Science Slam: Researchers VS TV
Science Slam is a well-known activity. Is it appropriate for science outreach purposes? Have you succeeded in attracting new visitors?
Science Slam is the most mass-oriented popular science project among existing ones. Our project stands out for the non-classical approach to a presentation because it attracts even for those people who are not interested in sciences. We pay the great attention to the interaction with unprepared audience.
Such projects are usually financed only by universities, the government, or grant programs and cannot be prolonged without this support. There are also projects based on organizers` enthusiasm. However they cannot exist without any support. We always try to find investors and make profit. However we had never considered it like a business. We pursue other purposes focusing on our mission. This approach results in social entrepreneurship phenomena. Thus we develop this educational activity using business approaches and techniques. About 20-30 per cent of the audience is regular visitors while others are newcomers.
What makes Science Slam sessions popular?
Apart from prepared activities according to a scenario they include some improvisation parts. Voting for a winner visitors make these sessions more dynamic and unpredictable.
Organizing these events we aim to make poplar experts opinion, promote young researcher`s image and convince people that science gives perspective career opportunities. We want to make experts more influential with the society, officials, business and university communities because nowadays TV and other mass-media are the main sources of information.
Is it true that Russian Science Slams are oriented for the academic community unlike European ones that focus on entertainment?
The most important thing is interesting reports presented by speakers. Some organizers make slams more humoristic. So details of programs are different but the purposes are similar.
Do you involve those who are not interested in science?
This problem was discussed at the Science Communication Day in Skolkovo. It turns out that we make science popular with those who has already immersed into research issues and problems. Currently children are considered to be the most appropriate audience because they have to choose their future professions. We plan to initiate Science Slam Kids in order to help them find reasonable decisions.
Please talk about Science Slam ITMO University.
We came to the point that universities are ideal bases for developing Science Slam activities because they fuse together many young researchers. It will be one of the first university-based project.
We are also going to develop slams in several universities that take part in 5-100 academic excellence project establishing new interacademic contacts.
Will universities provide enough information for regular science slam sessions?
Researchers have a plenty of information however it is not considered respectable in Russia to share the results of their research projects with a wide audience. We want to set up this tradition by organizing such projects as Open University and Science Slam.
Is this project popular in other Russian cities?
It is easier to organize this event in populous areas. Now we develop Science Slam in 25 cities. Some 10-12 of them are more popular than other. However all of them have the potential for future growth.