Communication and collaboration in a crisis

The notion of a genuine partnership between government and people, where each listens to each other and feel listened to is very attractive. At the start of the pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon referred to an ‘adult conversation’ between the Scottish Government and the Scottish public about how to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a similar vein, many advisors have pointed to the fact that policies are always more effective in engaging the public when they are produced with the public rather than just imposed upon the public. This notion of a genuine partnership between government and people, where all feel listened to is very attractive. But how is it achieved in practice?

How can government communicate in a way that is engaging, compelling and comprehensible? How can the voices of all sections of the community – and not just those who are most privileged – be fed into the policymaking process? Are there limits to the openness of government? This discussion, part of the RSE’s 2021 summer events programme Curious, will examine the response of the Scottish Government, and what it got right – and wrong – over the preceding 18 months.


Professor Stephen Reicher FBA FRSE, Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Social Psychology at University of St Andrews

Professor Jason Leitch CBE, National Clinical Director, Scottish Government

Dr Anne Templeton, Lecturer in Social Psychology, University of Edinburgh

Allan Farmer, Head of Place, Corra Foundation

About Curious

This event was part of the RSE’s summer events programme Curious. The RSE invites you to Curious, its summer events programme running from 09-27 August 2021. All eyes on Scotland’s leading thinkers in this thought-provoking series of free online talks and intimate conversations designed to question and inspire the world around us to reach new insights.