What are they?
Community cafes are informal discussion nights providing regular opportunities to showcase current research and explore topical issues with a public audience. A short talk (usually without powerpoint) is followed by a short break then a chaired, but open, audience discussion. We have launched several strands over the years, with current annual series including Cafe Scientifique, Cafe MED Aberdeen, Cafe Philosophique and Cafe Controversial. Our community cafe is the largest of its type in the UK.
What presenters are we looking for?
The public cafe series is generally populated with more senior researchers and speakers, though not exclusively. We also run a Junior Cafe programme for schools where we are keen to encourage postgraduate and early career researchers to take part. For the public events, even if the evening is led by a senior figure, the discussion part of the evening gives an opportunity for a wider cohort of the research group to be introduced and take part. At any one time, around two-thirds of our cafe programmes feature University presenters with the rest given over to invited external speakers.
Where do they take place?
We're keen that comfort zone for cafe evenings is geared to the public we want to engage with. Therefore events usually take place in familiar settings (such as Waterstones for the Cafe Scientifique city series) or the public cafe in the Suttie Centre (for Cafe MED). Cafe Philosophique is hosted by the Blue Lamp bar, while other events have taken place in community halls and cafes.
Are they for me, and how would I get involved?
Our cafe evenings are often aligned to landmark anniversaries or national initiatives. Others are driven by current research breakthroughs or subject areas that have gained media profile. Generally we are scheduling programmes around 6-months to a year in advance, so if you are interested and/or have a topic suggestion please contact us. You can view the public-facing community cafe webpages here.