Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas tackles out-of-view topics at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This article is from 2014

*4cabaret Of Dangerous Ideas

The programme of talks and debates cover GM food, women in science and sex-selective abortions

Between this and the early-afternoon Scottish Independence talk show All Back to Bowie’s, the Stand in the Square is doing a good job of cornering the festival’s debating heart this year. Self-described as ‘debate, discussion and discourse in the company of some of the fiercest intellectuals Scotland has to offer’, the Cabaret is curated by the Beltane public engagement network and features contributors from all of the city’s universities, as well as researchers from other walks of life.

Although it makes a good attention-grabbing headline, the ideas here aren’t so much dangerous as simply out of view, focusing on topics which the mainstream might not have otherwise chosen to debate. Any yes, there are a few views which might be regarded as opposing those which more regularly appear as received wisdom. For example, ‘Are We Wasting Your Data?’ (Wed 20) posits that fewer restrictions on the sharing of personal data might have great benefits, including in the realm of healthcare. Elsewhere, ‘We’d Eat GM Meat – Would You?’ (Sun 24) puts the case for genetic modification.

Happening every afternoon daily, there are no talks here which don’t promise to be hugely educational and thought-provoking. ‘Keep the Kids Out!’ (Sat 16) wonders whether children are a nuisance in public spaces or whether they should be designed with them in mind, while ‘Women! Science is Not for You!’ (Thu 14) looks at why women appear to be deserting the discipline. ‘Sex-Selective Abortions – Behind the Headlines’ (Thu 21), meanwhile, promises to be one of the more delicate subjects discussed.

The Stand in the Square, until Mon 25 Aug.

Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas

Some of Scotland’s finest minds invite you to share your opinions about their most controversial research. Covering the effects of Scottish independence on our health, jobs for people on benefits, and more.