Presentations and more presentations…

An argument with Ian and Nigel

Conference cover slide

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for presentations; firstly, I made a virtual return to Bath at the invite of Professor Momna Hejmadi to present at the Faculty of Science, Science Community of Practice in Education (SCoPE) forum. Then on Friday 16th, a last-minute invitation, facilitated by Professor Sally Brown, was received to present at Birmingham City University’s Teaching and Learning Conference. Both talks focused on #DryLabsRealScience, the impact that the network has had on the biosciences sector and lessons that have been learnt to enhance lab-based teaching post-pandemic. There was a lively discussion after each talk and certainly some ideas for me to take away and consider, especially one question around the mental impact of the pandemic on current students and how the network might support this important aspect of student wellbeing.

One of the most enjoyable presentations I have participated in was an argument with Ian Turner to demonstrate some of the pitfalls of science communication to early career researchers at the UK Environmental Mutagenesis Society (19th July). In what was a really interactive, and at times, funny session, Ian and I presented a worst-case example of various science communication pitfalls and asked the conference delegates to suggest ways that the “expert” could improve. The audience provided some fantastic suggestions that we then role played to showcase a better interaction between scientific experts and the general public. How do you introduce yourself and interact with the audience? How many ways do you need to be able to explain the same idea to different audiences? What is appropriate language? How do you deal with questions with an emotive element or disarm a confrontational audience member? These were all ideas that were discussed and role-played for the audience based on their feedback.

Funnily enough, the hardest part of the session, for me, was coming up with bad responses to Ian’s questions when every part of me was screaming not to say the things I did!! The audience seemed to enjoy it though, which is the most important thing.