Also festival was a great engagement opportunity and allowed me to communicate the differences between ancient and modern worlds to a diverse audience in a relaxed setting. It was also my 1 year old daughter's first festival - so a great start to her festival life experience!" Dr Michael Scott
I absolutely thought it was great—it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to people about your work. I especially liked the opportunity to try to connect History with a capital H to the very intimate, domestic histories contained in family recipes." Professor Rebecca Earle
ALSO was my first festival talk and I loved it for many reasons: the "rum shack” by the lake was one, for instance. But more seriously, festivals and other public engagement opportunities give me the chance to share science with people from an enormous range of backgrounds, professions, ages and perspectives. And when I talk about my research on memory distortions, I’m often asked new or unexpected questions that force me to think differently about my data or even spur on new studies when I return to the lab." Dr Kimberly Wade
In 2017 we teamed up with Also Festival for the first time to bring some of the brightest minds at Warwick out of the academy and into a field. Why? We wanted to be part of the fantastic Warwickshire festival that is Also; a celebration of bold ideas, creativity and discovery.
To start the weekend off we had a small gathering of some of our speakers and a handful of lucky invited guests, who joined us for scrumptious pastries and coffee before heading over for an intriguing start to the talks with Dr Michael Scott. Michael enthralled us all with tales of the Ancient Greek Olympic athletes, explanations of why there are several Ancient Greek vases displaying nude men with erect penises tied out of the way, and finally the trolling of party goers by Greek potters (which he now uses as a teaching demonstration/ mocking opportunity for his students!). All in all, a highly enjoyable talk, as one visitor told us "Excellent talk, accessible to non classicists! Informative, thought provoking, very engaging presentation style".
Following his discussion with the crowds he headed next door to the Festival Bookshop for an Intimate "Double Talk" session with classicist Natalie Haynes. This session gave festival goers even more opportunity to get across their burning questions and have an in depth conversation with Michael and Natalie.
We then welcomed Professor Nick Chater to talk about the power of persuasion. We explored questions about the ethics of persuasion, why it works on us (after all don't we know people are trying to sell something?) and pondered together if the world be a better place without advertising? The tent overflowed with curious festival goers, some of which followed him to the Bookshop next door for another Double Talk session.
Dr Helen Wheately rounded up Saturday for us on a very different theme, exploring how death, and in particular assisted suicide, is represented on television. Despite competing with that afternoon's lake swimming session (on an incredibly warm and sunny day!) we still had a keen audience asking more challenging questions. One visitor told us: "Excellent talks on topical and challenging subjects, especially "watching death""
Sunday we were joined by Dr Kimberly Wade and Professor Rebecca Earle. Both gave great talks, with Kimberly focussing on the phenomenom of false memories and Rebecca uncovering the hidden secrets of our ancestral recipe books. Rebecca's talk was a thought provoking discussion based lecture with plenty of questions from the audience. As one festival goer phrased it: "really fascinating talk that made me think about cookery books in new ways".
Kimberly, in addition to her own lecture on false memories, also joined in on an "In conversation" session in the morning. Here she joined Dr Catherine Loveday and Salon London's Helen Bagnall for a panel discussion with questions from the audience that gave "fascinating insights into how memory works".
Over the weekend we spoke to over 350 people about our research and had a hugely positive response. We'd like to say a huge thank you to all those who came along, and our academics who gave up their weekends to share their research. We're already exploring how we can develop this partnership further so watch this space for upcoming opportunities!
"The audience had a barrage of thoughtful and topical questions on my theme, Why Anyone is Persuaded of Anything. It was very inspiring how positive and engaged everyone was - and I came away with a lot to think about." Professor Nick Chater