Alumni Services

Chris Ban

Writer and film-maker Chris Ban is no stranger to finding a story and, as he explains, it was that quest for the literary that brought him to Edinburgh.

Name Christopher Valley Ban
Degree Course MSc. Legal Studies (Europa Institute)
Year of Graduation 1990
Chris Ban

Your time at the University

I’ve always enjoyed a good story. A place associated with such writers as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark and many others had a strong appeal.

At the beginning of 1989 the world was still in an era known at the Cold War. Suspense hung in the air as I finished an undergraduate degree with distinction in modern history and politics from Lake Forest College.

Intrigued by the post Second World War world order I wanted to better understand the story of European economic and political integration as a bulwark against the Eastern Bloc. The then European Economic Community (EEC) was evolving into its current incarnation as the European Union (EU). This supranational body was full of stories of member states competing and cooperating to build a better Europe. The University’s Europa Institute was the best place in the English speaking world to pursue my interest in this subject. My future academic path appeared clear as I engaged in this program with students from all over the world.

At the end of 1989 this illusion was shattered when the Berlin Wall came down and some of the German students in it left for a few days to join the festivities in this no longer divided city. No one had anticipated the end of the Cold War at that moment. It had taken us all by surprise and led me to accept that history, like life, is uncertain and that we must learn to adapt to whatever changed circumstances confront us.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

Storytelling is partly learning about what one doesn’t understand or envisage and coming to terms with whatever it is (like my university studies that changed gears when I least expected it).

As a writer and filmmaker, I have been drawn to making dramas and documentaries that make me aware of the whimsicality of life and the myths we build to sustain ourselves in adversity and gives us hope.

A place associated with such writers as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Muriel Spark and many others had a strong appeal.

Chris Ban

As a Canadian I was drawn to the story of Canada’s wordiest landmark, a Toronto sixties coffeehouse known as the Bohemian Embassy. This legendary place was where Margaret Atwood, Gordon Lightfoot and many others got their start.

In 2010 I came out with my first feature length documentary, Behind the Bohemian Embassy, which was the Globe and Mail’s pick of the week when it was broadcast on Canada’s Bravo.

Alumni wisdom

As long as you remain true to your inner convictions, and listen with respect to others, your imagination can adapt to whatever circumstances that you come up against in life.