Someone smart once said ‘if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist’ so Dr Marisa de Andrade (the University of Edinburgh) is out to Measure Humanity! Join her as she pushes academic boundaries on her mission to measure health and inequalities through the power of people and creativity. Is there such a thing as ‘hard-to-reach’ communities, she asks? Is there only evidence where there’s money to be made? (And what is ‘evidence’ anyway?) How do you measure soft ‘touchy-feeling’ things like compassion and relationships – and should researchers be doing this anyway? Can you prove that acting helps you stop smoking, or that 3D virtual reality landscapes beat depression?
Marisa de Andrade, Lecturer and Programme Director, School of Health in Social Science, the University of Edinburgh.
The internet presents new opportunities for being both hidden and exposed. Intelligence agencies and various governments fret about the advantages online anonymity gives miscreants and malcontents. Libertarians and civil liberties activists point to the technically and increasingly legally unlimited surveillance opportunities it provides. Is this a problem? Can we do anything about it? Angus Bancroft (University of Edinburgh) argues that ‘the darknet’ – currently home to geeks, thieves and drug dealers – actually gives us a potential way of taking back control. Never mind the dark side – we need the dark net…
Angus Bancroft, Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Political Science, the University of Edinburgh.
Data is everywhere. From diagnosis to treatment to recovery, a patient’s cancer journey leaves a data trail. What if the answers we seek about cancer are hidden in there? It could help us refine diagnosis, select treatments and improve the patient experience.
With the Cancer Innovation Challenge, data scientists, technologists and clinicians are looking for innovative data science solutions to help Scotland become a world leading carer for people with cancer.
Join Professors Aileen Keel (IHDP) and Dave Robertson (University of Edinburgh) to discuss the contributions of data science towards cancer research and care.
Aileen Keel, Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP) at the Farr Institute and Dave Robertson, Professor of Applied Logic at the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, the University of Edinburgh.
Isn’t the expression ‘having a senior moment’ awful? Yet people often think of changes in their mental skills with age in terms of decline. While some people do experience these changes, others do not. So how do thinking skills change through midlife and beyond, and do our lifestyles affect those changes? Join Alan Gow (Heriot-Watt University) to explore results from “What Keeps You Sharp?”, a nationwide survey about attitudes towards the changes people expect in their thinking skills with age. See how your beliefs match the survey, and explore how all that matches current evidence.
Alan Gow, Associate Professor of Psychology, Heriot-Watt University.
Some trauma in life might be inevitable, but not many people would view it as essential. Ian Edwards (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh) is the exception. He reckons that humans have a lot to learn from nature. Major storms, like the cyclone that hit Scotland in 2012, may have devastated the landscape, but they also kick-started the regenerative cycle. Does the same apply to humans? Or is it perverse to claim some traumas could ever be beneficial? In nature, diversity aids resilience and survival. What can we learn from this to help us weather increasingly stormy times?
Ian Edwards, Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Anyone can write a romance novel. Or can they? Amy Burge (University of Edinburgh) did a whole PhD on romance novels (yes, you can do that) and reckons there’s more to them than you think. Come along and join Amy in this sixty-minute brainstorming session and decide for yourself if romance novels deserve more esteem. Amy will introduce you to popular motifs and you’ll get a chance to suggest characters, costumes, settings and even the title! Will you leave with a higher opinion of this seemingly frivolous genre?
Amy Burge, Academic Developer at the Institute for Academic Development, the University of Edinburgh.
In elite sport the margin between success and failure can be miniscule. When the smallest gains in performance can be the difference between sporting success and competitive failure, where do we draw the line on what is acceptable? Are some athletes lucky that a drug they require for health reasons is also a potential performance-booster? Should we limit any advantages to pharmaceuticals? What about bionic limbs? Do the rules make a difference, or should we have a free-for-all? Come and join in this unique gameshow with Derek Ball (Heriot-Watt University) on doping in sport.
Derek Ball, Associate Professor at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University.
Do you think the criminal justice system is a soft touch? Do you think that life is too easy for criminals? Would you like to bring back hanging? Then this show is for you! During the show, criminologists Lesley McAra and Susan McVie (University of Edinburgh) will bring you the stories of both offenders and victims. You’ll be challenged about which group are more ‘deserving’ of hugs. You’ll also have the opportunity to be stopped and searched live on stage! You’ll leave wanting to hug more thugs, or your money back!
Lesley McAra, Chair of Penology and Susan McVie, Professor of Quantitative Criminology at Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh.
Note this performance will take place on 7th August, 8-9pm AND 22nd August, 1.50-2.50pm
What is the truth? Is it out there? And is it in the archives? After an ‘interesting’ past year of political developments, archivist Rachel Hosker (University of Edinburgh) returns to the Cabaret to investigate the idea of whether archives hold the truth or not. What power do archives have in such political situations? Can archives expose the darker side of power – especially during times of war? Are the historical facts quoted by Trump and about Brexit watertight? How archives perceived, used and created for good and bad.
Rachel Hosker, Archives Manager at the Centre for Research Collections, the University of Edinburgh.
The magical internet-providing properties of fibre optics are well-known. But hardly anyone has heard of fibre optic sensors, and Matthew Partridge (Cranfield University) is not happy about that. These wonderful, cutting-edge devices can do amazing things and fix almost any problem. Don’t believe something so tiny can save the world? Come challenge Matthew with any question and he’ll tell you how fibre optic sensors can fix it! It’s also a chance to discuss why we don’t know more about things that could so radically improve our lives.
Matthew Partridge, Research Fellow at the Centre for Engineering Photonics, Cranfield University.
Join Professor Alastair Ager (Queen Margaret University) and colleagues as they share real life testimonies of how lives have been rebuilt after epidemics, earthquakes and wars. Find out how you counsel someone whose whole family has been ravaged by Ebola. Learn how Nepalese children were supported after their community was flattened. Hear how refugees settling in Scotland are putting war behind them and learning to live the everyday once more. Last but not least, find out what compels aid workers to help others rebuild their lives, even when doing so risks their own survival.
Alastair Ager, Director of the Institute of Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University.
Originally, our brains were designed to be multilingual, managing two or more languages easily. Neuroscientist Thomas Bak (University of Edinburgh) reckons that, like sedentary lifestyles and an unhealthy diet, the monolingualism that’s come with modern society has its consequences. Research has shown that speaking only one language makes our thinking skills decline faster as we age, and can actually make us more vulnerable to dementia in later life. So why aren’t public health campaigns addressing this? Should Fitbits be monitoring our speech as well as our steps?
Thomas Bak, Reader in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, the University of Edinburgh.
The cows that made the milk that went into your tea or your cereal this morning might be housed all year round in large sheds. The dairy sector is changing from the image we all hold in our heads of cows in fields munching green grass. Are these changes likely to be controversial? Yes. Is this a bad thing? Orla Shortall (James Hutton Institute) reckons it depends on why we value agriculture. Come along to make sense of how agriculture is changing, and how we can make better decisions about its future.
Orla Shortall, researcher in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences (SEGS) research group, James Hutton Institute.
We’re constantly threatened by outbreaks of diseases like SARS and Ebola. Can we win the fight against a deadly unidentified infectious disease that has just been discovered at the Edinburgh Fringe? Or is the task of staying one step ahead now too much for scientists? How could this virus arise, where could it come from, and what could it mean for you? How fast will it spread from our very feet to the rest of the world? Join epidemiologist Liam Brierley to see if humans will win the struggle to survive.
Liam Brierley, Biostatistician / Epidemiologist at MRC Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, the University of Edinburgh.
In this ‘post-truth’ era, we desperately need more scientists to critically evaluate evidence for political and corporate claims; we can’t afford to keep losing many of our best women. Clare Taylor (Edinburgh Napier University), Pam Cameron (Novo Science) and Frances M. Lynch (Electric Voice Theatre) discuss what we can do about this loss, bring evidence for five explanations for why highly qualified and ambitious women are deserting science, and sing the praises of some overlooked Scottish Superwomen of Science. One of the Cabaret’s most popular returning acts!
Clare Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, Edinburgh Napier University; Pam Cameron, Director, NovoScience and Frances M. Lynch, Artistic Director, Electric Voice Theatre.
This show takes place on the 16th AND 25th August
If mental illness is largely defined by a deviation from a norm, where does that leave us? Psychologist Matthias Schwannauer (University of Edinburgh) has looked at the history of mental disorder and found examples of madness that are genuinely seen as incredulous, shocking and bewildering, but also common instances of labels of mental disorders being used to control what was deemed as unacceptable, dangerous or otherwise challenging. If what is identified, diagnosed and treated as mental illness is based on no more than varying societal and cultural anchor points, is anyone ever truly mentally ‘ill’?
Matthias Schwannauer, Professor of Clinical Psychology – Head of Clinical & Health Psychology, School of Health in Social Science, the University of Edinburgh.
Note this performance will take place on 6th August 8-9pm AND 26th August 1.50-2.50pm
Your supermarket knows when you’re pregnant; Google knows what medical conditions you have; Facebook could help your doctor diagnose you. What if Google sent a record of your search terms to your doctor to notify them of likely health conditions? What if Facebook sent an alert to midwives when pregnant ladies posted photos of them drinking alcohol or smoking? Join Mhairi Aitken (University of Edinburgh) as she discusses how this information could be used, and have your own say on what should remain science fiction and what should become reality.
Mhairi Aitken, Research Fellow, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, the University of Edinburgh.
Stephen Lawrie (University of Edinburgh) reckons psychiatry – his profession – is underrated. Psychiatry remains rooted in the doctor-patient relationship: psychiatrists still actually speak to patients and carers to find out what the problems are, how they came about and what might be done about them. Psychiatrists keep biological, psychological and social factors in mind. And, believe it or not, psychiatry has amongst the most effective treatments in medicine at its disposal. Most people get better, and combining talking and drug treatments works best of all. So why is psychiatry sometimes looked down upon by other specialties?
Stephen Lawrie, Head of the Division of Psychiatry at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, the University of Edinburgh.
Say the word ‘sustainability’ and you probably – rightly – think of keep-cup toting, yoga-stretching, bike-riding Guardian readers. How do you get the rest of us to build saving the environment into our daily lives? Do we even need to? Or can we leave this to the politicians, environmentalists, economists and a few concerned citizens? Civil engineer Elli-Maria Charalampidou (Heriot-Watt University) and Nikolaos Papadogiannis (Bangor University) reckon that saving the environment needs to be built into all parts of our society’s culture – even our beach holidays in Marbella. Can they convince you?
Elli-Maria Charalampidou, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University and Nikolaos Papadogiannis, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary History at the School of History and Archaeology, Bangor University.
Our genes make us who we are. Or do they? The answer is a bit more complicated than that, and we understand far less than you might think. Jonathan Pettitt (University of Aberdeen) will take look into the past, present and future of human genetics, focussing on controversial questions such as: “Is race a scientific concept?”; “Are designer babies something to worry about?”; “Does my earwax smell?”. Genetics is always a popular Cabaret topic and audience participation will be positively encouraged!
Jonathan Pettitt, Reader in the Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen.
Childhood is an injustice. Childhood infantilises, exploits, and oppresses children. Dr Philip Cook (The University of Edinburgh) argues that justice demands we abolish childhood. But how can we abolish childhood? And would abolishing childhood harm children? Philip explains how society creates childhood through its laws. These laws aim to protect children, but they end up disempowering them. Children should be treated as equals, entitled to make their own choices about their lives. Treating children as equals might seem shocking, but abolishing childhood is the best thing we can do if we truly care about our children.
Men are sexual predators and women are sex objects – or so advertisers tell us. ‘Sexy’ themes have been used in advertising for decades, based on the notion that ‘sex sells’. From yoghurt ads to shampoo, from perfume to fast food – these ads are ubiquitous and pasted in mainstream media. Researcher Kat Rezai (Edinburgh Napier University) broadens this debate to ask: what do ‘sexy’ ads really sell? Does it sell that ‘sexy’ product, or does it sell specific behaviours? Join Kat in this engaging and challenging discussion.
Your pictures and regrettable digital utterings are public… Google, Facebook and Amazon know… well, everything… You’re tracked and logged across cyberspace and there’s nothing you can do! Or is there?
Join Nicola Osborne (EDINA, University of Edinburgh) for a thrillingly nerdy adventure through new data protection rights that might just save your digital footprint!
Bring your questions, panics or your top tips – or tweet them to #codi2018 – to be part of the show!
‘A wonderfully witty and engaging speaker’ **** (BroadwayBaby 2017).
‘Reveals a collection of hidden gems and curiosities’ **** (BroadwayBaby 2016).
Did you always sit at the back in class? Were you bored? Or maybe you were one of the lucky ones who was engaged and inspired by a teacher? Many people have memories and strong views of the teaching they received at school and university. In this show, Dr Catherine Bovill (The University of Edinburgh), AKA ‘Dr Engagement’, will explore some of the highs and lows of teachers’ attempts to motivate students and make learning more exciting and engaging. In the interests of engagement, active audience participation will be encouraged!
Bills, dating, raising children – life is challenging enough! Who wants to think about potential future health issues and care needs with more immediate matters to consider? Unfortunately, decisions don’t become easier when you are unwell or even suffering from cognitive limitations. Dr Anna Schneider (Edinburgh Napier University and Administrative Data Research Centre) works with big data to explore the care needs of Scottish people in their last year of life. She’ll highlight a few things worth thinking about – considering you’ve got an 80% chance of needing care at the end of life!
How dangerous is silence in the archive? Archivist Rachel Hosker (The University of Edinburgh) returns to the Cabaret to explore the awkward and uncomfortable issue of silence in archives. Is silence a warning? What are the dangers for us all when stories are created and facts surmised to fill the gaps? From counter-cultures and forms of capturing life, to failure of the state, Rachel will explore the responsibility of the individual and the archivist in the process of remembering and reflecting society, and the role of the digital existence. Silence can be awkward…… and deafening.
Your supermarket knows when you’re pregnant; Google knows what medical conditions you have; Facebook could help your doctor diagnose you. What if Google sent a record of your search terms to your doctor to notify them of likely health conditions? What if Facebook sent an alert to midwives when pregnant ladies posted photos of them drinking alcohol or smoking? Join Mhairi Aitken (The University of Edinburgh) as she discusses how this information could be used, and have your own say on what should remain science fiction and what should become reality.
The public actively engage in decision-making processes, from referendums and elections to choosing singing contest winners. Often the results of these are contested and debated, and questions arise over whether the public made the right decision. Why, then, do researchers engage the public in their research and what could you bring to health and social science research? Join researcher Carol Porteous (The University of Edinburgh) to explore why researchers all across the UK are actively encouraging the public to engage with health and social science research and discover what this means for society.
Discussions about drug use and drug policy often involve stories – personal experience combined with knowledge gleamed from the media and other sources. But how are these stories translated into policy, and what validity should we give to personal experience in drug policy decisions? Using interview data and background experience, researcher Anna Ross (The University of Edinburgh) will be exploring personal narratives on drugs policy in Scotland. In particular, she looks at how stories can help us feel empathy and understanding, and create policy built on compassion and individual rights, as opposed to retribution and punishment.
Isn’t the expression ‘having a senior moment’ awful? Yet people often think of changes in their mental skills with age in terms of decline. While some people do experience these changes, others do not. So how do thinking skills change through midlife and beyond, and do our lifestyles affect those changes? Join Alan Gow (Heriot-Watt University) to explore results from “What Keeps You Sharp?”, a nationwide survey about attitudes towards the changes people expect in their thinking skills with age. See how your beliefs match the survey’s, and explore how all that matches current evidence.