Secrecy and the Modern World

A day of events at the University of Edinburgh, exploring the diverse forms of secrecy that shape the modern world.

Saturday 23 May, 1.00-5.00pm, in the Project Room, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh.

1.00-2.00pm: Secret Actors: The Stasi at the Theatre

Dr Laura Bradley

Some of the longest-running performances in East Germany’s theatres took place behind the scenes, played by informants working for the secret police. Dr Laura Bradley uses new material from the Stasi files to explore the roles played by undercover informants, their identities and motivations, and officers’ often frank assessments of their activity. How much did the Stasi really know about East German theatre, and what could informants do if they no longer wanted to play their allotted parts?

2.15-3.30pm: Secrecy in the Modern World

Secrecy and Anonymity in the Digital Age

Dr Kieron O’Hara

As more of our lives are lived online, computing power, big data and broad data appear to have laid our actions, beliefs and relationships permanently open to inspection, via their digital traces. So is anonymity dead, or can technologies like Tor and Bitcoin help us carve out territory free from observation?

Followed by The Uses of Secrecy

Panel discussion and Q & A on the uses of secrecy in finance, law and information technology. With Dr Paul Crosthwaite, Professor Lilian Edwards, and Dr Kieron O’Hara

4.00-5.00pm:  Spy Fiction after the Cold War: Charles Cumming in conversation with Daniel Pembrey.

Leading British espionage novelist Charles Cumming discusses writing spy fiction in the modern world with fellow best-selling author Daniel Pembrey.

Events are free but ticketed, and are available via Eventbrite.

Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

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