Public Science


571Bringing scientists together with creative professionals

Past initiatives have demonstrated that pairing schemes can be highly effective as a strategy to empower communications. The PEMG team organised a series of SEED-dating events to bring MRC scientists together with creative professionals, a drive to promote long-term cross-disciplinary relationships.

“The really interesting question,” as Amanda Fisher (Director, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) pointed out, “is where these relationships will lead decades from now.” By fostering dialogue across the arts and science communities, we hoped to empower scientists with new ideas, confidence and skills for communication and public engagement.

Our first SEED-dating event was launched alongside the NOBELini exhibition back in February 2010. In keeping with the exhibition theme, we invited scientists and designers to meet each other and seed ideas for science-design projects.

Participants were asked to think about what they might design were anything scientifically possible. For inspiration they watched a documentary about NOBELini, Two Cultures (by Holly Stead). Then we asked them to think of four words to describe themselves, descriptors which prompted brief brainstorming sessions during which scientist and designer ‘seeded’ ideas for hypothetical designs.

Ideas ranged from self-assembling seating for the elderly to white blood-cell models for disaster relief. Participants’ feedback indicated that 93% enjoyed the event, 87% found it personally useful and 47% professionally useful. A participating scientist thought the event was “really refreshing and it enabled me to think about my work in a different way.”

If you would like to find out more, read the full report.