Jan Clarkson (University of Dundee/NHS Education for Scotland) and Craig Ramsay (The University of Aberdeen) told us at previously Cabarets to stop brushing our teeth and to skip our scale and polish. Can we conclude from this that everything your dentist tells you is wrong? If so, how can we avoid fillings and worse? It’s not straightforward – in fact, it’s political. Jan and Craig will invite you to separate fact from fiction in the emerging evidence from the world of dentistry and will suggest you consider the influence of global politics.
Science is thought of as the definitive truth of our time. It claims to sit at the apex of the tree of knowledge. But there’s a problem: most scientific findings are (possibly) false. If this is the case, then science may no longer be able to inform us on the big issues of our time and is little more than fake news. Dr Stephen Darling (Queen Margaret University) will explore the problem, focusing in particular on the contentious areas where science meets behaviour. Should we abandon science entirely, and to hell with the mismeasure of man?
Is anyone truly monolingual anymore? Knowing dialects, learning languages at school, and hearing migrant speakers make everybody ‘bilingual’ to some extent. This means that the mother tongue changes, in completely natural and predictable ways. It also means that people may not be as bad at learning languages as they often think they are. Join Professor Antonella Sorace of Bilingualism Matters (The University of Edinburgh) to discover what the extinction of monolingualism could be doing to your brain – and why it matters.
Is copyright necessary? Does it hinder or does it help? What would happen if there was no copyright? Without it, who benefits and who loses out? Is copyright just for large corporations? Or does copyright also serve the interests of individual creators more effectively than we might think?
Join Smita Kheria, intellectual property law expert (The University of Edinburgh), to find out whether copyright has a positive role to play, or could we live without it in today’s post-digital society.
Creators and consumers, professionals and amateurs, rights holders and pirates, come along and have your say!
Do you want to reveal yourself to the world? Does your data show more than you think? To whom? We think our personal information is private. But should it be? New laws seek to protect data privacy rights – even as Facebook and Google collect our information. Who really owns your data? Is the only solution to leave the internet? Join Dr Sarah Chan (The University of Edinburgh) and Dr Lee Baylis (JISC) to ask what happens when data takes on a life of its own…
With growing pressure on the planet’s resources, food production is having to get more high-tech. Are you worried about what’s in it? From looking at food provisions in extreme environments like space, researchers and engineers have come up with some very interesting but controversial solutions which are now making their way into mainstream food production. Join space technology and innovation researcher, Matjaz Vidmar (The University of Edinburgh), to decide if you want food developed for astronauts in your future! (Supported by the School of Social and Political Science Student Development Office, The University of Edinburgh.)
Dr Amy Davies (Heriot-Watt University) invites you to delve into the deep oceans and dark forests where enchanting fluorescent creatures, such as jellyfish and fireflies, live. Their fluorescence has allowed scientists to make other animals that can glow in the dark. More importantly, it has enabled us to see the invisible worlds of the many cells that make up all life on earth. Now that we can see what’s really going on, what’s next? Finding cancer cells or infectious viruses and bacteria? We can see active parts of the brain, so is mind reading next?
Toxic masculinity is blamed for everything from the #MeToo movement to rates of male suicide. Dr Fiona McQueen (Edinburgh Napier University) wants to know whether men becoming more emotional can undo the nasty sides of manliness. Could being more open about their emotions free men from being stuck in the middle between ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘it’s good to talk’? If so, will men take the risk of appearing vulnerable to escape this messy middle ground, or do they have too much to lose? And would men’s emotional openness really eradicate toxic masculinity?
We’re desperately short of organs for transplant, so the possibility of transplanting from pigs to humans – xenotransplantation – has many people excited. Dr James Lowe (The University of Edinburgh) will explore whether this promise will – or should – ever be realised. Examining the history – and problems – of previous efforts to make xenotransplantation work, he will probe the possible solutions presented by new technologies, such as genome editing. This show will delve into the scientific, technical, ethical and social obstacles to xenotransplantation, ultimately asking: Could pig-to-human transplants be possible, if so, and should they be allowed?
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.
From hospice care to funeral plans, talk of death is becoming mainstream. But some questions remain taboo, like:
- What frightens you most about dying?
- What happens on the road to death?
Other animals don’t have those anxieties. And doctors and vets certainly don’t have all the answers. They simply accompany patients and caregivers facing the last frontier—and it gives many of them food for thought. Join palliative care doctor Professor Scott Murray (The University of Edinburgh) and Dr Caroline Hewson (The Pet Loss Vet) to ponder the art of us all dying well.
Would you lie to the government about who you are? How about to your doctor? Maybe to big companies? Whilst online shopping? How about on your Facebook profile? Do they need your real date of birth? Is lying the best way to protect yourself from being profiled and manipulated by who knows what company? Amy Tilbrook (Administrative Data Research Centre – Scotland) examines whether the digital information gathered about us every day is true, and what the consequences might be if it’s not.
And we can learn from them. Across the globe, many footballers and other athletes have actively engaged with issues related to peace, racism and social inequities. These voices not only highlight important social and political topics, but also make the school curriculum feel more relevant to pupils – especially some working-class students who are not fully participating in their education. Come hear from Dr Neil Speirs (The University of Edinburgh) about how sport for development is used in practice. Can football really bring about positive social and political change? Have your say!
Time’s up; but on what, exactly? Are the Weinsteins of the world isolated bad apples, individuals who use their positions of power to take advantage of vulnerable women, or is it a much deeper problem? Are men just not listening when women refuse sex? Or can women not refuse at all? Join feminist philosopher Dr Elinor Mason (The University of Edinburgh) to explore consent, entitlement and the cultural systems which mean women are denied the authority to refuse sex.
“Our genes make us who we are”; “DNA is our destiny. And our ancestry”. Neither of these statements are correct, but offer simple and seductive explanations that obscure the much more complicated reality. Jonathan Pettitt (The University of Aberdeen) will attempt to distinguish the hype from heredity. In a wide-ranging overview of the past, present and future of human genetics, he will address controversial questions, such as: “Is race a scientific concept?”; “Are designer babies something to worry about?”; “Why does my earwax smell?”
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.
The margin between success and failure in elite sport can be miniscule. The investment into sporting success can be millions of pounds for a handful of medals. While some athletes and coaches look to marginal gains for success, others adopt a more straightforward approach: doping. There have been many attempts to avoid a positive test in doping control; what method would you adopt? Come along and join in the debate with Dr Derek Ball (The University of Aberdeen) on success and failure at doping in sport.
The history of mental disorder is full of instances of labels of mental disorders being used to control what was deemed as unacceptable or dangerous. The science of mental health is as much determined by cultural norms as it is by its methods of enquiry. Psychologist Matthias Schwannauer (The University of Edinburgh) argues for the seductive appeal of neuroscience. If we can physically locate our thoughts, anguish and distress, can we identify a fix? Could this be our key to happiness and contentment? If mental Illness is largely defined by not being typical, who wants to be?