University of Edinburgh

Organized by:
University of Edinburgh

Participating Organizations:

St Cecilia’s Hall Edinburgh University Neurology Society Edinburgh Neuroscience

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • Exhibit
  • Other
  • School Program
  • Other: Interactive talks and theatre-style event

Target Audiences:

  • General Public
  • High School students(9-12)

Approximate Number of People Reached:


Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

‘Mad Hatter Grey Matter: A Brain Awareness Week Festival’ in Edinburgh explored creativity and neuroscience through a variety of activities clustered around two venues – one bringing neuroscience into creativity (St Cecilia’s Hall), the other bringing creativity into neuroscience (Old Medical School). We organised five events, one exhibition and a school visit, reaching 385 people, including 200 high school pupils and 33 primary school pupils. 1) SCO Reconnect: Afternoon of talks & performances profiling the ‘Creative Music Making for People Living with Dementia’ project by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 2) Scottish Poetry Library Headlines: Medicine and Poetry. Evening of observations & readings, looking at how poetry has an impact on the thinking & response of patients & practitioners. 3) FUSION Neuroscience and Art exhibition 4) Tours of the Anatomical Museum including the museum’s phrenology collection & attempts to understand the brain in the 19th century. 5) Inside the mind: medical illustrations of the brain: Exclusive viewing the medical illustrations collection generated by Edinburgh neurosurgeon, Norman Dott (1897 – 1973). 6) Neuro-theatre – ‘Live’ Brain Surgery!: A theatre-style simulated brain surgery event in the old Anatomy Lecture Theatre, preceded by a drop-in session highlighting research relating to brain trauma & emergency medicine. 7) Our getCONNECTED workshop visited two classes at a primary school in Fife. Feedback: 100% of respondees enjoyed the event & 100% would recommend the Mad Hatter, Grey Matter Festival to others “Really fantastic event following the complete patient journey. The patient interview at the end was a very nice touch.” – audience member from Neurotheatre

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Calendar Listings (newspapers, radio, television)
  • Emails
  • Mailings
  • Website
  • Social Media

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

Social media reaches a lot of people, though the conversion rate can be low. A social media campaign over the couple of weeks leading up to your event(s) is a very useful tool to raise awareness and get people to your event.


Other Dana Foundation Materials Distributed:

  • FENS leaflets were provided. In the UK we can't access the Dana printed materials (we used to hand out lots of these and the public loved them)

Which BAW graphic materials did you use in publicizing your events?

  • BAW Logos

Feedback & Keys to Success

How do you feel BAW participation benefited your organization and the local community?

Our Mad Hatter, Grey Matter festivals brought together art and science, university staff, emergency medicine doctors, musicians, poets and students. This was the first time we had done this and it was very successful. We would like to do something similar next year. One unexpected outcome was that the students running the Neuro-Theatre’ event were asked to demonstrate it to the Princess Royal (who is Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh) when she visited shortly afterwards!

Please share any suggestions or lessons learned that may help others plan future events:

The events at St Cecilias Hall were not very well attended – this was partly weather related (snow) but also because the partners at this venue underestimated the amount of advertising and promotion required. We also have an increasing problem with the public booking events but not showing up. For instance 380 people booked the Neurotheatre event (and we had a long waiting list) but only 250 turned up. We always overbook events (capacity was 300) but it is very hard to predict no-show rates.

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Event Photos

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Contact Information

BAW Website:

Contact Name:

Jane Haley

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:

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