Surviving the Storm

Join Ian Edwards at 1.50pm, Sunday 20th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss what we can learn from nature to be more resilient in the face of trauma. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

Ecologist, head of public engagement at RBGE

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

The botanic garden is keen to address the health and wellbeing agenda (as well as the biodiversity agenda)

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

The idea that we should be designing space for people’s growth and nourishment and not plants is radical and a bit subversive

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

Yes

Why is the topic important to you?

Because of the evidence that is building up and not getting the recognition it deserves

Describe your show in 3 words

Regeneration, resilience, rethink

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

They will learn that natural ecosystems can provide inspiring examples of regeneration and the value of diversity in resilience which is certain to be applicable to their lives at some point

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

Dr Data: The Answer to Cancer?

Join Aileen Keel and Dave Robertson at 1.50pm, Saturday 19th August to discuss the role data can play in improving cancer care in Scotland. 

Tell us a bit about yourselves

Professor Aileen Keel is the Director of the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme, which seeks to fundamentally change the way that data and analytics are used to drive improvement in health outcomes, by fostering new relationships between the NHS, industry, academia, and the third sector. Prior to, she was the Acting Chief Medical Officer for Scottish Government.

Professor Dave Robertson is Chair of Applied Logic and was appointed Dean of Special Projects in Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. In August 2017 he will become Head of College of Science & Engineering. Prior to this, Dave was Head of School of Informatics at the University. Dave has a particular focus on medicine and healthcare.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

The show offers a great opportunity to raise awareness around sharing cancer data to improve outcomes in Scotland.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

Health data is personal so, without the right safeguards, sharing heath data poses risks to data confidentiality.  The Care.data controversy in NHS England in 2014 demonstrates how this can go wrong.

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

People’s caution in this area is understandable. We need to be able to convey that the benefits of sharing cancer data vastly outweigh the risks and that there are safe guards in place to ensure patient confidentiality. The Care.data debacle arose from NHS England failing to communicate the benefits through a properly organised national publicity campaign. People were also concerned about the potential sharing of data with private companies, which is not something envisaged in NHS Scotland.

Why is the topic important to you?

Scotland’s cancer outcomes are worse than those in the rest of the UK and other similar northern European countries. The reasons for this are not fully understood. We believe that until we are able to join up all the pots of cancer data that are sitting throughout NHS Scotland, into a Scottish Cancer Intelligence Framework, we will not be able to fully understand why our survival rates are poorer, and be able to focus our efforts and resources on areas which will change that picture.

Describe your show in 3 words

Truthful. Straightforward. Illuminating.

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

They will learn about the need for joined up cancer data and the benefits of a Scottish Cancer Intelligence Framework. They will also learn that the overwhelming majority of cancer patients already want their data to be shared to benefit themselves, their families and future research.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

Turn to the Darknet

Join Angus Bancroft at 8.20pm, Friday 18th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss how we can learn from online criminals when it comes to protecting our privacy.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

I research how illicit markets work and how people use secrecy online.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

The dangerous idea is that we can be safer online and more secure by learning from people involved in shady dealings.

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

It is controversial because some of the activity involved is unquestionably harmful, but some of the proposed solutions such as weakening encryption would create even more risk.

Why is the topic important to you?

The early promise of the internet was how freeing it would be. More and more it is the opposite – tied down, locked out and comes at the cost of us surrendering our personal data. The darknet is one way of getting that promise back

Describe your show in 3 words

Felonious geeky underworlds

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

  • What the darknet is
  • Why criminals are increasingly writing business plans
  • How secrecy is replacing privacy

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand 

Ed Fringe

 

Measuring Humanity

Join Marisa de Andrade at 1.50pm, Friday 18th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss how we can measure the unmeasurable. 

 

Dr Marisa De Andrade is a lecturer in the University’s School of Health in Social Science (HiSS) and an Associate Director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry (CCRI). She brings her creative background in radio presenting, journalism and performing arts to health policy and practice. Along with an inter-disciplinary team in HiSS, she may have another trick up her sleeve – keep your eyes peeled for a new cutting-edge MSc in Health Humanities & Arts launching in 2018 (subject to College approval). Her show ‘Measuring Humanity’ is part of the 2017 Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas.

Can you explain a little bit about your show- what can people expect to see at it? Will it surprise them? What is ‘measuring humanity’ anyway?!

Measuring Humanity questions ‘what is evidence’? It puts forward that the arts – all forms of art and the act of humans coming together – is a type of ‘evidence’ that can be systematically captured and used to ‘measure’ changes in health, wellbeing and inequalities. It’s a way of thinking, a way of being, a way of doing, a way of collecting data, a way of objectifying the subjective – a show about accessing ‘truth’ from diverse communities through creative community engagement. And then convincing policymakers that sometimes the only way we can access ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ from the most marginalised in our society is through the arts.

[The academic bit: it’s a co-produced methodological and evaluation framework – an asset-based indicator framework (ABIF) – connecting individual, community and structural levels to ‘measure’ changes in health, wellbeing and inequalities through creative community engagement. The ABIF evolved (and is evolving) through ongoing innovative data collection with disadvantaged communities since 2013 and links their personalised health and equity outcomes to local, national and international policies.]

What would you say are the challenges in this area of research?

It can be challenging to convince some academics, funders, policymakers, health bodies – those who hold the purse strings – that the creative and relational are just as important as quantitative measures in health, wellbeing and social justice. ‘Validating the feels’ – or getting these approaches ‘quality assured’ – calls for a reconceptualization of the evidence-base as you’re trying to represent community members’ lived experiences. And as our experiences can be radically different, how do you turn this into a statistic to legislate at the population level? On a personal level, I spend a lot of time immersed in these communities building relationships (and having fun). At times though, it’s tough to see and hear stories and ‘realities’ of the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups and individuals. The challenges of our time are all too real.

What would you like your audience to take away with them from the show?

For the thinking behind Measuring Humanity to permeate into the way in which we live and understand health, wellbeing and inequity so we can all take action – through creative non-threatening mediums – to address the challenges of our time. To reflect on how solidarity is linked to health and equity. To reflect on global inequalities and the role we play in maintaining or even exacerbating them. And to start thinking about ‘evidence’ differently – music, art and creativity are a part of this inquiry! How can creative approaches challenge structural causes of inequality?

How is the University contributing to the new research and conversation?

Measuring Humanity is calling for something magical – a paradigm shift that situates creativity and relationships right next to positivist approaches in the evidence-base. We’re making lots of space in HiSS to develop capacity for debate, thinking and activity that argues for and contributes to the future of such interdisciplinary qualitative inquiry within the University, nationally and internationally through our new research Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry (http://www.ed.ac.uk/health/research/research-centres/ccri).

Our School has a long tradition of using humanities and arts approaches in working with health, wellbeing and ill-health experiences and in its research methodologies and methods. Now we’re taking an exciting next step – watch this space for a new cutting-edge MSc in Health Humanities & Arts (launching in 2018 subject to College approval)!

What is the best thing about doing a festival show?

Connecting my love for the arts with my interest in applied research and practice in health policy. And getting to do this by making music with community members and incredible musicians and artists like award-winning Belle Jones and  Audrey Tait of hip-hop band Hector Bizerk; phenomenal hop-hop rapper Bigg Taj; hilarious comedian, actor and writer Neil Bratchpiece (aka The Wee Man); surreal comedy sketch trio Planet Caramel; and sharing a stage with the lovely comedian Susan Morrison, who I haven’t seen since my radio days.

And I get to ask questions like this: should public money be spent on travelling dance shows with migrants to help tackle poverty?  Can 3D virtual reality landscapes beat depression? Can hip-hop help us work with so called ‘hard to reach’ communities to improve health and reduce inequalities? What’s not to love?

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

Shiver Me Liver

Join Karen Matthews at 8.20pm, Thursday 17th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss all things liver disease.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

Liver nurse specialist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.  Professional doctorate student at Queen Margaret Universiy (Centre for Applied Social Science)

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

The show touches on some of the findings from my recent feasibility study.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

I hope to challenge the stigma surrounding cirrhosis and the reasons for health inequalities surrounding liver disease

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

I believe it is right that it has this label given the resistance I have had from certain areas in taking this research forward

Why is the topic important to you?

Most of those with liver disease present to medical services at an advanced stage in their disease. In both my study and with this show I hope to raise awareness and encourage more people to be aware and consider dealing with possible lifestyle choices earlier.

Describe your show in 3 words

Fun. Informative. Dynamic.

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

They will learn some basics about liver health and disease. They will be challenged on their views of who gets cirrhosis.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

 

 

Making a Signbank Withdrawal

Join Jordan Fenlon and Andy Carmichael at 1.50pm, Friday 4th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to take a tour of UCL’s British Sign Language Signbank. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourselves

Jordan Fenlon: Assistant Professor of British Sign Language at Heriot Watt University

Andy Carmichael: – BSL interpreter based at Heriot-Watt University

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

Jordan: Before coming to Heriot-Watt, I was based at UCL as a sign language researcher and was part of the team that developed BSL Signbank. Signs that were added to Signbank were signs that we had seen in use in the British Sign Language Corpus. This meant that Signbank reflects the signs that the wider deaf community are using today. In compiling this dictionary, however, issues that are hotly debated come up all the time.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

Jordan: Our topic is dangerous for a number of reasons. We’re going to try and touch on a few in the show. For example, within the deaf community, not everyone agrees with the signs in Signbank. There are some signs that younger people are using which others don’t like (and I don’t necessarily mean rude ones!) and would rather not see in a dictionary. For the new signer, however, the dictionary can be rather confusing as we try to document all the variation we see in a sign (there are 11 signs for the colour ‘grey’ for instance) – should we only pick one? How do we get round this ‘problem’?

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

Topics related to language always stir up a lot of controversy. People get so worked up about English and how it’s changing (e.g., ‘don’t call it a train station, it’s a railway station’) and BSL is no exception.

Why is the topic important to you?

We’re both native signers and grew up in the deaf community. BSL has been and will always be a huge part of our lives.

Describe your show in 3 words

irreverent, information, illuminating

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

We’re also going to look at some fun signs in the dictionary. Sometimes, new learners think it’s easy to pick up BSL because it’s iconic (another dangerous idea) – that is, signs look like the thing they represent. We have some fun examples to show that it can be true, but not always. New learners can expect to leave the theatre with a fresh perspective on what learning a sign language involves!

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

A Virus to End Humanity?

Join Liam Brierley at 8.20pm, Thursday 24th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss the likelihood of a viral pandemic wiping out the human race. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m an epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh, and I’m interested in using statistics to tackle real world problems in health and biology

What can people expect from your show?

I’m going to be taking the audience right into the middle of an outbreak situation, and together we’ll investigate whether we have a potential pandemic on our hands! So I’d say expect tension, excitement and maybe a few hazard suits.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

A lot of my previous research, including my PhD research at the University of Edinburgh, was focused on asking very similar questions to those I’ll investigate within the outbreak scenario of my CoDI show. In my research, I’ve taken what we know already about all the viruses we’ve discovered to infect humans, then used statistics and models to try and learn new things about their evolution or natural history. Ultimately, we’re hoping to predict the next pandemics before they occur.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

In recent years we’ve seen serious outbreaks of new diseases that have affected thousands and in some cases even millions of people. But it’s argued that we could have had it much worse – although 2009’s H1N1 influenza (or ‘swine flu’) pandemic spread very quickly, the disease wasn’t very much more severe than seasonal flu. In contrast, H5N1 influenza (or ‘bird flu’) often causes severe disease, but it’s rare because it doesn’t transmit very well between humans. The danger that scientists are preparing for is the possible appearance of a new virus, flu or otherwise, that is both potentially deadly and spreads efficiently.

What surprises you about your CODI show?

The sheer diversity of viruses in nature. We know of many viruses that only seem to be found in humans. If we assume every animal species on the planet has their own ‘specialist’ viruses just like us, that’s an astronomical number already, without considering the more ‘generalist’ viruses. And we’ve identified so little of what’s out there so far.

Do you have a favourite virus?

My favourite viruses are known as the Ampullaviridae – this a very unusual family of viruses, because they’re shaped exactly like tiny wine bottles! Thankfully, they only infect bacteria and not humans.

What is the biggest misconception about your CoDI show?

I think one big misconception is that there’s nothing we can do. There’s been a real shift in research focus over the last 15 years or so from control to prevention, and we’re now using genetics, epidemiology, and statistics to make smarter decisions and attempts to prevent outbreaks happening in the first place.

Why should people care about your CoDI show?

Outbreaks of new diseases aren’t just something that happens to other places – they’re everyone’s problem. Even though in the UK we’re lucky to have resources for healthcare and biosecurity, future pandemics could potentially affect all of us.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

Doing Drugs (Policy)

Join Anna Ross at 8.20pm, Saturday 12th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss the politics of doing drugs.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a PhD Candidate in my 3rd year and have spent the last 10 years studying and working in areas that cover drug policy issues, and having babies.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

My research is looking at narratives (stories) and what impact the stories we tell ourselves from experience and other people has on how we view drug policy and drug use. Importantly I am exploring the overarching narratives in drug policy communities, and trying to understand why there is resistance to moving from a criminal justice response to drug use, to a health based response.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

Drug use has long been labelled a ‘deviant’ activity, with people who develop dependency on drugs often stigmatised and demonised. Drugs are bad, dangerous and a corruption of youth. They are so bad that we have had a ‘War on Drugs’ since the early 1970’s, and imprison millions of people around the world for possession and use of these illegal drugs.

Yet despite this drug use is a normal activity amongst many social groups, and it is estimated that approximately 90% of people who use drugs do so without developing any long terms problems. Indeed, cannabis is one of the most widely used illegal drugs, to the extent that it is increasingly becoming legalised in the US and in other nation states such as Uruguay and Canada.

The justification for criminal sanctions is based on harm to the individual and society, yet independent indexes of the harm caused by drugs shows that the current classification of drugs does not reflect the actual harms caused.  Psychedelics, for example, are evaluated to be the least harmful drug of most illegal and legal drugs; neurologically, physically and socially. Yet psychedelics sit in the highest category of harm; Class A with up to life imprisonment for supply, and Schedule 1, no therapeutic benefits. So the question is, what is it about drugs that makes them dangerous, is it the drug, or is the people who use them?

Why is the topic important to you?

As a lifelong recreational drug user, and someone who has worked, studied and socialised in the drugs community I am deeply passionate about addressing the fundamental problems that have resulted from the prohibition of drugs. I view drug use as a personal choice and one that becomes problematic due to a number of factors. In many cases the harm that results from criminal sanctions far outweighs the potential harms of the drugs. The criminal sanctions for drug use serve to mask the real reasons for the harms, and this may be why the laws are not so easy to challenge. However, using stories which explore drug use the structures which maintain this framework can be challenged and explored.

Describe your show in 3 words

Drugs, stories and an accordion.

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

You will learn about some of the common myths associated with drug related harm, and get an opportunity to discuss and share your own experiences with drug use (either personal or from family and friends). You will also hear stories from the Scottish drug policy community and sing along to a few tunes on drug use.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe 

Can Recipes Help Gender Equality?

Join Daphne Loads at 8.20pm, Tuesday 15th August at the New Town Theatre to discuss whether a traditional symbol of domesticity can really help women advance down the road to equality. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

University of Edinburgh Academic Developer

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

My main research interest is in professional development for academics who teach. This links with my work as co-editor of Equal Bite – a book about gender equality. What links both topics is the power of language.

I want to get people to think about how language shapes our thinking, our attitudes and our behaviour, and how we can use language in liberating and powerful ways. The recipe book “Equal Bite” is an example of just that.

 Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

It can feel threatening to those who benefit from unfairness and privilege, and those who are scared of upsetting the status quo.

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

Yes. Gender equality doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. We can all gain from a fairer world.

Why is the topic important to you?

Because I’m interested in language and how it works and I want to do more about fairness.

Describe your show in 3 words

Interactive/empowering/delightful

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

It’s unlikely that they are unenlightened. Probably just haven’t noticed some of the things I point out in the show. I hope they’ll learn about the power of language, and how to take hold of some of that power. And how funny and fascinating words can be. Oh and how to avoid a Handmaid’s Tale situation.

 

Get your tickets here!

The Stand

Ed Fringe