Usher Institute

Fringe Festival Highlights

August in Edinburgh saw the return of the summer festival season, and all the colour and creativity that it brings.

Several members of the Usher Institute contributed shows as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas – an excellent programme of events organised by the Beltane Network.

Dr Google Will See You Now

Mhairi Aitken’s excellent show ‘Dr Google Will See You Now’, explores the world of big data - the potential benefits, challenging audience perceptions and encouraging us all to think about the data that there is about us in the world and how it could be harnessed.

The show was filmed by the BBC, and followed by an interview with Nish Kumar.

If you missed it, catch up on BBC iPlayer until 23 September 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful

Mhairi Aitken also joined Ed Miliband and  Geoff Lloyd to explore how Big Data Can Improve Your Health - available as a podcast.

Listen again to Ed Miliband’s Reasons to be Cheerful podcast

The Naked Blind Data Show

Sarah Chan and Lee Baylis earned a ‘Highly Recommended’ in Fringe Review for ‘The Naked Blind Data Show’.

Read the Finge Review for the Naked Blind Show

"Do you want to reveal yourself to the world? Does your data show more than you think? To whom? We think our personal information is private. But should it be? New laws seek to protect data privacy rights – even as Facebook and Google collect our information. Who really owns your data? Is the only solution to leave the internet? Join Dr Sarah Chan (The University of Edinburgh) and Dr Lee Baylis (JISC) to ask what happens when data takes on a life of its own…"

Never Say Die

Professor Scott Murray returned for a discussion with The Pet Loss Vet, Dr Caroline Hewson, about death and dying.

"From hospice care to funeral plans, talk of death is becoming mainstream. But some questions remain taboo, like:

  • What frightens you most about dying?
  • What happens on the road to death?

Other animals don’t have those anxieties. And doctors and vets certainly don’t have all the answers. They simply accompany patients and caregivers facing the last frontier—and it gives many of them food for thought. Join palliative care doctor Professor Scott Murray (The University of Edinburgh) and Dr Caroline Hewson (The Pet Loss Vet) to ponder the art of us all dying well."

Listening To The Public Is Dangerous

Public Engagement Research Fellow, Carol Porteous, took to the stage.

“The public actively engage in decision-making processes, from referendums and elections to choosing singing contest winners. Often the results of these are contested and debated, and questions arise over whether the public made the right decision. Why, then, do researchers engage the public in their research and what could you bring to health and social science research? Join researcher Carol Porteous (The University of Edinburgh) to explore why researchers all across the UK are actively encouraging the public to engage with health and social science research and discover what this means for society."


Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas – Beltane Network

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CODI) is a well-established annual feature in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Look out for next year’s programme for what will no doubt be another stella lineup.

Find out more about the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas on the Beltane Network website.