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Social and Educational Foraging and Gleaning: Only free open access events and activities get listed on the website…


Click on the event to get more information.  If you have an event or activity in Edinburgh which you want to put on the calendar email in the details.


Please check external event websites to confirm details and get tickets


Tackling climate change: the role of universities after Paris
Jan 31 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Tackling climate change: the role of universities after Paris @ Scotland | United Kingdom

This event will explore the role of universities in tackling climate change, following the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement.

A panel of key stakeholders from across the higher education will be asked to consider:

  • Actions that universities can take across learning and teaching, research, and operations
  • Responsibility of universities to ‘lead by example’, and the impact they can have on policy and wider society
  • Challenges the sector is likely to face

Speakers include:

  • Iain Patton, Chief Executive, Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges (EAUC)
  • Dr Isla Myers-Smith, Chancellor’s Fellow, Global Change Research Group, School of GeoSciences
  • Jamie Agombar, Head of Sustainability, National Union of Students (NUS)
  • Mike Elm, Vice Chair, 2050 Group
  • Dave Gorman, Director, Department for Social Responsibility & Sustainability, University of Edinburgh (chair)

The event is part of the Visions for Change Lecture series.

Gender, mental health and disability rights in Asia @ 6th Floor Staff Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building
Mar 2 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Gender, mental health and disability rights in Asia @ 6th Floor Staff Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building | Scotland | United Kingdom

The seminar is about the linkages between Gender, disability rights and Mental health, from the point of view of low income communities; and drawing from advocacy experiences in Asia and program experiences in Pune, India. The Seminar is informed by developments in gender studies, disability studies, mad studies to set the scene for emerging questions. The disability movement since a decade, has been guided by the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities), which is hailed as the first treatise of the Millennium.

The Convention opened up the possibilities of a ‘paradigm shift’ in conceptualizing disabilities and recasting practices: Recognition of the experience of marginalization, and an unconditional policy shift towards inclusion of persons with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities are expected to happen, under this new international policy frame.

Those traditional identity mantles of ‘user survivor’, ‘consumer’, ‘mentally ill’, etc. are being contested by disabled people’s voices from the global south, as an indicator of over-medicalization and not as an indicator of political resistance. The first part of the seminar will focus on the normative challenges and opportunities found in present times, in Asia, for developing inclusive communities; and lessons learnt from various initiatives (both programmatic and advocacial) including the work we are doing in the Bapu Trust.


Bhargavi V Davar is a childhood survivor of the Indian mental asylums, being exposed to a variety of them for years in early childhood. Compelled by those early experiences, she completed her PhD in1993, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai on the ethical and epistemological foundations of the mental and behavioural sciences. Through her early years, she studied theories of freedom and consciousness, human physiology, psychology, buddhism, ‘anti-psychiatry’, and the philosophies of social sciences. Her research has been on gender, culture and disability studies, and making sense of modern mental health policy frames in India and Asia.

The impact of colonialism on mental health systems in post colonial times, in India, is also a big area of research interest. She has published works, including (co-author) Psychoanalysis as a Human Science (Sage, 1995); Mental health of Indian women (Sage, 1999); (ed.) Mental health from a gender perspective (Sage, 2001); Gendering mental healthKnowledges, identities, institutions (OUP, 2015). She is Director of the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind & Discourse, Pune; and Convenor for an Asia advocacy platform, called ‘Transforming Communities for Inclusion, Asia’ [TCI Asia]. She is a practising Arts Based Therapist and teacher; an international certified trainer of the UNCRPD; and an organic farmer. She lives with her daughter in Pune, India.

Ragged University: ‘Historical Manchester Sounds’ plus ‘Psychology of Dehumanization’ @ The Castle Hotel (
Jun 26 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Ragged University: 'Historical Manchester Sounds' plus 'Psychology of Dehumanization' @ The Castle Hotel ( | England | United Kingdom

Come along to The Castle Hotel for a bite of food, a chance to socialise and a couple of talks as well as a chance to socialise…

Manchester Sound(s); Silent Notes From the Past by Dominique Tessier

Following on from my Ragged talk on Manchester History where I explored the Mancunian branches of ex-Prime Minister David Cameron’s family tree, I’m turning my local history attentions to a musical history of Manchester, reflecting on the roots and compositions of Manchester Sound(s) and the silent notes of the past..


In the break there is some food provided and everyone is welcome to bring along an item of food to put on the table to share, and also take away what they will eat at the end. 

The Psychology of Dehumanization by Alex Dunedin

How much we relate to others as human defines how we interact with the social world and what opportunities are conferred on us.  How human we appear in the eyes of others dictates how we will be treated.  When people are stripped of being perceived as human hurt and harm is visited upon them.  At the extreme end of dehumanization behaviours we find the unspeakable atrocities of genocide where groups of people have been devalued.

Prejudices take root in apathies, and it seems that simple apathy can be enough to manifest behaviours which dementalize and depersonalize individuals.  The psychology of dehumanization is related to how we encounter the world through our experience and our senses.  Sometimes it takes as little as a question to cause someone to completely re-adjust their perception of a group of people.  This is very positive when we think of the worrying things which can come about if such ignorance is left unchecked.




Click Here To Join The Meetup Group

All are welcome and it is free

Ragged University: Music, Mathematics and the Harmony of the Spheres by Hugh Peters @ The Castle Hotel
Jun 5 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Ragged University: Music, Mathematics and the Harmony of the Spheres by Hugh Peters @ The Castle Hotel

You are invited to the open event at The Castle Hotel  (66 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LE) on the 5th June 2018 from 7pm to 10pm to enjoy a talk, some food and some music.  It is an open door event, no tickets required; just come along, put your feet up and bring your friends.  Hugh Peters will be taking us on a journey through the history of music…


Music, mathematics and the harmony of the spheres by Hugh Peters

The Scientific Revolution, occurring in very broad terms between 1550 and 1750, is generally regarded as leading to the replacement of ‘magical thinking’ by the ‘scientific method’. This can however be seen as a much more ambivalent process, in which beliefs fluctuated and co-existed with each other, even in the minds of major scientists such as Newton and Hooke. Both these thinkers were profoundly influenced by the traditions of alchemy, astrology and the idea of sympathetic resonances throughout nature.

While mathematics certainly came to the fore in this period as the ‘language’ of science, this happened partly because of the ‘mystical’ belief persisting from the time of Pythagoras that numbers underlay the structure of everything in the cosmos. Further, music, in the form of ‘harmonic theory’, was a major factor in both practical investigations of and theorising about matter and material phenomena.

In this entertaining and non-technical talk, Hugh Peters explores 16th and 17th century thought, drawing on the work of Newton, Hooke and others and addresses the subjects of the ‘music of the spheres’ and the origins of Newton’s Principia. The speaker is an accomplished musician and will illustrate some of the concepts on the classical guitar.



The talk will cover:

  • The transition from ‘magical thinking’ to ‘empirical science’ 16th to 18th centuries.
  • The role of ‘harmonic theory’ in stimulating scientific practice and theory.
  • How innovation in music paralleled scientific developments.
  • How tuning and temperament, harmony and dissonance work.
  • Major scientists like Newton and Hooke dallied with music, and magical thinking informed Newton’s magnum opus, the Principia Mathematica.


A few paragraphs about Hugh:

I am a musician and mathematician who has worked for some time in community arts, further and higher education and as a gigging musician in the northwest of England. I am based in Manchester. I have performed with my own projects at the Manchester Jazz Festival in 2010 and 2016, the latter project being called Zamani. I currently work as an academic support tutor in the school of computing and engineering at the University of Huddersfield.

My interests include many kinds of music, the arts in general and science past, present and future. I am very interested in the common ground between artists and scientists in terms of observing nature accurately and applying creativity to what we observe. I am interested in promoting better public understanding of science in general and awareness of climate change in particular.

I am an experienced guitarist in various styles, especially classical guitar and jazz. Favourite guitarists include Julian Bream, George Benson, Pat Metheny and Jonathan Butler. I also play electric bass and piano. I compose music which combines elements of jazz, contemporary African influences and orchestral music.



Opening Talk: Rembrandt; Britain’s Discovery of the Master @ Hawthornden Lecture Theatre
Jul 6 @ 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm
Opening Talk: Rembrandt; Britain's Discovery of the Master @ Hawthornden Lecture Theatre

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606–1669), who spent his entire career as a painter, draughtsman and printmaker in the Dutch Republic, enjoyed considerable fame beyond his home country and throughout Europe during his lifetime and has continued to ever since. In recent decades, his imagery has become ubiquitous, making him a global brand like few other artists in history. Tico Seifert, curator of Rembrandt – Britain’s Discovery of the Master will introduce the exceptionally rich story of Rembrandt’s art in Britain, and of how it inspired collectors, artists and writers from about 1630 until the present day.

This talk will be live captioned for deaf and hard of hearing visitors.

Image: (detail) Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn) A Woman in Bed 164[7?] Photographer: Antonia Reeve

Ragged University: ‘Spinoza’s Spectacles’ plus ‘Germans in England 1860-1915’ @ The Castle Hotel
Sep 11 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Ragged University: 'Spinoza's Spectacles' plus 'Germans in England 1860-1915' @  The Castle Hotel

Come along to The Castle Hotel (66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE) from 7pm. Come along for some food, some socialising and an opportunity to learn in a relaxed atmosphere.  All are welcome along to this informal event – put your feet up and enjoy the journey…


Spinoza’s Spectacles: Philosophy, Science and the Dutch Masters by Josef Darlington

The Dutch Masters are an intriguing group in art history. Compared to other great artistic movements their work is rather quiet and insular. Not for them the wild experiments of the modernists or the celestial majesty of the renaissance. Instead, artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer focused on domestic interiors, reserved portraits and the exquisite play of light and shadow known as chiaroscuro.

Yet the Dutch Masters were working at a time of great change. The Dutch Republic carved a unique path between Catholic absolutism and Protestant iconoclasm, stumbling upon the invention of modern liberal capitalism along the way.

Dutch toleration and trade produced huge advancements in technology and learning; the understanding of architecture, accounting, music, mechanics and, importantly, optics were revolutionised. A new philosophy emerged to explain these breakthroughs, most eloquently summarised in the works of the artisan lens grinder Baruch de Spinoza.

A living example of the power of Dutch toleration, Spinoza’s works were banned by the Catholic church, denounced by Protestant preachers and he was cast out from the Jewish community for suggesting that God and Nature were one and the same.

Offered a prestigious position at the University of Amsterdam, Spinoza preferred to keep on making his spectacles and keep his philosophising as a hobby. This was in keeping with his Ethics, in which he argues that every individual is responsible for their own soul which no established church or institution could guarantee for them.

In this lecture I aim to demonstrate how the intimate domestic scenes common to the Dutch Masters reflect a view of the world in line with Spinoza’s materialism. The importance of light and shadow, the denial of myth and magic, and the preponderance of group portraiture all reflect the unique landscape of Dutch thought and being in the seventeenth century Golden Age.



And for the second talk of the evening…

Thinkers or Junkers? Germans in England 1860-1915 by Anne Hill Fernie

2017 has seen the sharp decline in UK German studies at all levels. A 13.2 drop at GCSE level, similar at ‘A’ level and undergraduates reading German has almost halved since 1997. It would appear ironic that in an age where Europe has never been closer geographically, our real sense of closeness to it culturally & emotionally widens.

As a result of this and continued media stereotyping of the ‘bad’ or ‘threatening’ German, many British are unaware of the completely different reputation that ‘our cultural cousins’ had before the onset of WW1 as a nation of ‘poets and thinkers’. Germans of all professions flocked to Britain from the 1860s onwards, becoming one of the largest immigrant groups and contributing immeasurably to British culture and communities of the time.

My talk will identify German nationals’ contribution to Manchester in particular but crucially, will try and pinpoint at what point the image started to curdle, from that of ‘poets and thinkers’ (Dichter und Denker) to that of ‘Judges and executioners’ (Richter und Henker) – a Eurotrope of aggression and domination that the country has never quite managed to shake off. The question posed is how to re-engage Britain with German culture – a culture so bound up with ours if only we knew…….


All Ragged University events are free and informal.  Everyone is welcome to bring along an item of food to put on the table to share and take away what is left at the end.


The Inner Level – How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being; open free event with Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett @ Grassmarket Community Project
Oct 26 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Inner Level - How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone's Well-Being; open free event with Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett @ Grassmarket Community Project

We are delighted to host Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson who will present and discuss their new book The Inner Level. The Inner Level follows on from The Spirit Level (2009) which put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less-equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level (2018) now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave.

Kate and Richard have been consulted at local, national and international levels. And we hope that the insights into the book will provide a basis for the audience to consider how inequality and in particular health inequality can be tackled in Edinburgh.

This event is a parternship between the Mental Health Foundation, NHS Lothian and the NRS Mental Health Network.