Have you heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Try to imagine an explosion of creative energy from around the globe! The good news is that the MCAA will be there this summer and needs creative people like you! Valentina Ferro, MCAA Vice-Chair, has the lowdown.
Edinburgh is a magical city, with its castles, evergreen meadows, and hidden courtyards. But it is during August that this place really flourishes: this is when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival takes place, the world’s largest art festival. The Fringe lasts for about 25 days and hosts more than 50 000 artists performing in more the 300 venues around the city. There is something for everyone: from live music and dance to start-up comedy, and from improvisation to drama and physical theatre. The population of Edinburgh doubles and the city is splashed with colour and joyfulness; the atmosphere is multicultural, and visitors are intrigued and surprised in equal measure.
Having lived in Edinburgh for the last four years, I have noticed an increasing interest in shows about research and academia. Scientists on stage communicate about their research in a funny and engaging way and academics share their stories of struggle and success. For this reason, the Fringe represents a great opportunity for every researcher with a passion for outreach, and a career boost for those already working in science communication. Furthermore, the Fringe represents a great opportunity for MCAA members.
One common trait among Marie Curie Alumni is an interest in communication and dissemination, whether they want to learn more or are already experienced performers. It seems only logical to propose the most popular stage in Europe. For the Fringe 2018, the Communication WG is planning five performances in the second week of August, allowing a maximum of 15 members to take to the stage for between 10 and 15 minutes. Accommodation will be provided for the performance days. If you play an instrument, if you like to tell jokes using a mike, if you know a good experiment to perform on stage, send us an e-mail for more information: email@example.com.
Most importantly, if you too believe that “science has great beauty”, as Marie Curie did, wouldn’t you want to share it with the whole world?
More information about the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival Interested? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year the March for Science represented one the largest mobilisations of scientists in history as over one million people are estimated to have marched in over 600 locations across the world. The movement started in the United States, where concerns about the scientific policies of Donald Trump provided the impetus. The choice of World Earth Day on 22 April was symbolic following the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement and major cuts in funding to numerous agencies with scientific roles, including the Environmental Protection Agency. After the March in Washington was announced, events were quickly initiated worldwide, including many with the involvement of MCAA members. The marches highlighted a series of issues, including failures in evidence-based policy-making,cuts in research funding, impingements on academic freedom, and an increasingly post-factual media. The outgoing MCAA Chair Brian Cahill recently wrote about his experience and motivations for getting involved in the March in Göttingen in a blog for Euroscientist. He outlined the case of an Iranian MCAA member who was unable to give a scientific talk due to the travel ban imposed by the Trump administration, clearly opposing the values of the association as a mobile community of global researchers. He concluded by stating that he has “become convinced that
researchers must become more active in defending fact-based policy- making”. This year the March for Science will take place on 14 April and MCAA members are active once again, involved in many of the more than 70 satellite events that have already been announced. Whilst the overall number of events and attendance may be lower this year, the long-term impact of the March for Science may be the connection of likeminded people in clusters across the world who are now organising more sustained and targeted efforts to involve science in policy-making. For example, in July the Keep On Marching event in Berlin united March for Science organisers from numerous locations in Europe. They discussed ongoing projects, including the Science- O-Mat, a project that defined the position of the main German political parties on scientific issues before the national election. The movement has given a platform and a voice to researchers, leading to heightened political awareness of scientists across the world. This voice can be vital in times of political uncertainty.