Professor Charlie Jeffrey
Professor Charlie Jeffrey explains why Independence was the main focus at the 2013 Festival of Politics and Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Professor Jeffery says that he and colleagues in Politics have been involved in the Festival of Politics over the last few years and are also involved in the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year.
They have played a key role in a debate at the Book Festival about independence which will be chaired by television presenter, Kirsty Wark.
The debate will feature representatives from the ‘yes’ and ‘better together’ campaign as well as University academic, Tom Devine.
Academics from the University will brief the audience before the debate and seats have been set aside for 50 school children. As the voting franchise has been extended next year, Professor Jeffery said they were keen to ensure 15 and 16 year-olds who will be able to vote in next year’s referendum, had a voice in the debate.
Professor Jeffery goes on to say that he believes academics are performing a public duty by engaging their research to those that don’t always hear about it. He feels there is an onus on him and colleagues to share their research with a wider audience.
He also thinks that it is very good for the University to have an active voice in the festivals.
The festivals are one of biggest cultural gatherings in the world and visited by people from all over the world. As University sees itself as an international institution, it is crucial to engage an international audience.
Professor Jeffery goes on to highlight that this year is especially critical due to the upcoming Scottish referendum. All of Politics academics appearances at the festivals this year are linked to the referendum - Professor Jeffery believes they are helping to illuminate what is for the people of Scotland a fundamental choice next year.