Staff news

Debating ‘dangerous’ ideas

More than 20 University academics are to present shows about their "dangerous ideas" at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas is billed as "debate, discussion and discourse in the company of some of the fiercest intellects Scotland has to offer - in a yurt".

Spanning 24 performances in August, the Cabaret will feature Edinburgh academics as well as staff from Heriot-Watt, Napier and St Andrews universities and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Pressing issues

The shows, introduced and hosted by comedian Susan Morrison, will be written and presented by the academics, who will discuss provocative ideas connected to their research and invite the audience to voice their opinions.

For example, Professor Michael Fourman of the School of Informatics will present a show entitled "The Internet - A Human Right?", while Professor Lesley McAra, Head of the School of Law, will encourage her audience to "Hug a thug" in a show about crime and punishment.

Engaging in public debate about some of the most pressing issues of our times is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I expect that 'Hug a Thug' will lead to intensive and possibly acrimonious debate. However, if academics are not prepared to engage in public debate about what is right and just, then we have failed in our public duty.

Lesley McAraHead of the School of Law


In this short video, comedian Susan Morrison discusses the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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Public engagement

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas is organised by Beltane Public Engagement Network, a collaboration between Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Napier and Queen Margaret universities, based at Edinburgh's Institute for Academic Development.

Event details

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas

No performance on 13 August. Tickets cost £5.

Friday 1 August 2014, 3.30pm

Monday 25 August 2014, 4.30pm

Yurt, The Stand in the Square, St Andrew Square (Fringe Venue 372)

Buy tickets on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website