Apologies for the lack of blog posts, but we have not been idle! We’re hard at work on a festival entitled ‘Feed Your Mind’ to take place at King’s in March, more details to follow shortly (but the following image should give you a pretty big hint as to the theme!)
We’ll be using this blog as the festival blog for the duration of the festival.
As a partner of Cheltenham Literature Festival, King’s supported two talks this year on the connected themes of Digital Warfare and Digital Protests. At the first event (‘Defence of the Realm’ with John Gearson, Thomas Rid, Gordon Corera, and Pauline Neville-Jones) discussion ranged over the threats to the UK from cyber-terrorism and cyber-war, and how much of a real threat both will be (or are); whereas in the evening (‘Tweets and the Streets’ with Tim Jordan, Paolo Gerbaudo, Tom Chatfield, and Rory Cellan-Jones) the effect (or non-effect) of social media on political protest was discussed, with relevant images shown from Paolo Gerbaudo’s forthcoming book on the subject.
There will be a launch event for Paolo Gerbaudo’s above-mentioned book `Tweets and the Streets` during King’s Arts & Humanities Festival later on in October.
As part of European Researchers’ Night last week, King’s staff attended the Natural History Museum’s ‘Science Uncovered’ evening. Fighting our way through the queues (over 8500 people attended the evening (tip – use the side entrance in Exhibition Road, much faster than the main entrance)), we of course went straight to the Science Bar, where Dr Jeremy Green from King’s Dental Institute was talking about his research, and science more generally to a wide range of attendees (from 9 years old and up).
One of the most revealing comments of the night was from someone who didn’t consider themself interested in science, but ‘loved natural history’. Holding an event like this in a venue like the Natural History Museum meant that it brought in not just an audience already interested in science, but those for whom normally ‘Science’ was something to be scared of, even though they had been ‘speaking science all their life, without knowing it’.
On an unexpectedly sunny Saturday we had over 400 people visit the Chapel, around 900 visiting the Maughan Library, and people were queueing down the lane to get into the ‘Roman’ Bath. Whilst on site, many visitors also looked into the Inigo Rooms at the John Berger exhibition (‘Arts and Property Now‘) being held by the King’s Cultural Institute and the British Library.
Queueing for the ‘Roman’ Bath
On Sunday, we still had a few hundred brave souls visit each location, despite the downpours. The queues for the bath & library weren’t quite as long as the queue for the Gherkin, but perhaps our visitors preferred to spend their time inside a warm building.
King’s College London Chapel
In total over the weekend we had around 500 visitors to the Chapel, 1200 visitors to the library, and a few hundred managed to squeeze their way into the ‘Roman’ Bath.
Many thanks this year go to Sally Brock, The Revd Tim Ditchfield, and Professor Michael Trapp and all other staff & students for much assistance in opening up the buildings for the weekend.
We’re now looking forward to next year, when we may have some new buildings on the campus to open up. See you then!.
Researchers from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science ran a talkaoke session at the Science Museum ‘Lates’ evening in August. A Talkaoke table allows the presenter (sitting in the middle with a microphone) to guide a conversation amongst members of the public, who can just walk up and take-part in the ‘never-ending’ discussion. The main topics for the night were the Olympics & Paralympics, especially focusing on drug use and drug testing amongst competitors, although many other subjects came up for discussion.
Update: The Science Museum have released a video with highlights of the evening:
As the cheers and music from the Olympic closing ceremony were fading, staff from the Environmental Research Group (ERG) and the Public Engagement department at King’s were packing their wellies and tents and heading to the Green Man music festival in Wales to engage festival goers in some of ERG’s latest research.
The Green Man festival has been running for 10 years and prides itself on its family-friendly atmosphere and focus on activites beyond the music stages. This includes the “Einstein’s Garden” – a large area dedicated to science, which is part sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK.
King’s set up a tent alongside stalls from Cardiff, Edinburgh and Bristol Universities and contributed to a wide range of interactive events, talks and workshops. The King’s stall focused on the ongoing Low Emission Zone study ‘EXHALE‘ and engaged festival goers in testing their lung capacity and making breath drawings whilst discussing the research. Andrew Grieve from ERG was joined by Dr Rossa Brugha from Queen Mary University and Bianca Manu from Invisible Dust – partner organisations in the EXHALE project.
Despite the rain, Einstein’s Garden was packed during the day with families and music lovers alike learning about the use of oxygen isotopes in archaeology, wound healing processes, batteries made of microbes, reproductive health, gut bacteria and of course air pollution and lung health.
Engaging the public directly at science and music festivals is part of a new movement by universities with the joint aim of raising the profile of their research and reaching members of the public who may not otherwise be aware of such research. The appearance at this festival is the latest in a rolling programme of outreach events designed to engage and educate the public about air pollution and health.