We would like to start by thanking you all for your keen interest and support since we launched Live with Scientists (LwS) on the 20th of April this year. It has been a difficult period for us all, but the uncertainties and restrictions faced over recent months have not stopped the brand successfully launching and building a keen following. Whilst our website is an ever-expanding hub of scientific content, our newly established social media platforms on on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are continually refined to most effectively reach out to our wide-ranging audience.
Behind the scenes, the team work consistently to produce original written content, research and liaise with scientific speakers, collaborate with other public engagement organisations and coordinate the smooth daily running of our online platforms and live talks. To increase accessibility to our material we have used an autism friendly format, added subtitles to the archived videos of our talks and interviews and, since the start of August, have been communicating our scientific content through bitesize 2-3 minute videos and snippets.
In August we will be taking a break from releasing new material (talks, hands on activities, Q+A and blogs). This will allow us to work hard behind the scenes to prepare fresh events and material for next year!
Shortly after our launch in April, we released a poll encouraging ‘you’ to have your say in our scientific content. We listened to your input, and have used this to establish scientific themes for each month starting from September (details below). Each month, we will continue to feature a blog article, a talk, a Q+A session and a hands-on activity for children and/or adults.
|September||Genetics and Evolution|
|October||The Mind: Neuroscience and Psychology|
|November||Earth and Solar Systems|
|February||Technology (Artificial Intelligence)|
|April||LwS 1st Anniversary Event(s)|
|June||Nutrition and Diet|
So, be sure to keep up to date with our latest content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Also, feel free to forward your questions or suggestions through our website or by emailing email@example.com.
What makes us different…
A range of public engagement talks and activities aim to encourage community engagement with current scientific research. But are such initiatives really reaching out to all members of the public? There are countless barriers preventing individuals from attending science communication events, from caring responsibilities to financial and personal circumstances, to simply never being given the opportunity. We believe that the joys of science can and should be accessible to everyone. To reach out to communities currently underrepresented in public engagement efforts, we knew that the methods used to deliver scientific talks and content had to change.
This idea has quickly developed into the innovative brand: ‘LIVE with Scientists’. This is an online platform for hosting and archiving live science talks and interviews, and publishing podcasts and blogs on scientific topics that are most relevant to the interests of the public. We bring eminent scientists and their cutting-edge research to the general public in a manner that is inclusive regardless of a person’s postcode, educational background or personal schedule.
Unlike other initiatives claiming to bridge the gap between professional scientists and the community, we have a set of definitive principles to guide us in our mission or providing equal access to science for all. Together, these unique principles are what makes us ‘LIVE with Scientists’!
LINK up (not compete) with other public engagement groups to provide wider access to free science topics.
We only work with non-profit and free public engagement groups. We are always keen to promote these collaborators and their material, to raise awareness of and provide access to a variety of different topics. Current partnerships include those established with the e-Bug, Autism@Manchester, Earth and Solar Systems and Sci Bar initiatives.
INTERACT with various networks to effectively reach out to different groups of the public.
For instance, we are reaching out to colleges using personal or widening participation links, to working age people (i.e. teachers, industry workers) through various contacts in academia and to retirees via the U3A network.
We also employ effective use of social media platforms dominantly used by different age and occupational groups. This includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as a mailing list for those not active on social media.
VALUE the needs of our audience: inclusion and effective communication with the public.
We want to connect with our audience to form bridges for two-way communication, therefore ensuring our content is relevant and tailored to their needs.
To initiate this approach, we have distributed a poll allowing our audience to select scientific topics of interest, which will guide our future material. We also give the public an opportunity to ask questions before and during talks. Both instances provide opportunity for the audience to submit questions and comments through different channels.
To further enhance the effectiveness of our communication, we are establishing various panels to help us tailor the way we deliver our material. For instance, working alongside Autism@Manchester, we ensure that our content is suitable for autistic individuals who may otherwise be excluded from similar science communication events. Moreover, we are currently in the process of setting up a Youth Panel to capture audiences of younger generations and allow them to explore the forefront of science in a way that is catered to them.
ENABLE all age groups, abilities and preferences to access material by using a variety of communication methods.
We are aware that scientific talks may not be the preferred method of consuming material for all audience members or might not be suitable for certain age groups. As such, we also deliver content via blog articles, interviews and hands-on activities.
Moreover, we are committed to ensuring our talks can be accessed without boundaries. Not only do we use subtitles to allow engagement of people with hearing difficulties, but we soon aim to translate these into different languages.
A little bit about us…
A mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and lecturers at the University of Manchester and beyond have joined forces to make LIVE with Scientists possible. Coming from all over the world, enjoying hobbies that range from travelling and skiing to painting and dance, and with a diversity of cultural backgrounds and personal experiences, we are united by our love of science.
Whilst we differ in our fields of interest – which range from pharmacy, neuroscience and health psychology to cancer, immunology, genetics and lipidomics (a term you will have to contact our volunteer Marta to define!) – we are fuelled by a mutual passion: to provide equal access to science for everyone. As such, we are committed to deliver more effective science communication and public engagement strategies that cultivate an environment where everyone is welcome, empowered and given the same opportunities.
Be sure to check out the ‘Our Team’ page for personal introductions!
If you would like to be part of this innovative project, join us on our mission to make a difference in our community through science! Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.