Festivals, Cultural and City Events


Collection of articles from the 2019 festivals season detailing events in which the University was involved.

A Big Festival Thank You

​​​​​​​Now that the summer festival season has drawn to a close, we would like to take the time to thank those who have made 2019 such a success and revisit some of the University’s festival highlights.

Come On In, The Doors Are Open

Doors Open Days, Scotland’s largest free festival, celebrates heritage and the built environment. Every September, thousands of buildings are opened up to the public for an exclusive peek inside. The festival aims to ensure that Scotland’s built heritage – so important to Scottish identity and its conservation - is made accessible to people living and visiting the country, with over 6300 volunteers giving their time to run tours and activities and steward sites in 2018.

Power, Gender and the Arts: Exploring Woke Fantasies at Edinburgh's Festivals

For the second year running, the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) hosted their event Power, Gender and the Arts. Billed as ‘a morning of provocation and discussion’ in a cross-festival conversation, the two hours at The Lyceum saw Lucy Kerbel, Founder and Director of Tonic, chair a panel including Catherine Mayer, Alicia Adams, Nadine Benjamin, Ifeoma Fafunwa and Emma Gladstone to discuss the state of gender equality in the arts.

A Catwalk Sent From Shanghai With Love

For the third year running, the Playfair Library will be home to the fashion show and exhibition From Shanghai with Love, offering a discovery of elegant, enduring and electrifying Qipao fashion on a journey along the Silk Road through the ages and into the future. The event marks and celebrates the partnership between the University’s Confucius Institute for Scotland with Donghua University’s Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation – known collectively as the Donghua Edinburgh Centre for Creative Industries.

Sally MacAlister on She Can't Half Talk

Bedlam Fringe's 2019 programme is host to a diverse collection of emerging creatives at the early stages of their artistic career. One such talent is Writer and Director Sally MacAlister, a student at the University, who is bringing She Can't Half Talk to the festival after a successful term-time run at Bedlam Theatre.

Tinderbox Spark A Fiery Performance

Founded in 2010, the Tinderbox Collective is a diverse collection of young people, musicians, artists, youth workers, community activists and volunteers offering a revolutionary approach to orchestras, youth work and creative learning for young people in Edinburgh. In 2018, the charity were granted funding by the University’s Community Grants scheme. We spoke to Jack Nissan, Director of Tinderbox Collective and Erin McGonigle, a member of the orchestra about the benefits of the University's support, their festival performances and what it means to be a part of such a dynamic and exciting group of talent.

Bringing Academic Research to the Book Festival Bookshelf - with Dr Talat Ahmed

Dr Talat Ahmed is a lecturer in South Asian History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, co-director of the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Talat's latest publication, Mohandas Gandhi: Experiments in Civil Disobedience, asks whether Gandhi’s non-violent approach was as successful as we imagine it to be, and examines how useful this might be in repairing rifts today.

Playwright Nicola McCartney on How Not to Drown and the James Tait Black Prize for Drama

Nicola McCartney is an award winning playwright, director and dramaturg, with past plays including Easy, Heritage, Cave Dwellers and Lifeboat. At the University, McCartney is a Reader in Writing for Performance and Programme Director of the Masters programme in Playwriting, as well as running the James Tait Black Prize for Drama. Her latest work, How Not to Drown – written with Dritan Kastrati - is showing at the Traverse Theatre as a part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. On Friday, it was awarded a Fringe First award in recognition of outstanding new writing at the Festival.

A Data Play-Ground

The Design Informatics Pavilion is a public pop-up exhibition space featuring a range of objects and experiences that invite you to step into the future. We took a tour of the exhibition with Jane Macdonald, Research & Projects Coordinator for Design Informatics, to get the lowdown.

Oor Wullie turns Detective in Old College's Quad

Over the last few weeks, you might have spotted one of the 60 life-sized Oor Wullie sculptures positioned around the city as part of Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail. Ian Rankin, Edinburgh’s local crime fiction writer, came to visit one such sculpture that he helped to co-create - situated in our very own Old College quad.

Prize Partnership Celebrates Best of Fringe

The University is now the official partner of a major Edinburgh Festival Fringe prize.

A Director's Take - Chagos 1971

Following shows such as Mack The Knife in 2017 and last year's Technicolor, Black Bat Productions are back at the Festival Fringe with a new show. Chagos 1971 is a biting political comedy surrounding an unbelievable decision made in the Foreign Office in April 1971. Written and directed by recently graduated student Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller, and starring University students past and present, the show will be performed throughout August at the ZOO Playground in the University's High School Yards. We spoke to Nathaniel about his latest production.

A Night at the Cabaret... of Dangerous Ideas (CoDI)

Combining a mixing pot of intellectual spoils with a chance for unbridled audience participation and a large dose of outlandish entertainment, this year’s Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CoDI) will provide many exciting evenings at The Strand’s New Town Theatre. Across a large array of performances, CoDI provides a setting for hidden and controversial research to be discussed and debated in a very different format to a typical lecture – and the opportunity to present this research to more eclectic audiences. Many of CoDI’s performers come from the large pool of intellectual talent notable at the University, as well as from other organisations and universities across the City. Following their role in the July Previews, we spoke to three University academics about their research and experience of the events.

What Went On: Science on a Summer's Evening

Earlier this month, the College of Science and Engineering hosted their annual event, Science on a Summer's Evening. Held at King's Buildings, the session included talks from Dr David Rush and Professor Evelyn Telfer, as well as hands-on science activities. We caught up with Engagement Manager, Stuart Dunbar, to hear more about how they got on.

Festival Fringe - Sustainability Hub

Within the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Kerry Cheek, Projects Coordinator of Sustainability & Festivals, has been working hard to coordinate the Sustainability Hub at this year's Festival Fringe. We speak to her, with just over a week to go before opening, about the department's ambitious quest to make the Festival Fringe a more sustainable place for everyone involved.

Whose Turn Is it Anyway?

When flicking through the Edinburgh Science Festival brochure, we always take particular interest, in the impressive input from the University of Edinburgh. The university produces talks, interactive events and drop in sessions of all kinds. And this year, we happened upon a play called ‘It’s My Turn!’– a unique addition to the Science Festival that sounded fascinating so we wanted to find out more.

The Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science

This year’s Tam Dalyell Prize will be awarded to Dr Steve Brusatte, the Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaeontology at Edinburgh University.

Family Festivities

The University of Edinburgh’s family programme for the Edinburgh Science Festival is returning to the National Museum of Edinburgh from the 6th – 20th April. Dr Janet Paterson of the University’s School of Biological Sciences has been running the programme for over a decade and it is always a huge success.