Discovery Festival is a yearly night filled with live science, live music, film, installations, experiments, presentations and much more. The latest edition took place on Friday September 23rd in science center NEMO in Amsterdam. This edition attracted 1400 young people, who bought a ticket and immersed themselves in new science, new art and new music from 9pm until 4am.
In the past years we programmed many new things. Take, for instance, the world premiere of live 3D images in a VJ-set, a result of the cooperation, initiated by us, between Delft University researchers and renowned VJ Max Hattler (2009) or direct brain-game interaction by Twente University (2009). Or take being a guinea pig in real scientific research, from economical games (by University of Amsterdam, 2010), via a serious cuddling-and-pain-experiment by Nijmegen University (2010) to testing whether playing darts is really improved by having a beer, by Vrije Universiteit (2011).
Micropresentations by young scientists, but also by tv personalities, writers, artists and the president of our Royal Academy of Sciences. An art programme curated by us, showcasing young promising artists who play with science. The cutting edge of new Dutch music. Cocktails. Sound art. Science visuals. Games. Debate.
Most science communication is aimed at knowledge transfer. We are convinced that science would benefit from something additional: improvement of the attitude towards scientists among the public. Our goal is to improve the public image of the scientist, by initiating encounters between young, enthusiastic scientists and the public. A night-on-the-town proves to be the ideal showcase –next to visitors, we also attract much press, thereby reaching a broad audience with our message: young scientists organise a trendy night out in Amsterdam.
One of our key success factors, we believe, is a seemingly insignificant shift in focus: rather than scientific-content-driven, we are programme-driven. Which means, in programming, that we do not start with certain science and then “fun it up”; we start with the festival concept and then look for suitable science programming. In this way, we aim to be not only innovative in the science communication world, but rather innovative in the nightlife world. Our visitors do not come because we add dancing to a science night; they come because we add science to a dancing night. Paradoxically, we draw more attention to science by focusing less on communicating science.
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Discovery festival
Drawing more attention to science by focusing less on communicating science

Alex Verkade   Very Disco Foundation

 
Discovery Festival is a yearly night filled with live science, live music, film, installations, experiments, presentations and much more. The latest edition took place on Friday September 23rd in science center NEMO in Amsterdam. This edition attracted 1400 young people, who bought a ticket and immersed themselves in new science, new art and new music from 9pm until 4am.
In the past years we programmed many new things. Take, for instance, the world premiere of live 3D images in a VJ-set, a result of the cooperation, initiated by us, between Delft University researchers and renowned VJ Max Hattler (2009) or direct brain-game interaction by Twente University (2009). Or take being a guinea pig in real scientific research, from economical games (by University of Amsterdam, 2010), via a serious cuddling-and-pain-experiment by Nijmegen University (2010) to testing whether playing darts is really improved by having a beer, by Vrije Universiteit (2011).
Micropresentations by young scientists, but also by tv personalities, writers, artists and the president of our Royal Academy of Sciences. An art programme curated by us, showcasing young promising artists who play with science. The cutting edge of new Dutch music. Cocktails. Sound art. Science visuals. Games. Debate.
Most science communication is aimed at knowledge transfer. We are convinced that science would benefit from something additional: improvement of the attitude towards scientists among the public. Our goal is to improve the public image of the scientist, by initiating encounters between young, enthusiastic scientists and the public. A night-on-the-town proves to be the ideal showcase –next to visitors, we also attract much press, thereby reaching a broad audience with our message: young scientists organise a trendy night out in Amsterdam.
One of our key success factors, we believe, is a seemingly insignificant shift in focus: rather than scientific-content-driven, we are programme-driven. Which means, in programming, that we do not start with certain science and then “fun it up”; we start with the festival concept and then look for suitable science programming. In this way, we aim to be not only innovative in the science communication world, but rather innovative in the nightlife world. Our visitors do not come because we add dancing to a science night; they come because we add science to a dancing night. Paradoxically, we draw more attention to science by focusing less on communicating science.

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