Sophia Fraser, President of Wild Doc Soc, celebrates the success that was the first annual Sci-Fest!
Without the ability to communicate research, science falls short, so we created a festival filled with education, fun and experience, all revolving around the importance of science communication. We used Sci-Fest to showcase cutting-edge research, screen an award-winning film and host an evening of inspiring speakers all in one day. The range of events offered something constructive for everyone – students of Falmouth and Exeter Universities, Wild Doc Soc members and non-members alike, and even the wider public.
“Sci-Fest differed from anything Wild Doc Soc has done before and provided both an entertaining and intellectually stimulating day for students of the University of Exeter and Falmouth University alike.”
Olivia Cooper (3rd Year BSc Zoology)
Part one: Sci-Talks
The morning of Sci-Fest commenced with our own series of 20-minute talks from both Falmouth and Exeter University academics alongside outside experts. A wide range of topics were discussed, from marine conservation and the public perception of sharks, to the overall benefits and risks of science communication. This series of talks was filmed and will be available via social media over the summer period, so be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page.
Part two: Cinema Screening
An exceptional way to communicate science includes the use of wildlife documentaries, and so we chose to include a cinema experience as part of the Sci-Fest schedule. We secured an exclusive license to screen the award-winning documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’, which uncovers the truth about the consequences of our addiction to single-use plastics and the ‘disposable’ lifestyle that is threatening not only the environment, but human health.
“I feel it is now a tipping point, our oceans and marine life cannot take any more. We need to stop plastic from reaching the oceans now. I hope that this film will encourage you to stop thinking that plastic is disposable, it is indestructible.”
Jo Ruxton (Producer of A Plastic Ocean)
Part three: Stannary Speakers
The Sci-Fest main event featured a classic Wild Doc Soc Stannary speaker event with a twist and was not one to miss! We hosted Lizzie Daly, a recent University of Exeter graduate and presenter for BBC Earth Unplugged, who was able to give us advice using her first-hand experience going from a graduate to working with the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation. Renowned entomologist and TV presenter George McGavin shared his thoughts on the importance of science communication and we finished the night with the comedy stylings of Simon Watt, making it clear how considering conservation messages with a positive outlook is so important, comedy being such an effective way of doing this!
“It was brilliant to see three extremely popular speakers from vastly diverse backgrounds and hear about their experiences, how they got into the industry and why science communication is so important.”
Emily Ranger (3rd Year MSci Zoology)
Overall, Sci-Fest proved to be a remarkable success and was an effective way of bringing together students, academics and the general public to celebrate the vast importance of science communication. This was a ground-breaking event for FXU Wild Doc Soc! We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the final product and we will see you again for the second annual Sci-Fest in 2017!
“Sci Fest is a fantastic opportunity for enthusiastic young scientists and natural-history filmmakers to come together and share ideas! I can see how Sci-Fest will continue to grow as a creative and inspiring event for young naturalists, I certainly felt inspired by it! I feel really privileged to have been a part of it so thank you Sci-Fest – can’t wait for next year!”
Lizzie Daly (BBC Earth presenter)
Sci-Fest will be returning next year!
Keep up to date with future announcements via our Facebook page – WDS: Sci-Fest
The University of Exeter Annual Fund and the FXU Green Fund as without this funding Sci-Fest would not have been a possibility. The brilliant staff at FXU, and the universities of Exeter and Falmouth for their constant support – Rose Hitchens-Todd, Frances Ellison, Shannon Frier, Kristy Wallace, Brendan Godley, Amber Nichols and Caitlin Kight. Thanks to Surfers Against Sewage for selling bamboo toothbrushes at the event. To our wonderful Sci-Talks speakers – Dr Alex Thornton, Professor Dave Hodgson, Dr Jo Henley, Dr Margaret Upton and Dr Andrea Gaion. Thanks to the creators of ‘A Plastic Ocean’ and producer Jo Ruxton for licensing of this brilliant film. To our amazing evening speakers – Lizzie Daly, George McGavin and Simon Watt. And last but not least, to the fabulous FXU Wild Doc Soc committee members of 2016/2017 for making this event a reality.