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Festivals put students in spotlight

Students are to play a starring role at the Edinburgh Festivals this August.

Edinburgh College of Art students will showcase their work at the Masters Degree Show, part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Running from 13 - 27 August, visitors to the ECA Main Building can view a range of postgraduate work, including vivid illustrations, inventive product designs and intricate architectural models.

Many student societies have produced plays, musicals and comedy sketches as part of the Festival Fringe.

Work created by ECA student Felicity Bristow
Work created by ECA student Felicity Bristow

Digital showcase

Students and staff are also working together as part of the inaugural Digital Entertainment Festival – a new programme in the Festival Fringe that explores how the arts intersect with cutting-edge technology.  

Design Informatics students and researchers will exhibit designs centred on the theme Living with Data. The work will be on show in a specially commissioned structure on George Street from 4 – 28 August.

Visitors can experience technology that allows you to get married for five minutes, have a cup of tea using a bitcoin coffee machine and try out intelligent furniture.

As part of the Digital Entertainment Festival, PhD student Pete Furniss will perform an atm

ospheric clarinet solo, honouring the work of Pierre Boulez, a contemporary composer who died in 2016.

During the piece, the live clarinet will be interspersed with pre-recorded sounds and visually arresting effects.

Academic insight

Themes such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) and conflict resolution will be under the spotlight as a number of academics take part in the Festival of Politics

Law Professor Burkhard Schafer will join a panel debating whether A.I. will cause unemployment, while Professor Laura Cram will explore how neuroscience can aid peace talks.

Technology’s impact on the brain is the topic at an event Professor Catharine Ward Thompson, Director of OPENspace research centre, is taking part in.

Professor Lesley Yellowlees will also discuss the advancement of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Elsewhere, Professor Ailsa Henderson joins a panel analysing the strengths and weakneses of polling opinion research.

Academics also be sparking debates throughout the Festival Fringe at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, held daily in Saint Andrew Square.

Some me of the provocative topics include whether we should have zoos, the merits of using plastic and the use of antibiotics.

Light show

The University also partnered with the Edinburgh International Festival for its spectacular opening event.

The show celebrated the findings of Edinburgh alumnus and Enlightenment figure, James Hutton. His theory of deep time shattered conventional thinking that Earth was thousands – rather than millions – of years old.

Researchers from science, arts and humanities have lent their expertise to help tell the story of the earth and the ideas behind Hutton’s world-changing theory.       

Deep Time podcast

Listen to top academics explain the history and theories behind Deep Time:

The Big Idea podcast

Win tickets

To celebrate the University’s many links with the festivals, a number of competitions have been organised.

Visitors, residents, staff and students are being asked to share pictures of their festival experience using hashtag #heartedfest for the chance to win tickets and other prizes and to access exclusive events.

Visit the festivals website for more information and terms and conditions.

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