University at heart of festivals

The University is playing a starring role throughout the Edinburgh festivals this August.

Festival events with University involvement include an awe-inspiring opening concert, talks from world-renowned political figures and debut plays written by students. There will also lively debates with academics and an exhibition on Dolly the sheep.

Many of the University’s buildings and outdoor spaces will be transformed into performance spaces and eateries for festival-goers to enjoy.

Festival events

Find out more about University festival events taking place throughout August.

Festivals website

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This short video showcases our involvement in the festivals:

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The Harmonium Project

Photo of The Harmonium Project at the Usher Hall

The University has partnered with the Edinburgh International Festival to open the August festivals in spectacular style.

One of the most ambitious arts initiatives of 2015, The Harmonium Project is a huge sound and light event, taking place outside the Usher Hall on the evening of Friday 7 August.

Celebrating 50 years of the Edinburgh International Choir, the free outdoor event also showcases exciting aspects of the University’s work in design informatics.

Academics from The Centre for Design Informatics worked closely with the chorus to generate and capture data that will be used to programme the opening concert’s dramatic light show.

International Book Festival

The University is a major sponsor of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, with a number of thought-provoking sessions featured in this year’s programme.

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson will deliver a key-note speech on his life campaigning for black rights. The University will present Mr Jackson with an Honorary Degree at the end of his talk.

The event is delivered in association with the Global Justice Academy and is currently sold out.

The Alwaleed Centre celebrates the ancient craft of calligraphy at an event with Chinese-Muslim artist, Haji Noor Deen - known as one of the greatest living masters of the Islamic artform.

Ukraine is in the spotlight at a debate with journalist Peter Pomerantsev and Luke March from the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre. They will discuss the changing relationship between Europe and Russia.

James Tait Black Prizes

The Book Festival is also home to a glittering book awards ceremony - the James Tait Black Prizes, the UK’s oldest book awards.

The prizes are judged by academics and students from English Literature and the winner of the Fiction and Biography categories are revealed on the night by news presenter and alumna Sally Magnusson.

The James Tait Black Prize for Drama was launched in 2012. Celebrating new writing in theatre, it will be awarded this year at The Traverse, in association with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland.

Festival insights

The University works closely with the Edinburgh International Festival to curate a series of talks that offer insight into key events in the programme.

Professor Olga Taxidou will examine the significance of the Greek tragedy Antigone - one of this year’s hotly anticipated performances - at a discussion on 7 August.

Renowned art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon joins Professor Penny Fielding and Professor Randall Stevenson to discuss the significance of the supernatural in Scottish literature on 17 August.

Particular reference is paid to the 2015 productions of Graham Eatough and David Greig’s Lanark and Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Fringe benefits

Many academics and students take the opportunity to curate events and take part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas will see academics tackle contentious topics - such as self-image in fashion and the use of sunbeds - in front of an audience at the Stand in the Square venue on George Street.

Dr Laura Bradley’s research on East German theatre censorship features in a new play by Peter Arnott, Who’s Watching Who takes place on 12 August at 50 George Square.

The University’s Main Library will also host an exhibition showcasing the research behind the creation of Dolly the Sheep at the Roslin Institute.

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, and MP Alan Johnson are among the public figures delivering talks at the Business School's Media Series at the Fringe.

Visually arresting

The University will once again play a key part in the Edinburgh Art Festival, the UK’s biggest annual festival of visual art.

The University’s Talbot Rice Gallery will host the first Scottish exhibition of one of the most intriguing artists of the last century, Hanne Darboven (1941-2009).

Part of a generation who challenged the way that art was made, Darboven created a vast body of idiosyncratic works, documenting her attempt to index life. accepting anything among everything features a monumental installation of hundreds of framed works that form a systematic representation of the whole 20th century.

At Edinburgh College of Art, the Masters Degree Show will showcase work by 130 postgraduate students from the Reid School of Music, School of Art, School of Design, and the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.