Tag Archives: science art collaboration

Edinburgh: A Never Ending Festival – Lively Gardens

24 Aug


It’s that time of year again when we say goodbye to the patchwork of artists, actors, comedians, performers, and patrons that descends upon Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival every August. But just because the official festival season has ended does not mean the fun has to end…

My name is André, and I’ll be joining Blythe as Global Assistant this year. Originally born in Germany, I am Portuguese, Irish, and Canadian, and am in the 5th and final year of my MEng in Mechanical Engineering. I’ve definitely got the travel bug and I took the chance to go on exchange to Carleton University in Canada, having an absolute blast while out there. I’m a keen golfer, cook, and photographer (although an amateur at all of these).

Blythe and I will be showing you how Edinburgh is a year round festival of culture, on and off campus. Whether you’re into music, theatre, photography, food, sports, or even air shows, we’ll be keeping you up to date with all the exciting stuff going on in Scotland’s vibrant capital year round.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are just a pleasant 20 min walk from Princes Street, and apart from housing a diverse collection of flora from around the world, they also play host to a wide range of special events, exhibitions, and workshops for all! Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about watching the grass grow, far from it they host photography exhibitions, cooking workshops, arts festivals, and even tours, as well as gardening classes for those who’ve always wanted to grow their own dinner.

There are events held year round, and the best part is many of them are free. You can browse through the full schedule here: Royal Botanic Garden Events.


Internationalisation is interdisciplinary

2 Jul


In my quest to discover what internationalisation means to our university community, I recently met James Howie from ASCUS for pint at their home in Summerhall. Founded back in 2008, ASCUS partially abbreviates Art Science Collaborative.  Also – an ascus is an organ in lichen – itself a structure formed by a symbiosis of organisms from two very different kingdoms (fungi and plants), just as ASCUS is a symbiosis of artists and scientists. Even better – in lichen, the ascus is the place where spores are produced which then colonise new, barren areas of the world.

James and his team are cool. They reach out to the community, they seek to change the silo-ed way in which higher education institutions often work, and support interested individuals in their art/science journey.

At the recent TEDx University of Edinburgh screening of the TED Global conference, they worked their (e)laborate magic with the audience to generate poetry from science talks.


The more James talked, the more I understood a small aspect of internationalisation.  It’s not only about learning and teaching but the flow of ideas, passion, and support to realise those ideas.  It’s about the University as a space to try new things and see if they work (in a lab and beyond).  We have students and staff from all over the world – think of all the perspectives, solutions, and energy brewing within our classrooms? I suppose it’s a bit like the lichen – bringing together a range of skills, different brains, and loads ideas from different kingdoms to change how we look at the world.