Adam Smith 300 Symposium

Bringing Adam Smith’s ideas and legacy into conversations around contemporary issues

A black and white image of Adam Smith face from a book cover

The key event in the Adam Smith Business School’s year-long tercentenary celebration was the Adam Smith 300 Symposium. 

The day-long event on Saturday 10th of June, featured international scholars and practitioners who brought Smith into conversations with contemporary issues.  

Live theatre, music and art, and a special viewing of material from the University’s Smith archive brought Adam Smith to life during the afternoon. 

The first panel discussion in the morning covered Why Smith? Why Glasgow? Chaired by Professor Kat Riach, with Professor Benjamin FriedmanProfessor Ryan HanleyProfessor Mary MorganProfessor Maria Pia Paganelli and Professor Steve Medema. See the discussion on the ASBS YouTube channel.

This was followed by a discussion on Smith & Economics, chaired by Dr Maha Rafi Atal, with Professor Anne CaseProfessor Diane Coyle CBEProfessor Randall Kroszner and Professor Douglas Irwin. See the discussion on the ASBS YouTube channel.

All discourse took place in Hunter Halls West with lunch and activities in the Kelvin Gallery. 

The activities featured a specially commissioned piece of music titled ‘The Symphony of Moral Sentiments’ – written by Helen MacKinnon - a composer and Bachelor of Music Honours graduate from the University of Glasgow. 

The new composition was inspired by the enduring legacy of Adam Smith and how it inspires the University’s family of world-changing students and alumni. The music explores the theme of how we inherit the past and are inspired to give to the future. The piece was performed by The Hallelujah String Trio and followed by some traditional Scottish music. 

Company Theatre Productions performed ‘The Life & Times of Adam Smith’, telling the story of Adam Smith’s life, the people he met, and the influence his mother had over him. Showcasing a modern twist to the play when long-lost papers are found, and new possibilities emerge regarding the legacy of his work.  

Attendees also had the rare opportunity to view a specially curated display of some of the University of Glasgow’s world-class collection of Adam Smith-related books and manuscripts. This mini-exhibition included original correspondence from Adam Smith and rare editions of his seminal works, including a first edition of ‘The Wealth of Nations’; handwritten eighteenth-century student notes of his University lectures. Collection experts and archivists from the library were on hand to introduce the material and chat with delegates about the items on show. 

Throughout the day, artist Graham Ogilvie created a live drawing to capture on paper the themes and discussions of the event. 

Smith & Political Economy was the subject of the final panel discussion of the day, chaired by Professor Graeme Roy, featuring discourse from Professor Sir John KayMs Jo Swinson CBEDr Glory Liu and Dr Adam Posen CBE. See the discussion on the ASBS YouTube channel.

The event ended with a drink reception in the cloisters and a performance by the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir.

Craig Smith speaking at a podium with the Adam Smith 300 banner with the university of Glasgow logo and text stating Adam Smith 300 year anniversary 1723 - 2023 Source: ASBS


5 panellists discussing Smith and Political economy with panellists Prof Graeme Roy, Prof Sir John Kay, Jo Swinson CBE, Dr Glory Liu and Dr Adam Posen CBE with an audience in front of them. Source: ASBS


Professor Graeme Roy shaking hands with Chizulum Ifezulike across the winning national competion cover image with two hands holding a growing tree in soil and coins with a skyscraper behind. Source: ASBS


Adam Smith 300 symposium art work of the entire day with graphics and text discussing smith ideas and what people discussed throughout the day with the designer holding the picture against the wall. Source: ASBS


Image of the three people from the In company theatre productions from their performance the life and times of Adam Smith. All holding the script in between the with Adam Smith's face. Source: ASBS


3 people play musical instruments. Two playing violins and one playing Cello with a blue light behind them. Source: ASBS