Introducing the 2018 Beltane Public Engagement Fellows

We are pleased to announce that we have appointed five Beltane Public Engagement Fellows from the University of Edinburgh starting this month.  You can read a bit about what Philip, Donald, Lauren, James and Anne are planning to do over the next six months below.

Philip Cook

Philip is a Lecturer in Political Theory ( ) and is developing radical and provocative ideas around the ethics of child labour.  At the 2017 Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CODI) ( ) he argued the ban on child-labour is an injustice that disempowers and infantilises children. Philip will be using his fellowship time to develop an open educational resource, be involved in more public events like CODI, and make links with policy makers in parliament and the local government with the objective of helping people to understand how they think about complex ethical problems like child labour.


Donald Davidson

Donald works in the MRC Centre of Inflammation Research (MRCIR) as a Senior Research Group Leader ( ) in the area of understanding our natural defences against infection. He is also the Centre Academic Lead for Public Engagement and Communications. Donald plans to take his Supercytes ( schools engagement work to the next level, support PhD students to develop public and community engagement work and develop a community engagement project.


Lauren Hadley

Lauren is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Psychology ( ) working on an ESRC project seeking to improve academic achievement in children from deprived backgrounds, and a Leverhulme Research project looking at the effect of musical expertise on turn-taking and social interaction. During her fellowship, Lauren wants to get some public engagement training, make links with educational policy makers, and make connections to take a musical theatre piece to local schools.


James Lowe

James is a historian and philosopher of science, who works as a Research Fellow in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies ( looking at the history of genomics research in pigs. Genomics can and has been used to breed pigs with ‘improved’ production traits for the livestock industry, and also to explore the prospect of transplanting their organs into humans. James will be using his fellowship to develop online resources to engage people with the complexities of the methods and potential outcomes of genomics research.  He is also planning to make his debut at CODI 2018 and develop his presentation skills.


Anne Pawsey

Anne works as an Impact Acceleration Associate in the School of Physics and Astronomy ( Her research is in the field of soft matter physics, or the “physics of things that are squishy”.  Anne has been doing public engagement activities for a number of years, but she wants to use her fellowship to explore how to connect with artists about the physics properties of paint and clay.  To this end she will make new contacts and plans to co-develop demonstrations and engagement activities with the artists she meets.  She will also share her expertise with her physics colleagues and support others to think strategically about their PE endeavours.