Psychiatry is the Best Medicine!

Join Stephen Lawrie at 8.20pm, Saturday 26th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discover why psychiatry doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am Head of Psychiatry at Edinburgh University and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist with NHS Lothian

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

I have done studies about the stigmatisation of psychiatry and psychiatric patients

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

It challenges people’s preconceptions that medicine is effective while psychiatry is ineffective

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

Yes, I think so

Why is the topic important to you?

I wish to reduce the stigmatisation of psychiatry, psychiatrists and our patients

Describe your show in 3 words

Promoting Psychiatry Truths

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

To learn how psychiatry is practised and how effective it is

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand 

Ed Fringe

Fibre Optic Sensors Can Save the World!

Join Matthew Partridge at 8.20pm, Tuesday 22nd August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discover how fibre optic sensors really can save the world.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself 

I have several current roles, firstly (and least importantly) I’m the cartoonist and blogger behind the site ErrantScience.com. I launched the site in 2008 as a place devoted to talking about the lighter side of research, and being irreverent about science. My day job is working as a Research Fellow in the Centre of Engineering Photonics at Cranfield University, where I develop fibre optic chemical sensors for everything from water pollution monitoring to cancer diagnosis.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

My research is fibre optics, my show is all about fibre optics and fibre optics is right there in the title. If that’s not already hinting at the way that my show fits to my research then I’m going to have to keep mentioning fibre optics more. Fibre optics.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

Mostly people wouldn’t call fibre optics dangerous and would really say that the most dangerous thing about them is that they can carry laser beams capable of burning a hole through sheet metal. But to me I think of fibre optics as dangerous because they can be so thin that they can slip between skin cells and get embedded in you without you even knowing. Which is both an example of why they are dangerous and an explanation for how I ended up with a fibre optic in my finger as a constant reminder to wear gloves.

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

The biggest controversy about fibre topics is that everyone thinks they are only good for streaming Netflix. They can do so much more (providing you wear gloves when doing it)

Why is the topic important to you?

It is both my day job and something I passionately want to help educate people about so that they too can see how amazing they are and appreciate the how much better the world would be if there were more of them.

Describe your show in 3 words

Fibre optic death

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

Seeing my show will worth it because you’ll learn all about the history of fibre optics, which is really the history of jealous scientists, a crazed person attaching molten glass to a crossbow and the most honest scientist in the world being secretly funded by the CIA. There’s also some bits about the post office and the Dorset Police force and why you need to thank them for the broadband we have today.

Then if all that wasn’t interesting enough as a Fringe-goer you get to challenge me to come up with fibre optic solutions to any problem you can think of. I will happily solve relationship issues, general election confusion and provide a simple solution to Brexit. All with some little known uses of fibre optics.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

Cows Eat Grass, Don’t They?

Join Orla Shortall at 1.50pm, Thursday 24th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss the way in which our milk is produced and how this relates to how we value agriculture in general. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a social scientist at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. I do research on how people make decisions about land use and why we value agriculture. Is agriculture similar to any other industiral sector in our economy and we should try to produce as much food as efficiently as possible? Or what are the other reasons why agriculture is important to us, including the role of agriculture in our history, culture and countryside; our connection with the land through the food we eat; and our relationship with animals. How can these values be included in decisions making about agriculture?

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

Indoor dairy farming is a topic I’ve developed an interest in over recent years as I’ve been working on disease control on dairy farms. It seems that the dairy sector in the UK is changing rapidly with more cows spending more time indoors, but the public are largely unaware of these changes. I feel more discussions around the topic would be helpful.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

I feel this topic is dangerous because it’s not being widely discussed. When I mention indoor dairy farming to people many of them are surprised that it’s happening and very much against it, so there seems to be something of a disconnect between what people believe, how they want their food to be produced and the direction the industry is going in. When you get a disconnect between what people in the scientific community or industry believe and what “the public” believe then you can get outbreaks of controversy and protest. It has also been the subject of controversy in the past with protests over a “mega dairies” opening in people’s local area.

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

It depends what point of view you look at it from. There are lots of reasonable arguments for indoor dairy farming and we’ve already partly accepted indoor pig and poultry production in our food sector – so why should dairy farming be different? It might be the case that people oppose changes to the sector now but we get used to milk being produced indoors. A lot of the arguments about indoor dairy farming relate to the cows’ welfare, with opponents stating that cows aren’t happy indoors all the time and proponents saying that cows can have a very good life indoors. This one is hard to resolve because you can’t ask cows which they prefer and there isn’t agreement on the best way to assess if cows are “happy” or not, and there haven’t been that many studies done on it. Other countries such as the Netherlands have already undergone these changes and are now moving back in the opposite direction, with requirements for cows to spend a proportion of their time out of doors and a market for free range, outdoor milk. This suggests this isn’t a topic that isn’t just going to go away.

Why is the topic important to you?

I drink milk and eat dairy products in the first instance, so that gives me a reason to think about how milk is produced. The disconnection between how normal indoor dairy farming is in the industry in the UK, and how unaware most people are of it has struck me over the last few years. I’m interested in how the dairy sector is changing. It’s a really diverse sector in the UK with all types of different systems, technologies, sizes, so this feels like an important time to think about dairy farming. I’m Irish as well, and Ireland has a more extensive dairy system in general than the UK, with lower milk yields and cows spending more time on grass, so I’m interested in the comparison. People seem to object to cows being housed all year around more so than pigs or chickens, so I’m interested in why that is as well. The image of cows grazing in a grass field is such an iconic image of the countryside.

 Describe your show in 3 words

Talk about milk

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

They’ll get the chance think more about how their food is produced and discuss the different sides of the argument. They’ll be challenged and hopefully exposed to a lively debate.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

How to Rebuild a Life

Join Alastair Ager at 1.50pm, Wednesday 23rd August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss real life testimonies of how lives have been rebuilt after epidemics, earthquakes and wars.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

Hug More Thugs

Join Lesley McAra and Susan McVie at 8.20pm, Monday 21st August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discuss why we should be hugging more thugs. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourselves

Lesley is Assistant Principal Community Relations and Professor of Penology at the University of Edinburgh

Susan is the Director of the Applied Quantitative Methods Network and Professor of Quantitative Criminology at the University of Edinburgh

Both Lesley and Susan are Co-Directors of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

This show features aspects of the research we do on crime and justice related issues.  In particular, it draws on findings from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study of over 4000 people, which has highlighted how harsh and punitive methods of dealing with young people who come into conflict with the law are mostly ineffective and can sometimes make things worse.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

The Daily Mail once included Lesley and Susan in their league table of “academics who state the bleedin’ obvious” – because they had robust evidence that early experience of school exclusion was a strong predictor of who would end up in prison by age 24 (in the Mail’s view, “once a ned always a ned”).   Crime evokes strong emotions amongst politicians and the public.  Governments that are not seen to be appropriately “tough” on crime are strongly criticised in the tabloid press.  Paradoxically so called tough responses to crime actually exacerbate it (and are often far softer in practice).  In contrast, rehabilitation and efforts to tackle the needs and vulnerabilities of the most serious offenders are often more effective at reducing crime and reducing the risks of victimisation.  If the Edinburgh Study findings are so ‘bleedin obvious’ then why has more not been done to tackle the problem?

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

Crime and punishment are controversial, and weak governments often turn to punitive responses to try to win popular support. De-politicising youth justice, and treating it as more akin to a public health problem, would lead to more sustained and effective responses.

Why is the topic important to you?

Lesley and Susan’s overall aim is to use research evidence to promote and campaign for positive social and political change.  The findings of their research have been utilised by policy makers and practitioners in Scotland and internationally to support the well-being and flourishing of young people, and in particular those most excluded and marginalised within society.

Describe your show in 3 words

Challenging, eye-opening, engaging

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

People often think they know a lot about crime and justice, but they know more fiction than fact. In our show they will learn about the very strong relationship between needs (poverty, exclusion, mental health problems, neglect) and deeds (crime and anti-social behaviour); and what works in reducing crime. We will challenge you to consider the role of the criminal justice system in our society and how effective or not it is in dealing with youth crime.

 

Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe

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