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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

How to bring 60 nerds together on a stage?

Veli Vural UsluAgroScience GmbH AlPlanta-Institute for Plant Research. Germany

One of the biggest challenges of science communication is to bring the laymen, who are not interested in science, and the reseachers, who are not interested in laymen, together. In order to engage researchers in science communication and to engage the public in science, a theater based experiment, which I initiated four years ago, can serve as a successful model platform.

This project, SciComHD,  began with a few random researchers, who saw the SciComHD advertisement posters in the university campus. After a few rounds of simple stage training, the rehearsals turned into an ever growing platform where researchers could express their daily frustrations –sometimes very vividly. With the plenty of stories that researchers brought in from their laboratories, we wrote and performed several theater plays such as ‚Romeo and Juliet in the Lab’, where Romeo and Juliet are two PhD students who fall in love at a conference and their competing bosses do not let them be together. In parallel, the actors also participated in a new format of science communication and talked about their actual research in a theater set up or they just danced their research on the stage.

So far, this project has gathered more than 60 scientists from 30 countries and we performed 12 different theater plays and several dosens of shows. The tickets were sold out in almost every single show and we manage to reach out to several thousands of people. All of these projects run with no external funding and in a non-profit basis to be a sustainable model even for low budget or no budget local initiatives in the future. Altogether this fun experiment demonstrates that such theater based projects can be a successful model to encourage the scientists for reflecting on their extraordinary research and ordinary lab life to non-scientists.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Category: Insight talk
Theme: Transformation

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