Through the POP UP LAB program, we use improvised theater as a medium to engage our audience with some of the latest scientific research.
Improvised theater, or improv, is a form of theatre made up on the spot. It’s interactive, effervescent ...and fun!
Our work consists of catered performances that revolve around guest-scientists' research.
In addition to shows, we offer workshops for boosting science communication, both inside and outside the academic guild.
As demand grows in all Europe, there is escalating concern regarding a shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workers.
The public is disengaged.
The lack of creativity in dissemination of science can make scientific conferences text-heavy and unappealing to the general public. 91% of Europeans have never or hardly ever attended debates or public meetings related to science. Correspondingly, only a handful (11%) of Europeans consider themselves well informed in regards to scientific research.
Communicating science is not an academic priority.
The “Publish-or-perish culture”, within the academic system, does not encourage scientists to present their results to the general public. This current evaluation system of academic performance transforms healthy competition into a high-paced sprint and scientists struggle to keep up with both the race to publish and to communicate about their work.
Scientists’ voice is downgraded in public debates.
Scientists need a voice to help shape public debates and, among others, to discredit manufactured controversies (climate skepticism, antivax, etc.).
Furthermore, there is a need to withstand fake-news, sensationalism and trivialization of scientific research in the media in a time when indisputable facts get lost in a shuffle of competing information and limited attention span. Moreover, we need to equip young people with critical thinking as social media is the main source of information for them. Without that capacity, in this post-truth era, ‘emotions and beliefs that pander to false certainties become more credible and science loses its relevance as a source of truth’.
There is still an unequal access to science.
When addressing unequal access to scientific knowledge , science communication plays a key role. In Europe, ‘only 1 percent of students from the lowest socio-economic level reach the top level of performance in PISA’ . All the more reason to invest in science communication because it tackles gender and socio-economic inequalities by providing everyone with direct channel to scientific information.
We develop performances that revolve around researchers and the very content of their work (published results, lab routine, etc.). Interventions that include STEM role models have been found very effective in increasing audience engagement, and creating accurate perceptions of STEM.
At the same time, the shows tackle current trends and challenges in the world of modern research (publish and perish culture, mediatization of science, funding struggles, p-hacking, etc.).
A better understanding of science leads to better decision-making.
A rigorous comprehension of the world by direct contact with thorough scientific research promotes enlightened citizenship. All decision-making, whether personal, public, or business-related, benefits from scientific knowledge (e.g. in domains such as health, environment, food, energy and consumption). Moreover, sensitizing people to the benefits of research improves
their view on science and technology, which then increases willingness to fund science through public investment.