The University at the festivals

As the spotlight falls on Edinburgh this August, the University is at the heart of one of the world’s biggest cultural gatherings.

George Square during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

George Square and New College are transformed into vibrant venues, bars and eateries - placing the University firmly at the centre of the festival.

A special relationship

The University is an official partner of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).

Academics work closely with organisers of both festivals to curate events, deliver talks, organise workshops and debates.

They also provide research to projects people may not otherwise be aware of.

Academics are also involved in a number of events in the Festival Fringe, Art Festival, Just Festival and Festival of Politics.

Festivals website

Discover more about our ties to the festivals and University-led events.

Festivals website

Culture and conflict

The theme of culture and conflict runs throughout EIF and a number of Edinburgh academics will explore this topic during a number University lectures.

Randall Stevenson, Professor of 20th Century Literature, will lead a discussion on how war influenced the course of poetry, theatre and fiction throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Charlie Jeffery, Director of the Centre for Cultural Relations, will lead a panel discussion on the cultural impact of war.

Elsewhere Professor Christine Bell will discuss the ways the law can be used as a tool for resolving contemporary conflicts.

The Alwaleed Centre for the study of Islam and Islamic Culture is also holding an event at the International Book Festival. Journalist Justin Marozzi will examine why the Iraqi capital of Baghdad has slid into violence.

From Ancient Capital to War Zone takes place on Friday 15 August.

Professor Sir Tom Devine will also deliver two talks at the Book Festival as part of the Scotland’s Future Series.

The Darien Disaster will explore the failure to establish a Scottish colony on the Isthmus of Panama a few years before the Union, while Dialogue 13 will ask whether the end of the British Empire is linked to Scottish nationalism.

Sir Tom will also host an event with First Minister Alex Salmond at the Book Festival, where they will discuss Scotland's journey towards the independence referendum.

Esteemed awards

The James Tait Black Prizes will be also awarded throughout August.

As Britain’s oldest prize for fiction and non-fiction, the literary award ceremony has been the cornerstone of the University’s relationship with the Book Festival for many years.

For a second year, the James Tait Black Prize for Drama will be awarded in Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre. National Theatre of Scotland will perform extracts of three shortlisted plays and the winner will be revealed on the night.

Students’ work on show

Students are involved in the festivals in a variety of ways.

As part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Masters Degree Show at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) will display work from graduating MA and MSc students.

The exhibition includes sculpture, painting, illustration and product design - all on show in ECA’s Main Building on Lauriston Campus from 16 August.

For a second year, students at the University will work with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as part of the Oxygen Series at the Fringe.

They will perform a dance piece called The Heavenly View, inspired by Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.

Summer School

The University is collaborating with the EIF and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to run a new summer course for budding arts entrepreneurs.

Participants of the five-day course will take part in workshops, observe festival events and receive expert advice from key figures in the arts, including EIF Director Jonathan Mills.

Academics at the Fringe

University academics are engaging with the public in a number of creative ways during this year’s Festival Fringe.

Dr Rob McIntosh is working with Robert Newport from the University of Nottingham to hold an interactive show called Bizarre Bodies in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre on 7 and 8 August.

Working with Psychology students, they will demonstrate the science of bodily illusions with a machine that appears to manipulate and distort the body.

The exhibition will then be housed permanently in Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura.

The Business School is also hosting Media Series at the Fringe.

Professor Chris Carter will interview six influential figures in the media, discussing topics such as the Levenson Inquiry and the role of political journalism.

Dangerous ideas discussed

Academics will also be discussing some controversial topics during a series of public talks in St Andrew Square from 1-26 August.

Issues covered in the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas include the criminal justice system, prescriptions for sunbeds and access to the internet as a human right.