensuring our needs are met and our responsibilities enabled.