This site is for the the students and staff of Manchester Metropolitan University who have an interest in Science Communication and Public Engagement. The blog has been made to increase communication and become a hub for the activities happening within the John Dalton building and surrounding collaborations.
I held my first workshop in almost a year last Saturday. This was an Urban Naturalist event on Lichen. The last workshop I did was for the Manchester Science Festival, 2012 and was aimed at children. This most recent workshop was for an adult audience. You might not know but I like to think of myself as a unique member of the science communication team because I have an art degree. I don’t often call myself an artist because of the stigma that comes with the title. I don’t draw or paint, make sculptures or videos, the usual questions I am asked. Instead I used my art practice to develop Lichen workshops as citizen science projects. My aim of my Urban Naturalist was to teach people about Lichen and share my passion with them, giving them skills to identify species. But this workshop ended up being more science than art.
I realised that I have strayed from my creative roots more than I would like to and so I am making a change. I will take the criticism that I have and will receive from the science community and I can pretend to be something that I am not or I can use my talents to help the science communication community. So, this is a call out; I want to do more, excite people more, and I want to do that with engaged and enthusiastic science folk! Anyone fancy it?
Tweet me @jo_keogh
I love my extraordinary mix of friends. On one hand, I will be blown away by cells and how they work. On the other, I can find myself in a fluffy discussion about the next great gallery ready idea! In particular I enjoy one friends outlook on everything, this is my wisest friend. She listens to Radio 4…a lot. She’s now become hooked on Nanotechnology. The Guardian are having a discussion about the developments on the 9th of October and you can sign up on The Guardian website.
But I realised yesterday, thanks to Dr Emma Derbyshire, of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) that omega-3 is needed for general health and wellbeing which mainly comes from eating fish. MMU are using nanotechnology to develop one of the first food products that contains a vegetarian form of omega-3 that is taken up readily by the body.
What are your thoughts on Nanotech? The potential is vast, and it is engaging, but what do the public think?
When you turn up to your first bright club, you really have no idea what to expect. Walking through the doors of the venue (the bar Jabez Clegg) there was certainly a fear the next two hours were going to be filled with cringeworthy, unfunny tales of boring science! However, we should have known better! What would ensue would be five very funny, engaging, satirical stories from the history of science.
Bright Club, founded by UCLs Steve Cross (@Steve_x above with blurred hand) throws together the research academic, a stage and an audience, with the hope that this combination will result in a great night for all. Bright Club is all about making people laugh. In the ‘ten commandments’ on its website, rule number 10 states the audience should feel like they have been to a proper comedy night. When Bright Club came to Manchester as part of the ICHSTM conference fringe events, it certainly delivered on this.
Kicking off the show was Mr Bright Club himself, Steve Cross. A great compare, he kept the audience regaled with tales of … Jodrell Bank (you had to be there). One by one our comedians/academics came up on stage…
- Chiara Ambrosio, philosopher and historian of art and science from UCL.
- Mat Paskins, historian of science, UCL.
- Alex Hall, historian of science, Manchester
- Charlotte Wildman, historian, including of science, Manchester
- Jess van Horssen, historian of science, York (which means Toronto).
The night was a great success, with stories on old misogynistic scientists to a (potentially concerning) revelation that Canada was out to kill us. The evening was a successful mix of science, history and most importantly comedy.
The next Bright Club will be a ‘Monsters’ special on 31st October 2013 for the Manchester Science festival.
The first thing to know about social media is it is all about conversation. From time to time, we may forget that listening is just as important as talking. Last Monday Chris Norton from Dinosaur PR gave a whistle stop tour through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogs. In the spirit of his wisdom, I am going to share with you the key points of the day. Social media is no longer new. It has developed into what Norton called Digital media and it is all about listening and talking, but online.
I like to think of it like this (for those who asked how do you know what to do?!) Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine etc, are all parts of the new media that make up the ‘voice’. Complicated isn’t it. They all have different tones, Twitter for example is a mix of formal and informal but no one gives two hoots what you had for dinner, and as we have come to understand this platform we have realised this too. Facebook is always very personal but is the most commonly used media tool; pictures and visuals work well. Vine, is a quick 6 second clip just to make you giggle. Pinterest and instagram are all photo based. But you see the differences right?
We must listen to the voices of others. We can do this tactfully with the use of Google Analytics where we can monitor who is looking at posts, what time they are looking and use this to inform what tweets we expand to blogs and what blogs have been most influential. With analytics for YouTube you can pin-point when people disengaged with your video! You can even set up twitter lists to help you engage with specific influencers and those you influence. We now have the power to reach out to the publics in many different ways. Engagement can be explored through these different and playful forms of communication.
LinkedIn is different to Twitter and Facebook; it is a professional CV database for you to show a sophisticated side. Groups are a common tool in LinkedIn, create a content strategy and use a calendar of events you are aware of to initiate conversations. This doesn’t need to be every day, there is a tendency to ask too many questions so make sure you are keep it inspiring so your audience is engaged.
The golden rule, listen first. Speak later. By asking people what they want to hear you are giving them an option, rather than telling them what to think.
So, what is the future of digital media? Who knows, but Norton believes that mobile apps could be the way forward.
Blog Summary: Remember that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for your business and by blogging about relevant topics you can make yourself more relevant in Google searches so that you come up on the first page. Don’t have a title longer than 50 words. Use RSS feeds, it is a share button for blogs that you can also add to Outlook! Live Writer is an online writing tool that can then be turned straight into a blog post. And remember use your freeware – Google analytics.
Just because some people shout the loudest doesn’t mean they are worth hearing. After a half-day session with Chris Norton from Dinosaur PR, I am feeling very inspired by social media. I wrote a piece for Digital Innovation on social media for academics and I want to add to my last opinion blog on Digital Innovations Opinion section about it.
We might be on social media, but how many of us are actually contributing or are we ‘lurkers’ as Chris said. Do you want to promote yourself but aren’t creating conversation and instead posting out tweets with no question incentive? Previously I had said it is fine to watch and listen, but I never added the importance of conversation. An academic asked how to keep his students engaged after a lecture. This is a great chance to continue the conversation, having relevant and up to date debates, sharing content and extending the lecture. However, remember you need to know what people want to talk about, ask those who you are trying to engage so your content is right for them.
Not everyone will reply to you on twitter, but if someone talks to you, remember it is important to reply so that you actually have a conversation. Comments can be scary, they are not always positive. A friend of mine has a blog, and for the first time had a comment from someone on its content, a negative comment. Looking back this is great, I explained that comments make a blog, if it gets people thinking so much that they actually add their opinion then you are doing something right! I think we can forget that social media, or digital media as it is becoming, is all about conversations. We should be sharing knowledge with others, giving opinions and not always agreeing. How many of us are actually digesting the information and then really thinking about it? Maybe it’s time to come out of the virtual shadows and open yourself up to the conversation potential, I know it’s time I did.
Date: Tuesday 23 April 2013
Time: 6.30 – 8.00pm,
Venue: Lecture Theatre A and B, University Place, University of Manchester
“I’m spearheading the global crusade to defeat aging” – Dr Aubrey de Grey
On Tuesday 23rd April 2013, Dr Aubrey de Grey author of the book, ‘Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime’, will present his views on the ethics of radically postponing age-related ill health.
Dr. de Grey believes that the key biomedical technology required to eliminate ageing-derived debilitation and death entirely is now within reach.
Professor Jason Powell, Professor of Social Justice and Community Practice, Manchester Metropolitan University and Dr Sarah Chan, Deputy Director of ISEI and Research Fellow in Bioethics and Law will then respond in what is expected to be a lively and challenging debate.
Professor James Nazroo, Co-director of Manchester Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Research on Ageing (MICRA) at the University of Manchester will be chairing the event. Professor Nazroo said: ‘Ageing populations raise significant ethical as well as economic and social issues for society in the future. The discussion will highlight some of the key questions confronting all generations in responding to the challenges raised by demographic change’.
Please register for this FREE public lecture via: http://micrapubliclecture-eorg.eventbrite.com/#
Any queries?: please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
DEP Current Projects:
DEP has a number of funded projects that we are delivering and these range from smaller one of commissions to bigger three year grant funded projects.
The projects include:
- North West Development Agency (NWDA) funded Teach Climate Change Project which ran from 2009-2011 and produced the teach climate change website and directory as well as the climate trump game.
- Department for International Development (DfID) funded Science for Global Citizenship SFGC a three year development awareness project finishing in March 2012
- Department for International Development (DfID) funded Personal to Global Finance P2GF a mini three year project finishing in March 2012
Date: Thursday 7th March 2013
Venue: Manchester Grammar School Maths Society talk
(Closed event to pupils)
Dr Stephen Lynch will be presenting an interactive talk entitled “What is Maths?”
View the other schools visited at the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology page