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All the world’s a stage

Posted by on February 24, 2014

Following the launch of the Society of Biology’s new regional grant scheme, David Urry looks at some slightly more novel ideas for events.

Whether you are looking to inform, engage, educate, entertain, or stimulate debate, running a successful biology event is often the best way to reach your audience, and really good events manage all of the above simultaneously!

The Society of Biology supports the delivery of numerous events throughout the year, from the work of our staff at Charles Darwin House, and the work of our regional branch committees. Now, with the recent launch of our new regional grant scheme, we are also able to support individual members who want to run a one off event or series of events in their local area. Download the guidance notes if you’d like to know more.

In the spirit of innovation and creativity, which of course are important attributes for any biologist, the following are some novel ideas that would make for an event that’s just that little bit different. For more ideas, download our guide to running an event in your area.

Science busking

Perhaps not what you might initially think: this is not the actions of a biologist fallen on hard times, but instead, the art of using simple science tricks to entertain and educate people. These can be performed anywhere, from the corner of a street, in a school classroom, or at a science festival.  If you’re looking for ideas, then the British Science Association’s Campus Science Guide is a good starting point.

Biology career ‘speed dating’

Again, perhaps not what you might think; there’s no romance involved here, only a shared love of biology as a subject and potential career.  This event is appropriate for students, allowing them to meet a number of professionals in the life sciences in a round robin one on one format. The relaxed, informal setting makes the experience less intimidating and allows the students to pose the exact questions they wish to those with relevant experience.

Biology theatre

“Geneticists, microbiologists, ecologists lend me your ears…”

Terrible misquotations aside, theatre can be a powerful and effective means of engaging an audience with a particular topic, especially if the topic has a resonance beyond the scientific world. It is also likely to attract a crossover audience and wider interest, including from the media. Although the time and effort involved is significant in such a project, it can have a high impact. Graphic Science’s Smarter UK pilot project provides a useful case study.

These sorts of events might not be to everyone’s taste, and of course if you already have a tried and tested event format, then it makes sense to repeat it. However, don’t be afraid to explore a creative and innovative approach, as these are often more likely to generate new interest.

If you are interested in trying any of these ideas, other ideas in our guide, or of course have your own idea for a Society of Biology event, then we would love to hear from you, as would your local branch committee who can help you organise the event. You should also consider applying for a grant of up to £500 to run your event through our regional grant scheme.

Contact the Society of Biology’s regional coordinator, David Urry, if you would like to know more.

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